Canvas Hell

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “We don’t want you staying up all night, so we’ve set your assignment due at 9 p.m.” Well, the joke’s on you Amanda, because now I’m gonna pull an all-nighter the day before your problem set is due. These professors have had it too easy for too long. While we toil away with our lowercase-c backs at the never-ending homework-projects-quiz-discussion-board hell, the fatcats lay back, with their fancy autograders and poorly socialized TAs humbling us without any hope of appeal. Being a college professor used to be hard work, real salt-of-the-earth, backbreaking labor. They needed to speak words good and grade handwritten papers over candlelight and take special defense training in case a GI-bill supersenior with the nickname “Beefster” ever came swinging. The only upside was the fresh supply of undergrads to have affairs with. (Now they only get to make love to their grad students. What has the world come to?) Modern “professors” are so pampered, you might as well call them diapers. The most exotic submission times are at their fingertips, so of course they must use them! 11:43 a.m. deadline for a 4:30 p.m. class? Of course! And feel free to get me started on the 11:59 p.m./12:00 p.m. deadlines, 12 hours (and one minute) apart, and consistently confounding. I have searched “when is 12 p.m.” nine times. They overuse a convenience they cannot properly even “regular-use.”

But we can’t blame our beloved teachers for this tech rapaciousness. As much as they’d deny it, the 39-year-old adjunct is drawn to the learning management system like a moth to a flame, or a baby to an iPad, or a baby to the bathwater, or a baby to the microwave. And we can’t blame them for their tech incompetence. After all, they’ve only been adults for 20 years, we can’t expect them to know how to post a link. The real blame lies on the wretched Canvas that lays bare all human sins. Here is where I lay my thesis on Canvas Hell. As with 99.9998% of post-2002 creations (I’m the exception), Canvas (founded by Bringham Young University super-soakers) has failed to deliver on its promise to streamline the tedious edges of the educational process. Just like the Common App caused your rejection from MIT and SIO screwed you out of Acting for Non-Majors, Canvas has made everything worse. College is a war between the professor and the student. We cannot win without bringing the enemy down, and they must do the same for us. We used to maintain a delicate balance through the use of the aforementioned “Beefster” types and our sexual wiles, but Canvas (the atomic bomb) has pushed the balance too far, and we now must prostrate in deference to the enemy. “Sure, I’d love to respond to three discussion posts in my own words outside of class!” - words spoken by a broken people, with psyches so shattered that we cannot fathom a before times.

My grievances are as follows:
- Canvas is woefully inadequate for the esoteric grading schemes favored by the more twisted professors.
- “Component Weight Participation: 3%, Average homework percentage score (lowest 2 dropped): 30%, Highest test percentage score: 20%, Second-highest test percentage score: 15%, Greater of: lowest test score, final exam score: 5%, Final exam percentage score: 27%”
- The intelligentsia wasn’t allowed to do this back when a grade calculation involved a slide rule, two abacuses, and an underpaid Black woman computer whose contributions would be neglected for half a century.
- The so-called Syllabus tab rarely contains a syllabus, most often favoring a list of Zoom links to office hours, or maybe a list of all the homework assignments you didn’t submit. I’d like to shout out Dr. Kritschgau, Dr. Meija, and Dr. Yurko, whose Syllabi tabs this semester are the best I’ve seen. Great professors, too. On an unrelated note, I take payment in unearned extra credit points. Pretend this article is a statistical analysis or something.
- I know some people like the confetti, but I’m not a baby. The heroin I carefully inject intravenously following homework submissions is reward enough.
- And am I the only one who gets low-key P-Oed when somebody is writing corrections on my submission, and I get a new notification for every comment they make? Every time I think it means that she texted back, and then I realize what it really is, which makes the cyanide pill I’ve kept hidden in my molar look that much more appealing. Sometimes they’ll be grading a really poor project, and it’ll happen to me like 15 times before I get Pavloved into figuring it out.
- Also, sometimes I turn in homework, but Canvas doesn’t actually turn it in. I’ll pinky promise that I did the work, but something weird must have happened. What a strange glitch, I’ll send you the homework as soon as I can find it. But my computer’s storage is plentiful (512gb ssd plus 2tb hdd btw), so it may take me about 2 hours to find. And if they don’t give full credit, I call them a fascist on their course evals.

But Canvas does have some upsides. As I’m not propagandizing for the enemy, I won’t tell you them, but I’m sure the Canvas superfan at (913) 468-9741 would love to enlighten you on them. As for me, I’m still a sophomore, and I’m excited for two more years of Canvas Hell.