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Image caption: Made with cheezburger.com; see InstCon.LauraGibbs.net for details.

I don't know how you start each workday, but for me it's a big cup of coffee (maybe two), and scrolling through Twitter and cruising the blogosphere. My "tweeps" and fellow bloggers inform me, inspire me, and support me every day. And now, thanks to Instructure, I'll be meeting up in Keystone with some of those people I have known for years but whom I have never met in person. How cool is that?! Here's the story of how it happened:

Because of a Blog

As an adjunct instructor at my school, I don't usually have the chance to travel to conferences, but I don't let that stop me; I'm always on the look-out for online learning opportunities and virtual communities to connect with. That's how I found myself participating in the Online Network of Educators blog club this past winter. You can learn more about that here: Reflective Writing Club.

One of the blog post prompts was about conferencing, and in my post I described what it was like to participate remotely at InstructureCon 2017: Thoughts on NOT attending conferences.

That blog post then led to an ongoing discussion with the Community team at Instructure, brainstorming about how to spread the InstructureCon energy far and wide. I'll be attending InstructureCon in person this summer, and my mission is to explore different ways to connect with remote participants, before, during, and after the conference. I am so grateful to Instructure for the opportunity, and I'm also very excited to see what we can learn from this experiment.

The Remote Experience

To find out more about our plans, check out the Community blog post "Come one, come all!" and also the open Canvas course I've created here: InstCon.LauraGibbs.net

Twitter and Flipgrid are two key components, and I'm really excited about an experiment we are calling the "Panda Drone." Last year, Linda Lee helped me feel like I was part of InstCon2017 with her tweet-reporting from exactly the sessions I too would have attended, and now for InstCon2018 I can be that on-site person, tweet-reporting for remote participants. Here's my schedule: Panda DronePad — as of this blog post, I have 5 session slots still open where you can send me to be your remote eyes-and-ears. Let me know where I should go!

The Virtual Tent

Using these different tools for connecting and sharing online, I hope we can expand the InstructureCon conversations in both time and space. You don't need a plane ticket or a per diem to participate remotely: just join in at Twitter or Flipgrid or the Canvas Community (and they're even live streaming all five fantastic keynotes). The virtual carnival tent has room for all, and I'm really excited about meeting old friends and making new friends, both at Keystone, and also online. 


Let's keep learning...everywhere!

Laura Gibbs
Online Instructor, University of Oklahoma