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InstructureCon 2016 Post-Conference Feedback

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tl;dr: This is an open discussion where you all can publicly share your qualitative thoughts and feedback about InstructureCon 2016! Please post before reading the comments from others. Then feel free to reply to others!

Once again we were stunned by another kumbayawesome InstructureCon! Fortunately the great sessions, ideas, and connections we made, can live on within our Canvas Community and in the InstructureCon 2016 community space! Remember that you can keep the conversation alive, around each breakout session, by adding comments! This is a great way to connect with the presenters and share thoughts/ideas with other participants.

Please be sure to take that survey that our marketing team sends out, so we can make instcon even better next year. That quantitative feedback is invaluable.

In addition we wanted to have an open discussion where you all can publicly share your qualitative thoughts and feedback about InstructureCon 2016!

Here's some things you might want to talk about: the sessions, the keynotes, the activities, the online schedule, the app, the booths, the venue, opportunities to connect, ideas for the Community Team to improve community interaction and engagement.

Thanks for your help Canvas Community...  We ❤️ you!

Onward and upward!

PS... Don't forget to add all those kumbayawesome photos you took, to the Camp Canvas Photo Gallery...

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In your responses please @mention other community friends or use the "Share" tool to encourage others to offer their feedback as well!

Let's kick off this discussion with some @mentions:​,​,​,​,​,​,​,,​,​,​,​,​, lalevesque​,​, kbeimfohr​,​,​,​,​,​,​,​, awilliams​,​,​, Deactivated user​, 985706039​, bsargent​,​,​,​,​, mouldera​, Deactivated user​,​,​,​,​,​, Deactivated user​,​,​,​,​,​,​,​, dtheriault​, kmiller​,​,​,​,​,​, Deactivated user​,​,​,​, goodrum​,​, Deactivated user​,​, lydia​, yotebrarian​, A00015317​,​,​,​,​,​,​,​,​, chriscas​,​,​,​, bigenhoc@greenhill.orgaharris​,​,​, 16247​,​, msl_adm​,​,​,​,​,​,​,​,​, Deactivated user​, jap98y​,​,​, stefaniesanders​,​,​,

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182 Replies

My first item is something that Instructure could do nothing about and is more for everyone else so if we are at Keystone again next year you can plan and/or pack accordingly.

This would definitely have been nice to know before hand and we've scoured the Keystone resort page and still can't find anything that says it does or does not, but the Condos in the River Run area did NOT have A/C, just heat. A heater that we could not get turned off Smiley Sad

The nice little message on the thermostat said: “Adjusting the thermostat down will shut off the heat, but will not cool the room. For your comfort, the building is built to retain heat very well so if it gets too warm, please feel free to open a window for awhile to release some of the warm air.”

Depending on the rain and the room you had your window options were limited and the breeze was not always directionally helpful. I know of one person that only had a skylight.


I don't care if you want to hold this in Yellowstone, I just don't want to see this conference moved to a big city. I understand we are making some concessions, but if I want a big city conference I'll go to EDUCAUSE, OLC, or Blackboard World (well not this one, heh).

YES! THIS ^!! Even though I couldn't attend this year I've been the previous three years and plan to attend next year, and definitely do NOT want to see InstCon moved to a big city conference center!! I've been to Bb World a couple of times and the feeling is 100% completely different. With the city right there most people want to go out and experience the city and it's venues and don't stick around to really talk and network like they do at InstCon. I attribute this a lot to a captive audience. There isn't much to do beyond InstCon so why not stick around and be a part of it... all of it!

Not having Jordan Dayton, Kona Jones, or Sandesh Tuladhar there.

Thank you!! Coming from someone like you - who I consider to be pretty awesome and a major influence in the Canvas Community and beyond - that means a lot! I have to admit I've been super bummed since way back in Dec when I realized I couldn't attend InstCon this year and the closer it got the more bummed I got - Missing out on InstructureCon. Smiley Sad  Knowing I was missed helps and we will definitely be there next year! Smiley Happy


I would have dropped some money on that service stefaniesanders​! I was hurting for awhile!


cms_hickss​, various people at InstCon told me that the weather we experienced is typical for that time of year. Specifically, it's monsoon season. But to be honest, I didn't know that ahead of time, and if I had, I have a nice little rain hat (not unlike this one) I could have crammed into my suitcase. So I'm filing that under "good to know," along with a reminder to myself to pack a small tube of Vaseline (for the dryness) and gloves (again, Floridian here). Smiley Happy



First and foremost, we couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful backdrop for this conference. The weather was perfect and the scenery was beautiful. Not only was I still working, but I was relaxing and recharging at the same time. I got to meet a lot a great new people, and look forward to the opportunity to continue connecting, as we are finishing up our transition to Canvas.

I might suggest having some sort of area available for a meeting space. We would have liked a space to be able to sit down as a group to discuss what new things we were excited about, and game plan the next day’s schedule.

You might also consider adding a messaging area for postings. I would’ve liked a place to post for meeting up with others from our region, other instructional designers, etc. The WiFi was flaky at times, and missed some of the community posts of get togethers. This area would’ve allowed me to manually post those things.

You might also consider adding tracks to the breakout sessions. That would’ve helped me focus my efforts in a direction that is important to our institution. Some of the sessions I attended were exactly what the description said, while others varied slightly.

Thank you so much for this opportunity! It was informational and fun!




Room for improvement

  1. Location: Although some people loved the location, I admit to not caring if it's in a city or a rural location. That said, I've never understood the mentality of attending a conference, and then wandering off in the middle of it (down the street, kayaking, or up a mountain). I experienced Keystone only as a series of disconnected places (bedroom vs conference centre vs lodge) so it could be moved if necessary.
  2. Wifi: This was woefully inadequate, forcing me to use a data plan which I'd hoped to avoid.
  3. App: I agree with​ that the app needed *all* sessions, and more information. Given the wifi situation, I'd have preferred to have the information available in the app without the need to be connected. Perhaps use a service that downloads new schedule updates, and stores it offline so it's quick to check, but stays up to date?
  4. Duration: An extra day of conference would support the spreading of sessions a little more, and avoid the problem of the Canvas Roadmap being jammed up against client sessions.
  5. Food in the rain: I arrived at the hoedown a bit later than others, and by that time, the food was wet, including a bowl of wet shredded cheese with water pooling in the bottom of the bowl. Mmmm....


  1. Hack night / Course Hack Night: Definitely a winner, great chance to explore and well organised without being structured.
  2. Movie nights were a good idea, though the selected movies were not really crowdpleasers, and the rain on top of that killed them.
  3. Focus on data and evidence through the various sessions.

Now conference stuff.


  • Loved it.​ The ability to drive the session options is always great. Even if you can't split yourself into three people so you can go to several breakout session at once. Smiley Happy
  • ​The only thing I would change is the day. I hate to say it, but maybe Monday? Tuesdays seem to be becoming more and more busy with pre-conferences, meetings with CSMs and community groups.

tuesday's evening keynote

  • What was up with the lights? Up, down, bright, dim. Depending on where you were sitting it washed out the screens. It was more distracting than anything else; and just very weird. Okay, and a little amusing.

tool roadmap sessions

  • The Good: I thought the presentations done by Instructure Staff, we'll call them tool roadmap sessions, were great. Very informative. Deactivated user​ (Gradebook) and Deactivated user​ (Quizzes) did an excellent job showcasing both updates that were coming very soon and the future of the tool.
  • The Not So Good: Why were these sessions not held in the Columbine Ballroom? Admittedly the rooms for these types of sessions was larger than last year but people were still being turned away at the door or sitting on the floor in the aisle when there was a perfectly good space down the hall not being used.

food and eating locales

  • Best Food: I think it was the Cocktails & Hors d'oeuvres hour on Tuesday.
  • Dietary Restrictions Area: Park City had this perfected. Keystone not at all. In Park City this area was set apart and clearly labeled and fairly easy to find. While the Keystone staff was all very nice, only a handful could answer questions and they didn't seem really prepared for this issue. If they needed to bring something over it had to be prepared and then shipped from the conference center.
  • Tables and Chairs, Oh my: Places to sit to eat. There was a total lack of that. As long as you were fingerfooding it and could balance your plate on top of your cup you might have been good. Need a knife or fork, then it became questionable. But the biggest thing, big tables with chairs is how you pull up a spot next to people you don't know, introduce yourselves and start talking to someone new.
  • Covered Dining: Tents? These keeps the sun and rain at bay.


  • Stairs: There were a lot of them. There seemed to be a lack of graded ramps and easy to find elevators.
  • Buses: Those that needed the accessible buses would often have a very long wait. [That said, almost all the bus drivers seemed very nice and would try to get you to where you needed to go; or at least help you get on the right bus.]
  • The Very Bad: I watched/heard one of the people in a wheelchair ask the person behind him to hold the back of his chair to keep him from rolling to fast down the path (ramp next to the stairs and tunnel) to Decatur Field because it was not graded for a wheelchair.

While it wasn't a wheelchair, pushing a stroller around was definitely a "fun" experience.  Especially at the field, and trying to come up the "hill" to the conference area.  We were able to hitch a ride on a golf cart a couple times, and the Instructure reps obviously were trying to help and were very nice with trying to find workarounds, but the basic layout and planning really need more thought out next time.

Community Member

This was our first Canvas Conference. The scenery and weather were beautiful, the people were so nice and the food was good.

  • Any session that is featuring an Instructure speaker should be in a LARGE room. I can chat with folks from other schools any time. If I have to choose between Instructure and a school speaking, this conference is the time to hear from Instructure. Maybe even make some of those topics (gradebook and quizzes) a part of a keynote or general sessions.
  • Meals-
    • the food was good. However, there need to be multiple lines with all types of food. I might choose to eat something gluten or dairy free and want it all available in the line I go through. I didn't even see sugar free options. How about Diet Sierra Mist or Sprite Zero? I was surprised at the lack of options.
    • Also, I shared in the conference registration that I'm allergic to peanuts. Imagine my surprise when I got a snickers bar in my lunch bag. Also, the only snack time I saw was Wednesday afternoon-and all the goodies (except Milky Way bars) were full of peanuts. How about crackers and cheese? Or some fresh veggies? And all the bananas were black.
    • Meals need to be inside, at a table with chairs, where weather elements aren't an issue. Half of the reason I attend these conferences is to sit at meal time with folks from other schools to discuss what's going on in their world.
    • Also, there was a long stretch of time between lunch and dinner. Since there really weren't other places to go eat, and I like to eat with other conference participants to share information, closer meal times would be great.
    • Snacks in the morning and afternoon would be great. Save money on swag, spend on food.
  • The app was nice -only for sessions. I would like to see all meals and other events included.
  • How about offering sessions multiple times as a standard? Some were so popular I couldn't get in. Some were repeated after I left. I was told that all sessions were being recorded and would be available online.
  • Follow up- after the conference, I would like to get an email with a link to all the recorded sessions and slides, as well as a link to evaluate the conference.
  • It would be nice to have a place closer to an airport. By the time I arrived Tuesday, I was already exhausted. Then when I left on Thursday, I had to miss all the afternoon events since I had to catch the shuttle to the airport.
  • SWAG-while some really like all the goodies, I'd rather see the money spent in other ways (better venue, more food options).  Also, I'd like to get the bag/backpack when I register. I don't understand having to hike to the swag place each day to pick up one thing.
  • Mobility- I didn't plan to hike the rockies. It's a professional conference, and I'm dressed as such. I walked through gravel, stood in mulch, up and down hills and stairs. It was not conducive to a professional conference and those with respiratory or mobility issues.
  • Lodge:
    • My colleague and I did the room share option. We registered as soon as the information was released. We chose a place close to the conference center since we knew there would be evening activities. While we stuck together, we didn't think it wise for 2 women to be out at night alone. The hotel emailed us the Saturday before and moved us out to a remote location. We had to go up a flight of stairs with luggage. Then inside, another flight up to the second bedroom.  The second bedroom had no door and the windows overlooked the "living room" and kitchen. That's not a private bedroom.
    • Check out/luggage-the last day we got an alert that we were out of luck on the luggage. If we need to check out before we attend session all day, there needs to be a plan to store the luggage.
    • The resort didn't seem to know how to handle a large conference group. We got mixed messages when asking questions, changed bus schedules to get to our room, changed bus pick ups, etc. Communication about evening events was not consistent from Canvas and the lodge personnel. Will the shuttle go to and from the event? Where do we go for ________?  Also, since there was no drugstore near by, it would have been nice to know there was a shop near the swag place that offered those types of items.
    • Our room was not impressive for the money we spent. Peeling wallpaper, dated everything, and a patio door that wouldn't close. We had to call maintenance to work on the door. They were very nice, but no one checked that prior to our arrival?
  • Theme-while I appreciate an attempt to engage the participants, the theme was silly and carried way too far. As one mentioned, seemed more like a frat party than a professional conference.
  • Keynote: I got that the CEO hates Blackboard. But I'd really like to hear what Canvas plans to do and how they plan to do it rather than just bashing someone else.
  • Wifi-woefully inadequate. Enough said.
Community Member

This was our first InstCon and we loved it! We brought 3 members of the implementation team and 5 instructional designers.

Blew Us Out of the Water

- We. Learned. So. Much. The variety of content was awesome. We loved the opportunity to learn from peers from every department and also hear what's on the map for Instructure.

- The Canvas Marketing team's attention to detail in terms of branding, signage, and swag. Truly out of this world. Also the camp theme and "open" theme were consistent, fun, and relevant.

- The ease of the InstructureCon App for quickly determining where to go and when

- Lounges were a great way to engage in more self-paced/customized learning

- The gorgeous setting and lovely accommodations with opportunities to be active (ex: paddleboarding, yoga)

Excited to See Improve

- Bus schedule that we can count on. We waited for the Orange Bus like we were waiting for the G Train​.

- An earlier release date for the app (would help for making internal plans)

- Keynotes were hit or miss. Consider kicking off the day with Instructure keynotes (which were stronger) and having guest keynotes as mid-day.

- Less emails from vendors in the days leading up to the conference. We were getting 1-2 an hour for a while there. Not fun.

- Clear schedule on where to find Instructure employees when. Instead of fielding emails from folks, could this be built into the app and/or could we have a CSM/Instructure lounge?

- And to echo others:

  • Instructure update-type sessions should be in larger rooms
  • There were not enough efforts re: accessibility
  • Stronger conference wifi
  • Contingency plans for rain Smiley Happy