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...
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:
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jnuckles, Sorry you missed them this year! Three of the keynotes were streamed and I know they advertised this on Twitter and (I'm pretty sure) in the Community. In addition, if you went to the Keynote event page there was a "Live Stream" icon you could click on.
the comment about proprietary tools is an interesting one, especially given that most of the keynotes really reinforced the idea of "openness" throughout the conference. I of course understand that not every tool will be open source and free, but it would be good to at least gain info on how you could implement these tools at your institution.
Glows: Staff friendliness; MLentini's session on cultural responsive design on Canvas; the CU session on universal design on Canvas; housing was fantastic; Keystone is beautiful; schedule allowed for time in the day to set up meetings with vendors and/or Canvas staff members
Grows: the personalized schedule on the app only allowed you to add sessions, not keynotes or conference-wide aspects (suggestion - allow the personalized schedule to have all-conference options, too, that can be added); more tents/seats for outdoor meals/events; ensure accessibility to all locations (e.g., fields/mulched areas of food weren't accessible to all; the distance between some locations with tight transitions weren't possible for all)
This was an interesting InstructureCon.
The Keystone location had some pros and cons.
The pros - the location was beautiful and much bigger than The Canyons and the conference center had larger spaces available for keynotes and session rooms. The bus schedule and system was awesome. I liked that different events were held at different locations.
The cons to Keystone - The conference center didn't have enough rooms or wasn't utilized efficiently. There wasn't enough space to feel comfortable and again some of the sessions were overflowing. Where were the snacks? I never figured out when to have hot tea either. When I got to the conference center for keynotes there wasn't hot tea or coffee. I never managed to have a snack (I miss The Canyons afternoon candy stations and snacks everywhere). But the water stations were always available which was good. While Keystone offered more space I missed the true camp spirit because everything was so far apart. I went to hack night and game night but I don't know if I would have made it to movies (also the rain) where at The Canyons it would have been possible to pop into all the events. WiFi at the conference center wasn't great. Check-in also was interesting because hotel check-in was with registration check-in. That seemed weird. Also everyone in our shuttle came back with different bits of information.
There wasn't enough tables, seats or serving stations (outside of the tent although I think the rain again was an issue and factor) at Decatur Field.
River Run Village evening reception was awesome! I loved the different foods and the lines moved fast for each table. I also loved being able to get some gifts for people at home (and support the shops in Keystone). Keystone Barn was OK (finally eating tents and seats) but the rain was an issue for this event (outside of anyone's control though). No s'mores?!?
The sessions that I attended were ok. I had a take away from each session but I wasn't wowed this time. Maybe that was my mood though.
The Partner Hall was much, much better this year! More partners and a much larger space this year!
The swag was great (including the rain ponchos)! I miss the program and I know the possible reasons why they were stopped but I miss them. The mini-program (Field Guides) around my neck was ok and didn't really use it too much. I feel horrible that we littered Colorado "beauty-ness" with our Field Guide clips. I was used the app and the community a lot. I noticed that the app was missing a few sessions that I had marked on the community schedule. I LOVED that popular sessions were repeated in the afternoon and sometimes in a larger location and the app notified us! One con on the app was you had to go back, back, back, back to find the map for a session (again I had the thing around my neck but looking on my phone in one hand and the map around my neck well...). Also app quizzes cannot be "the first three who respond" since the app and WiFi issues didn't notify everyone at the same time. M
Overall it was another great InstructureCon! I look forward to each one and it will continue to be a conference that I will plan for each year. I love the networking opportunities and people at each InstructureCon. It is an amazing opportunity every year.
I like the idea of tracking on themes/interests rather than institution/role. I know many of the topics overlap from K-12 to Higher Ed, and we need to collaborate! This year, although I teach high school, I bounced between the tracks several times because of my interest in topics.
Overall, it was a great experience. I especially liked how close all of the sessions were to each other at this location (no schlepping from Silverado to Kokopelli!).
The bus system worked for the most part, but there was a lot of confusion and differing information between Instructure employees and Keystone employees. During evening events, there should be direct shuttles from the conference area to the event area. It slowed things down to just do the normal routes when everyone was going to the same place from the same place.
The one downside has been interacting with Keystone as a company. They made a big mistake in billing (which is potentially costing me money) and it's been impossible to get it fixed. Unlike a normal hotel, they have a "billing department" which handles all money issues centrally. As far as I can tell they have exactly one employee there. I waited 48-hours for a response and missed the call when they finally called back. I still have not been able to resolve this and it's been almost a week out from the close of the conference.
I'm not sure what Instructure can do about this in the future, except encouraging them to have more staff immediately available after the conference for issues.
I've been fighting with the billing department for the same reason. However, congrats on actually getting through. I'm still waiting to talk to someone.
Perhaps because I lived in Denver 30 years ago, I had a little different take on resort lodgings and how resorts worked.
I rented a car for the week for $125 bucks at the airport (reserved some months prior), reserved a motel room in Dillon overlooking the shores of the lake for $99 per night tax exempt (and for some reason it dropped to $89), had air conditioning (but we used the heat), and a free breakfast. I drove the 5 miles to the conference center, parked at the lot there, shuttled or walked to Keystone during all the events I needed to see, then drove back 5 miles to Dillon when I was done with the evening events. There was always a parking spot in both places, and my stuff had a place in the trunk.
If we are lucky enough to go back next year, the area handles many thousands of more people in the ski season on any given day, so there are many, many alternatives than an expensive rental lodge and shared rooms, odd billings, and no air. I supposed it is the difference for those of who love staying at any conference hotel, and those who scope out the area for something close, and unique. Of course arranging a conference is complicated, and business for the resorts would include an expected fill rate for the resort- so Instructure certainly can't provide all that information to us- but there are alternatives available online. Both my department budget, and my own pocketbook spent far less than in any urban or metro area- and there was far more to do.
That won't solve all the other issues like accessibility, food tables, etc., and crowded conference rooms, but I did want to note that there were other paradigms for making arrangements that would avoid some of the discomfort some of you experienced with your lodgings and transportation.