InstructureCon is one of our biggest jobs of the year, and it’s also one of the most fun. After our experience last year, which included impromptu performances fromSexy Sax Man, a fight between a panda and a moose, a cruising couch and more, we were excited to see what the creators of Canvas had in store for its attendees this year.
Instructure is one of the fastest growing companies in Utah, and has created a Learning Management System (LMS) to facilitate better interaction between teachers and students. Most schools use something like this, but Canvas is more customizable and allows teachers and students to have a lot of freedom. One of the sessions that generated the most excitement was the unveiling of the new Canvas app, which would allow students to do pretty much anything they could do on their computer on their mobile devices. The teachers were actually cheering at this thought.
But InstructureCon isn’t only fun because the educators and programmers who attend are enthusiastic about the software. The organizers of the event make sure that the conference is the perfect balance of great speakers, supportive training, and zany activities that really make it memorable.
The highlights from the conference looked a little something like this:
- A performance from MC Hammer, minus hammer pants, plus his dancing son Booby Hammer. Attendees received awesome neon t-shirts that said 2L2Q, because of course Canvas users, like the good Reverend Hammer, are Too Legit To Quit.
- A full-blown carnival, complete with sumo suits, carnival games and food, a pie eating contest, and fire jugglers.
- An 80s night dance party with a costume contest and the actual DeLorean from Back to the Future, plus an outdoor screening of the movie
- Breakout sessions in eight different rooms at once, organized according to attendees needs – programmer sessions, higher education, and K-12. (I checked out the official hastag, #instcon, on Instagram during this party, and it was full of happy people in 80s garb posing in front of the DeLorean.)
- Giant inflatable Pandas
- Outdoor keynotes, including one from Richard Culatta from the U.S. Department of Education
MC Hammer takes the stage – Our intern had just graduated from Utah State University in the spring, where she was actually a Canvas user. She had this to say about her InstructureCon experience:
I graduated from Utah State University about two months ago, and was surprised to learn that I would be working with all of the people from Canvas. I have had the opportunity to be a student using Canvas as a resource at USU for about the past three years. I could definitely relate to what the presenters were trying to inform everyone about at InstructureCon. While at Utah State, Canvas helped quite a bit as a student. I was always busy with classes and work, so it allowed me to easily keep track of everything I needed to complete for homework, quizzes and tests by giving me a weekly schedule. It showed be when due dates were for particular assignments and allowed me to easily contact my professors if I had any questions. Canvas definitely was the biggest asset to keeping my grades up and getting better test scores for sure. I’m very glad Utah State has that resource for its students. If anyone out there is unsure about switching to Canvas, don’t be. From a student’s perspective, I feel like it truly made my undergrad experience so much better. And also, thank you to Canvas! You were always there when I needed you. Go Aggies!
We love working with the folks at Instructure and can’t wait to see what they come up with next!