Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

Icebergs—in Long Beach


At InstructureCon 2019 I had a chance to chat all-too-briefly with  @mjennings , and used that rare face time opportunity to thank him for his efforts in putting together the PDF versions of the InstructureCon Agenda that have proven so useful to so many. 

He proceeded to tell me why he puts these together.

[Matt, please feel free to step in and correct anything I might be misrepresenting; this was a very quick conversation in a very noisy lounge.]

Matt is part of a seven-member team, but he’s the only member of the team his school sent to InstructureCon this year. Every member of his team is passionate about learning, but Matt is the only member of his team who participates regularly in the Canvas Community. While he could easily have selected the InstructureCon sessions that interested him the most, he chose to let his team guide his decision: what sessions would the team most benefit from hearing about? He shaped his InstructureCon schedule from the selections his team made.

Matt determined that a PDF version of the agenda was the most readily consumable format for his team’s prioritization exercise. He chose to share this asset, which he updated regularly during the run-up to the event, with the world at large in the Canvas Community.

This simple backstory immediately struck me as significant—but as is my way, I had to sit back and absorb it for a bit. It came rushing back to my head a day or two later, when I looked out over the audience of one of the keynotes and suddenly saw a collection of icebergs—in Long Beach!—with their massive unseen structures right below the surface.

Every InstructureCon attendee potentially represents an unknown number of equally dedicated and passionate learning advocates who cannot be present. And for every one of our Canvas Community members, there is a team—three people? seven? ten?—who might not be actively engaging in day-to-day or even week-to-week Q&A here, but they’re represented by Matt and thousands of others like him who amplify the impact of everything we share.

The power of InstructureCon, and the power of Community, is indeed exponential—as Melissa says, it’s Awesome to the Power of C.

So thank you, Matt, not only for the PDFs and everything else you do here in the Canvas Community, but also for sharing with me a greater insight that enriches my personal and professional mission.

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InstructureCon 2019

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Blog header photo by Alexander Hafemann on Unsplash

11 Replies

Thanks stefaniesanders! The only correction is that it we are a four-person team (myself included) with an additional three people in either higher administrative or closely related positions that I value input from. Thanks again for writing this up. I know I said I would do that, but things have been a bit hectic since I got back.

I know I said I would do that

No way was I holding you to that. Smiley Happy

Coach Emeritus

As a past attendee (here I am again mentioning that I could not make it this year), I too have loved  @mjennings   PDF versions, and for much the same reasons as he uses them - to get input from my folks about what they would like me to bring back to them. Those picks were likely the only sessions I would attend beyond those of my Panda friends. Of course, one of the other reasons I like his PDFs is because they are both accessible, and can be written on! Marketing has this weird fancy for light-colored text on very dark backgrounds, which means the are both hard to read, and impossible to write on.

And stefaniesanders comment "The power of InstructureCon, and the power of Community, is indeed exponential!" is truth personified, and my biggest draw to InstCons!  It is never about the technology, I can sit on a bus with my iPad and learn about edtech, it is always about people!


As a past attendee (here I am again mentioning that I could not make it this year)

I knew I was missing something from my #instcon experience. I hope you are doing well!

Community Champion

As further testament to the great (and possibly the InstructureCon attendee who has the most publicly shared photos from Disneyland)  @mjennings  ...

Not only did he create the PDF document, but he knew that Kona and I were supposed to be driving to California and wouldn't have access to the latest version so he printed a version of it out and brought it with him to give to me at the conference. Where is the "above and beyond badge" ?

I know that Matt doesn't do this for the glory or praise, he does it to help and because he can. I get that sentiment completely. Although Canvas honored me in front of everyone (and it felt amazing to be appreciated), there many unsung heroes, like Matt, who don't get that level of recognition.

Thank you stefaniesanders for sharing Matt's story and thank you, Matt, for all that you do.


Coach Emeritus

Icebergs - that's a good one stefaniesanders. I've recently moved from one 'iceberg' to another. But the Canvas connection has meant that the two 'icebergs' have fused in a way. Although Canvas isn't at the centre of my world as much any more, it still plays a big part in my current role and my new team are learning all about it - fast! And they are having the power of the Community modeled. Love it. People like  @mjennings and all the goodness they bring are such great examples of that. Thanks Matt!

Instructure Alumni
Instructure Alumni

I'm just going to jump on this wagon of joy by saying  @mjennings ‌,

No joke, you're a top shelf gent! Thanks for all you do for our Community. You're so very appreciated!


I absolutely love this write up and analogy of Icebergs, stefaniesanders‌. And you are all spot on.  @mjennings ‌ is a very valuable member of this Community and we are so thankful for all you do, Matt!

Coach Emeritus

This struck a chord stefaniesanders. Next week at CanvasCon Sydney I will be lucky enough to represent our Department of Education. Reporting back to them will be a priority.