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InstCarn Recap: Day 2 - Reflections


So many good sessions & activities that it is hard to know what to do. Just make a choice and plan to watch the rest later.

Overall Impressions

So after a full day of InstructureCarn down, I can still say this is the greatest educational conference around. There is such a wonderful diversity of educators, technical wizards and Canvas employees that no matter what you are wanting to know you can find it. The down side to all of the awesome success is that it can seem overwhelming and hard to know how to find what you are looking for. Thankfully the people of the Canvas community are the most friendly and helpful in the world, so all you have to do is ask.

Evening Activities

The Street Fair at River Run was another amazingly well put together event full of music, performers and food. While I still think the lines are out of control and would make any K-12 teach go bananas, I'm am not sure if there is a better way to handle it. Trudging through the chaos with two children did make it a challenge but we were eventually able to find food and a place to sit to eat.

While I'm on the topic of food and kids, I really wish that the food options were more kid friendly, especially for the price of the kid's pass to be able to get food. I would have even been happy to have a special kid's boxed meal that had PB&J, chips & a drink that would have kept me from trying to convince my kids that what I was asking them to eat was delicious and would not kill them. 

But I digress.

We were able get a family caricature early on before the lines were busy. Not so sure it's the best representation, or why my youngest has a mullet, but it was a lot of fun and a great memory.


Hack Night

Hack night is one of my favorite nights. I generally try to come in with at least one problem that I am looking to find help solving. While I totally did that this year, I completely blew the prep work. I forgot all of my files on a thumb drive that I left in my office. I had a co-worker email them to me, but didn't download them to my laptop prior to arriving at Hack Night. I spend probably a good 30 minutes fighting the internet in the room before finally getting it downloaded. then I had a hard time finding the person I was trying to find to help me. When carroll-ccsd finally found me, things got going well.  My oldest son (who really wanted to come) started nodding off and I had stayed longer than I told my wife I would keep him out, so we exchanged info to keep working through the issue offsite.

I give Hack Night an A+, my execution a C-

Random Thoughts

I really got in to Carnival Quest this year. That is the Badgr scavenger hunt to find the hidden QR codes that were placed around the conference. This got to very fun and helped me meet several other "hunters". Only only wish I did a better job of remembering their names (Sarah, Anthony, & one other that I am totally blanking on at the moment) so I could tag them here.

*All of the content here is thoughts, opinions, musings and ramblings. It's like you just walked into my head.  Please excuse the mess. 

1 Reply
Community Champion


I really wish we could have added that functionality on site, I love tinkering in JavaScript. Truthfully, I felt a bit like a headless chicken walking into Hack Night. I had just been given some family news during the Street Fair, Smiley Sad promptly left, gathered myself, changed and headed to the conference center. 

Like you, I had also prepared. I brought code to share for everything; including some visualizations and scenarios, in an attempt for a group assault on the requests table and augmenting Canvas Data with Live Events. But I had also been to the Engineering Leadership Panel earlier in the day, where I was impressed to find laurakgibbs‌ more prepared than myself, she had submitted a question to the panel ahead of time, voted for and discussed. At the end of the panel I asked a question, and was given a very positive and direct response, "Come to hack night."

I believe  @James  was sitting at the table with a Canvas Engineer I recognized, I plopped my stuff down and gave a nod across the room to  @stuart_ryan , who I had a chance to chat with over a couple meals in Las Vegas. He briefly sat down before being requested for Coaching, eagerly getting up for his task while simultaneously getting my bad news and buying me a drink, like an Aussie gentleman would.

I bounced over to the Canvas Data table where  @lfeng1  was commanding a great discussion around use cases and tools, when  @millerjm  sat down. I wanted to talk to Joni about her presentation and more, I missed her presentation to attend the Engineer's Panel. As I got pulled in, I decided I needed to grab my laptop, hopped back to the other table and politely requested the engineer's time when he was finished helping someone. I went back over where we all got into a great conversation about Canvas Data. Additionally, a member of the Canvas Data team was at the table and we all learned quite a bit about CD and the feats involved in providing the data to us. Thank You Canvas! In the midst of Joni revealing that dumping the Syllabus and Wiki HTML into separate tables (for speed) and showing her my easy starter-kit for Live Events, I noticed you sitting at the other table, waited for a break in the conversation, and stepped over to see what you and I could do. You explained what you needed perfectly, we fussed around a bit, but alas I had a hard time focusing and problem solving felt overwhelming.

I hope you forgive my haste, but when I saw the engineers were available I didn't want to miss the opportunity to state my case. I have been trying to resolve this issue a half dozen ways for almost two years. The visualizations, scenarios and use cases that I brought made it extremely easy to explain my request – the addition of 1 field to the Live Events message for the Login Event could solve great problems for Canvas Data and provide new opportunities around Requests and more. By the end, I had 4 engineers convinced and was shown where they would add said field to the code! As a result of that fantastic collaboration and in the spirit of this community, I plan on releasing a series of repositories and posts around what this can be used for.

I believe by the time we finished up you were gone, most people were gone. I sat down next to James, Stuart finished up and we ended up getting swept out of the room (almost literally, brooms in hand) by staff closing up shop.

Again, apologies for missing an opportunity with you. I was definitely seeking the greatest distraction possible at each turn of the night.

Ready for that email.