Josh Coates, CEO of Instructure [A-]

Marked down only because of the blistering sun we were looking into; by the time Hammer came out I was almost ready to leave just to escape the sun.


Audrey Watters, Kin Lane, and Brian Whitmer [B+]

I think it would've worked better to leave Brian's comments to the next morning. I wasn't aware of either Audrey or Kin so I would've appreciated more of an introduction, and it would've made a difference to know they were a couple. It would've been more meaningful to me if the program had printed an abstract of their address, comparable to what was included for the breakout sessions, as well as pointed me to Audrey's blog and any other introductory items like videos, interviews, etc.


Richard Culatta [A+]

Same comments as above regarding abstract of talk and availability of pre-conference references, like his TEDx presentation on YouTube -

Pre-Conference Workshops (the ones I attended)


MOOCs: Designing for a New Audience by Maria Andersen (Instructure) [B+]

I felt a little cheated after paying $75 to attend this pre-conference workshop when the same material was covered in her breakout session. In fact the breakout session covered more info about the QA process which was the most beneficial aspect of the session. But it was also very nice that she provided links to six or seven Canvas Network courses that are open to the public that serve as examples of good (or at least Canvas-approved) design.


Course Development Strategies by Allison Weiss [B-]

I didn't think the content matched the description. The actual content was more basic and limited to covering modules and a few detailed tips and how-tos. In her defense, Allison got sidetracked by some people in the audience, including a pretty obnoxious woman at my table.

Breakout Sessions


A Leaner, Meaner One-Stop Shop for New Students by Georglyn Davidson & Mary Ellen Bornak of Bucks County Community College [A]


The slides from their presentation are available at


And then after the conference they went back and created a public version of their online orientation course for us:


Mobile State of the Union for K-12 by Mark Suman of Instructure [A]


MOOCs and Their Implications for Community Colleges by Stephanie Delaney of Seattle Central Community College [B+]

Interesting approach, creating a History course on as a way to offer adult continuing education. I talked with Stephanie afterward and learned that her school wasn't using Canvas but was considering it, so offering the MOOC was a good marketing move by Instructure and it allowed her school to try it. Someone in the audience noted that they see MOOCs as a way to give participants a limited taste of a particular course with the idea that some participants might then enroll and take the for-credit full course.


Using Analytics to Keep Your Students on Track by Kevin Reeve of Utah State University [B-]

This was the most disappointing session for me. I had viewed a webinar Kevin did at USU and was really expecting more.


Mistakes Only Experienced Instructional Designers Make by Pat Wagner of Pattern Research, Inc. [A+]

Pat's presentation was head and shoulders above the rest (maybe that's overstating the difference). She had good material, great delivery, funny, personable. I think I noted on my evaluation that I'd go listed to her no matter what the conference or topic.


Building Bridges Through Canvas Network by Raymond L. Lawson & Virginia Steward Huntley of McHenry County College [B]

This was more of an open discussion than presentation, but I appreciated the fact that they focused not on Canvas or the structure, design, or delivery of MOOCs, but the implications of widespread availability of MOOCs from a theoretical/philosophical point of view.


Kaleidoscope in Canvas: Open General Education Curriculum at Multi-Institutional Scale by Ronda Dorsey Neugebauer, David Wiley & Kim Thanos of Lumen [A]

Ronda had her act together and gave an engaging presentation. This was my first exposure to OER and it was full of relevant information and resources.


The Linked Observer Role: A Tool for Academic Success by Rick E. Murch-Shafer of Creighton University [A+]

Rick is the guy who broke his collarbone the night previous in the sack race and actually included video of his fall in his presentation! Outstanding use of presentation technology and commitment to his presentation. And very informative regarding using the Observer role to monitor progress.


The Case for Building from Scratch by Michelle Stephens & Kristi Palmer of Richland Community College [A-]

Good content, good presentation. Good contacts to make.


Teaching a Canvas Network Course: What You Need to Know by Maria Andersen of Instructure [A]



Using Canvas in Unintended Ways to Support Continuous Quality Improvement of OER by David Wiley & Aaron Johnson of Lumen Learning [B]

I attended this at the last minute only because David was a small part of Ronda's Kaleidiscope presentation. His introduction was good and contained some meaningful data. Aaron's part was deliveredy well but too wonky for my level of understanding.


Harnessing Canvas to Support Academic Advisement by Brenda Frieden & Susan Dellasega of Pittsburgh State University [B]

This was okay but not nearly as relevant to my interests as the "Leaner, Meaner One-Stop" session.


Educational Data Mining Prospects With Canvas by Brian Kokensparger of Creighton University [B-]

I found Brian's presentation to be more technical than I could grasp. But I know others gobbled it up.