Instructurecon Adventures with the LTS Team #INSTCON

Learning Technology Services sent a team to Instructurecon (#Instcon) 2013 in Park City, Utah to learn more about Instructure Canvas, what other institutions are doing with Canvas, and about upcoming features.

INSTCON Valencia CrewDuring this three day event we learn more about the Canvas road map, LTIs, APIs, Canvas support, and how ridiculous we all looked in the 80’s.

Day 1 kicked off with Josh Coates CEO of Instructure giving the opening keynote about the growth of Canvas, including its 90% satisfaction rate with tickets and average of only 6 minutes of downtime per week. Coates talked about various lessons learned from innovators, including the statement, “Innovators face opposition. Innovate anyways.” Another lesson was to get help from everyone and be patient. Great words of advice to think about next time you are on the forefront of innovation.

Josh Coates and Brian Whitmer (CPO of Instructure) ended the keynote with a few new dance moves on stage.

Instructurecon Josh Coates and Brian Whitmer busting a move.

This was in preparation for the evening’s special guest performer, MC Hammer. It was a great way to kick off the event and get everyone in the mood to “Build Your Own Awesome.”

Instructurecon MC Hammer

Day 2 started with a keynote with Audrey Watters, Kin Lane, and Brian Whitmer. It was about openness in education, including how important both APIs and LTIs are to this movement. Read more about the keynote on Audrey’s website –

Instructurecon Day 2 Keynote

The day continued with a variety of sessions on MOOCs, LTIs, APIs, mobile, and variety of  institutions special uses or tips on using Canvas.

Many of the presentations were full but it’s good to know they were recorded and should be available within a few weeks for anything you might have missed along the way. We’ll update our blog once they become available.

INSTCON Mobile State of the Union

One of the packed presentation was called, “Mobile State of the Union for Higher Ed.” This session was by Mark Suman of the Instructure mobile team on all the updates coming to Canvas iOS and Android very soon. Lots of new features that will let students complete an entire course via an iOS or Android device. Canvas 2.0 coming for iOS and Android phones in July 2013 and tablet in September 2013.

Here is a link to a PDF of the presentation. Mobile State of the Union

The day ended with a fun fill carnival with games (run by the sponsors), various performers, and lots of goodies to eat. This was a very unique way to engage with the sponsors and learn more about their products, while having fun.

Day 3 kicked off with another keynote by Richard Culatta from Office of Educational Technology

Richard Culatta opened with this thought on education, “Don’t put a thin coat of awesome-colored paint on top of something that is structurally flawed.”

Culatta talked about the Learning Registry, a service designed to help with connecting, collecting, and sharing data behind open educational resources.

INSTCON Keynote office of ed tech

The day continued with more sessions on MOOCs, LTIs, APIs, mobile, and variety of different  uses or tips on using Canvas by institutions around the nation.

INSTCON Support Presentation

Another packed presentation for this day was the Road Map sessions. These sessions were led by various Instructure team members on all the great updates coming to Canvas by the end of the year. Lots of new features that will improve both the student and instructor user experience.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Grading: Includes UI improvements to SpeedGrader, and additions to gradebook like points-vs-percentages, extra columns, grade export, current vs final grade, and more
  • Assessments: Quiz auditing with start and finish times, time on questions, changed answers, and if auto-submitted. Additions to peer reviews like anonymous reviews and new feedback options.
  • Mobile: Mobile polling, improvements to mobile grading, Android tablet interface, new Canvas iPad interface, and Kindle support.

Here is a link to a PDF of the full Road Map. Canvas Road Map Q3 and Q4

Our own Instructional Designer, Josh Murdock, was honored to present on our own social media training program for faculty titled, “Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a revolution.”


Photo by Marc Maloy @maloymarc
Photo by Marc Maloy @maloymarc

The evening ended with a flash back to the 80’s, including the 80’s cover band Flash Back Heart Attack and the actual Back to the Future car.

INSTCON back to the future car

The Learning Technology Services team learned a ton about Canvas, networked with other institutions using or piloting the system, and was able to meet a lot of the Instructure staff. Learn more about Canvas and the pilot by visiting


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