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I recently wrote (yet another) love letter to InstructureCon and had the privilege of getting it published on Extra Credit: The Canvas Blog, but a little bird told me it might make a great addition to the Community as well, so here it is (thanks for the idea, Adam Williams).



My phone rings. It’s our Vice Chancellor. He’s approving travel requests.


“What will you be doing on July 24th at 6:00 pm?” he says.


“I’ll be at InstructureCon!” I quickly answer. Because yes, I have the dates memorized.


He says, “You’ll be attending a reception at InstructureCon. And one the next day. And the next day. And there’s something called ‘game night’. I’m looking at a picture of a tent. It’s just one giant party, isn’t it?”


He’s joking, but I assure him that while – undeniably - opportunities for fun exist, there will be important stuff going on, too. Work-related stuff. Stuff that will fire up my neurons, so I come home with all sorts of bright, shiny, wacky notions. And I can’t wait.


I attended InstructureCons in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. They were four of the best conferences I’ve ever attended. In 2014, I even wrote an embarrassingly sentimental essay comparing InstructureCon to summer camp. I suspect I even shared it with some people. The gist of it still holds true – it’s more than just a conference, it’s an experience. The newbies and the cool kids and the counselors (that’s you, Instructure employees) all get together and spend a messy few days connecting, reconnecting, engaging in (100% work-related) shenanigans, and sharing and stealing amazing ideas with and from each other.


The other thing that's fun about InstructureCon? You never know what might happen. The conference planners do their best to throw in surprises and secrets, but sometimes even they can't control the crazy. It snowed one year. In June. And I'm really not sure where those snakes came from, but sure, I'll drape one around my neck, thanks!


InstructureCon 2018 (aka InstructureCarn) is coming. I’m excited to be headed back after missing InstCon 2016 and 2017. The FOMO was real. I wrote another embarrassingly sentimental piece about it last summer. I know for sure I shared that one, because it’s right there in the Canvas Community. It was a great realization, though, that even if you can’t make it in person, you can stalk enough streaming sessions and social media to feel the energy.


This year, I am hoping to run into some of the folks I’ve met at previous InstructureCons, and people I’ve connected with since. I am eagerly looking forward to the “too many choices” dilemma of session selection. And if InstructureCon 2018 is anything like my previous InstCon adventures, I will arrive home tired yet energized, weighed down by swag, and buoyed up by the enthusiasm of my fellow Canvas lovers.



instructurecon highlights

Read this page already, but missed the presentation? Skip to the resource-filled Update!

We will be co-presenting on the community contributions to UCF's UDOIT, an open source, accessibility self-auditing tool for Canvas. Karen and Jacob will provide a brief history of the UDOIT tool, and Michelle will describe how she got involved and developed the UDOIT User Guide which is available through Canvas Commons.

History of UDOIT

At UCF, approximately 40% of all courses offered each semester have at least one student requiring an accommodation, and one of the tasks of the Center for Distributed Learning department at UCF is to evaluate the online courses for possible accessibility issues for students.

As many of you already know, manually evaluating course content is time-consuming, so we set out to either find or create a tool that would fulfill the following goals:

  • Self-Service
  • Easy to Use
  • Provide Actionable Results
  • Educational to Faculty

In the end, we decided to take an existing tool we developed internally (built using the Quail PHP library) and integrate it into Canvas using the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard.

In 2013, we won a $10,000 “Canvas Grant” from Instructure to kickstart the project. While not a condition of the grant, we decided that whatever we created would be released under an open source license so that it could benefit the community.

In June of 2015, we released UDOIT under the GPL V3 open source license on GitHub.

In 2017, Michelle, from Clemson University, developed a guide for UDOIT which is available from Canvas Commons under the Creative Commons license Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share-alike. Be sure to come to our presentation to learn more about how she got involved and how she developed this resource.

In May 2018, the latest version of UDOIT (2.3.2) was released.

Meet the Speakers

  • Jacob Bates from University of Central Florida:
    • Jacob Bates has been a web developer for the past 14 years.  He began as a part-timer at the University of Central Florida using Flash and PHP to make educational games and other interactive elements for online courses.  After a stint in the private sector creating virtual training scenarios for the US Military, he returned to UCF to lead the Techrangers Team, a group of part-timers that create web applications, educational systems, and LMS integrations.
  • Karen Tinsley-Kim from University of Central Florida:
    • Karen is part of the Instructional Development, or "iDev," Team that creates tutorials and training to equip faculty, staff, and students to effectively use Webcourses@UCF and other online instructional assets. Karen coordinates Blind/Low Vision and Deaf/Hard of Hearing online content accessibility reviews. In 2014, her proposal for UDOIT (pronounced “You do it,” for the Universal Design Online content Inspection Tool), was awarded a Higher Education Canvas Grant for Applying Universal Design for Online Learning.
  • Michelle Tuten from Clemson University:
    • Michelle Tuten is the Accessibility Coordinator for Clemson University’s online education department (Clemson Online). She spends much of her time evaluating the quality of online courses, developing training materials, and assisting faculty in developing online classrooms that present fewer barriers to learning. In early 2017, she developed a user guide for UDOIT, which is just one example of how members of the Canvas Community can and do contribute to the development of UDOIT.

Link to Event in Agenda


Thanks to all who were able to attend! For those who weren't able to attend, check out the following links: