This is my first InstructureCon. Hard to believe that this annual gathering of the Canvas community in Utah is already on its 4th iteration.
And I can barely say that I made this InstructureCon, as other work business has limited my participation to a pre-conference Advisory Board meeting. Oh well. Next year.
So my observations of InstructureCon will be limited. Hopefully you will be able to fill in what you are seeing as the big stories and key observations coming out of Park City.
What would I have been looking for if I had been able to attend sessions and hang out with Instructure folks and the Canvas community?
1. Is Instructure Staying True to Its Roots As A Teaching and Learning Community?
Where Instructure hit the sweet spot with Canvas was in offering an elegant cloud-based learning management system (LMS) that put every school on the same system. No version numbers. No occurrences where some schools were two or three versions behind peer institutions. No situations where School A could buy every module and service (analytics, synchronous classes, etc.) where School B was stuck with the base system.
Having everyone on the same platform by bundling all the learning modules in one product meant that discussions in the Canvas community proceeded from a common vocabulary. We can all talk about teaching and learning on the platform with confidence that we are all on the same platform.
Will Instructure be able to resist the urge to unbundle Canvas? Will Instructure prioritize keeping the Canvas learning community all together over the temptation to offer new products and services that are too expensive to offer in the core platform?
2. What Is Instructure Specifically Saying That They Will Not Do?
If I were in Park City I’d be listening for what the leadership of Instructure is saying about what they will not do. What areas of digital learning is Instructure ruling out?
What products or services were considered and rejected in order to focus on the core?
3. How Is Instructure Thinking About the Balance Between New Features and Usability in Canvas?
The 3rd area that I’d be trying to understand from InstructureCon, and which I hope you can perhaps fill us in, is how the company is talking about platform evolution versus new features?
I’d like to get a sense of the proportion of effort of Instructure developers to evolve key attributes of Canvas such as the collaboration / discussion tools, grade book, assessments, outcomes, analytics, and mobile.
Where does Instructure think that these core tools need to improve, and what is their plan to improve them?
How much energy, as measured in developer resources, is focused on core tools as opposed to any new features that Instructure is baking into the Canvas platform?
What are you learning at InstructureCon?