Awesome to the Power of Community


It was energizing to stand before the always-awesome #InstCon crowd this morning and talk about the multiplier effect of moments, and the communities that surround us and make them possible, especially this Canvas Community. But, I don’t want you to have to wait for the published recording to access your “Awesome to the power of C" (Canvas/Community, both, or you choose), so here’s a bit of a teaser (can’t give it all away) and call to action!

Our lifelong learning path is not something we do alone. It’s a meandering journey full of people and moments—moments that shape who we are. They bend us, break us, build us up, and prepare us for the next moments to come. I’m confident you’re already thinking of a few of those right now. Hold on to them; we’ll come back to that!

We spent a bit of time today honoring educators in the field who exemplify the art of making moments in their students' lives, and we also spent a few minutes honoring some of your very own Canvas Community members, including:

James, Nicholas, Stephanie, Beth, and all the others we honored today are just like you. They’re a part of your community. The only difference is we’ve had the opportunity to hear or read pieces of their moments! So, now we want to hear yours.

Take at least one literal minute and reflect on something for me, please.

Think about a moment in your life as a student that has had an impact on you. What events or actions happened before? What events or actions happened after? How has that moment shaped you?

(I told you we’d come back to these!)

Now, take one more minute and reflect on another moment.

Think of a moment in your life as a teacher or designer of learning that has had an impact on you. What events or actions happened before? What events or actions happened after? How has that moment shaped you?

When you’re ready, help us continue to build upon the momentum we’ve started, and tweet your stories. Don't forget to include #canvascommunity and #canvasconvo. There are some beautiful moments shared with that hashtag. I’ve shared a few of my own, @melissajoell.

:smileyinfo: Spoiler alert: Our team was creating a video for this very keynote with one of the featured educators in our stories—and the team had no idea that this educator was one of my past Masters students. Talk about moments and multipliers: amirite?

316866_Blog Postcard - Blog Icon 1.png

InstructureCon 2019

Read More Reflection Blogs

7 Replies

Thanks for such a fantastic keynote today, Melissa, the community is a wonderful place.  

Myself and Sam Malcolm were so lucky to have met Shea Silverman (UCF CDL) yesterday afternoon. We bonded for our love of developing tools and Canvas almost immediately and met again today to continue to share insights, sharing our stories over lunch. I am looking forward to the collaborative relationship we are hoping to continue with Shea and the team at UCF from across the globe at RMIT. How wonderful to make such an integral connection - and if nothing else (don't worry, there is a lot else) - this connection alone is worth the 14.5-hour flight! 

We also had the absolute please of meeting in person our hero James Jones who helped us out of a tight spot recently over in the Canvas Developers space. James took the time to write us a detailed answer to our question, sharing insights we hadn't thought of and nudged us in the right direction to solving an urgent problem we were facing across our entire institution - we are incredibly grateful. Another fantastic example of the Canvas Community coming together across the globe to share insights, support, validate and enable each other.

Wow! This gave me chills. I am so thrilled to not only recognize some pretty incredible people but also make connections across the globe. Thank you so much for sharing!

The amazing friendships we make with these random encounters at InstructureCon make the whole trip worth it.  It was such a pleasure to bond with Jayde and Sam over the course of two days, and watch in awe as they demo'd the tools they have created.

Not only are the tools functional, but beautifully delivered and feels so natural to use.  As someone whose design skill is limited to Helvetica Black on a white background, the EMBLE tool that RMIT has created blows me away.

I'm so happy to have met  @jayde_colquhoun  and  @samuel_malcolm , and consider them friends :smileygrin:.


Coach Emeritus

I am so sorry I missed your keynote today,  @mloble  , this is the first InstCon I was unable to attend since 2012, and that sadness is made even more profound discovering that you talked about community, lifelong learning and defining moments; and much of it, apparently, through the lens of this Community!

"Defining moments"! For me selecting ones to talk about is challenging, because life is a collection of defining moments!

I'll start with an InstCon defining moment in 2012.  My wife and our granddaughter whom we adopted traveled  together for each InstCon 2012 through 2016. In 2012 the theme of the Conference was "Build your own Awesome". Our granddaughter, only 8 at the time, attended all the keynote addresses with me, as she continued to do each year.  After Josh Coates' opening keynote, that year, my granddaughter went off to have fun with my wife. When I ran into her at lunch, she was so incredibly excited to see see me and show me what she had done. Her Grandma had taken her to the Park City Walmart, where she bought lots of that fancy patterned duct tape, and using it had built herself an over the shoulder bag, and a matching wallet. When she showed it to me she said, "Look Grandpa, I built my own awesome!" The defining thought there and then was how inspiring it is to have that many people gathered in one place to celebrate teaching and learning! And in this moment, how almost exponentially more powerful the InstCon learning community must be this year with the record attendance.

As a teacher, every moment is a defining moment, but I look back to a particular one many years ago (don't you dare ask how many!) when I was teaching a hybrid Pharmacology course. Opening day, classroom almost full, just about ready to introduce myself to my newest crop of learners when in through the door arrives my final student for that course. She comes in being helped by her husband and feeling her way with her white cane. I am thinking, "OMG, how do I teach a visually impaired student? Where can I get help,? how am I going to do this? What do I do?"; all going round and round in my mind like a Ferris wheel litany or the refrain of a song on a vinyl album with a scratch! The end story was that this fine lady not only succeeded in my course, but she exceeded all expectation and the scores of most of her classmates, but not without  a lot of hard work by me, by her, her family, and her classmates. And the most amazing thing was that in helping her, all my students formed a strong learning community and the successes across the course were amazing! At the end, I had students telling me that they never thought they could learn so much! The community that formed organically from her challenges persisted long after the term ended, and to some degree may still persist. The defining moment early on in that term  for me  was "Never again!" Never again would I be caught unprepared for any student, any time, anywhere. This launched my life long study of and advocacy for Universal Design. The other defining moment came at the end when I reflected on all I had learned in that course, that term, and that was "The Awesome Power of Learning Communities!"

So thank you for the keynote address that I eagerly await the recording of,  @mloble  ; and thank you Instructure for developing and supporting this Canvas Community that I am so humbly proud to be a part of!


Thank you so much for sharing, Kelley! I am so sorry I didn't have a chance to meet you this year, but I do hope our paths cross in person at sometime soon. In the meantime, it is wonderful to get to know you through the community! I love your example and, dare I say, moment, with your student in your course. I suspect she remembers the experience as vividly as you do.

Coach Emeritus

Great examples  @jayde_colquhoun and  @kmeeusen . Gave me tingles. 

Loved your challenge. Too long for a tweet, so here they are.  

 Think about a moment in your life as a student that has had an impact on you. What events or actions happened before? What events or actions happened after? How has that moment shaped you?

Mine is one of those life long learner student stories - trying to do my Masters online while I was deputy principal, running a small farm, house full of teenagers. Overwhelmed and terrified of failing. As soon as the online course discussions started then the penny started to drop, I wasn't alone in this confusion and my peers were only too happy to share thoughts, and offer support. Lecturers provoked but didn't hover. The learning started to flow. Although the LMS wasn't Canvas what I learned was so valuable and has been transferred to my work with Canvas now as a teacher. 

Think of a moment in your life as a teacher or designer of learning that has had an impact on you. What events or actions happened before? What events or actions happened after? How has that moment shaped you?

Nothing beats hearing from kids or parents I've taught that I made a difference, that they still sing the songs I taught. That they still know their times tables! etc. But recently a teacher we have worked with shared a video of her class using Canvas. Their school is very remote but this isn't stopping her class of grade 1,2,3 from creating work, getting involved with discussions and reflecting. No excuses, all logging in with no problems, working happily and engaged. Made my heart sing. 

I am so glad you took the challenge and shared your moments, Bobby! One thing that struck me with your life-long student moment was that it came in a time of pretty significant chaos, or at least when you had a very large volume of responsibilities. Even when we have so much going on, moments sneak up on us and make our lives so much more rewarding.