Canvas is a fluorescent-lit room, Pitch #17

SMC uses a Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas.

Wait, backup.

"Learning Management System"? Is that why we are in college? To be "managed"? Isn’t college supposed to be a wild, sprawling, no limits exploration of every intellectual, career, and social thread students care to pursue? What about a rich, empowering, transformative college experience is supposed to be "managed"? Isn’t a "Learning Management System" the college equivalent of elementary school’s "No Child Left Behind" initiative from the George W. Bush administration? An initiative that may have been well-intentioned, but replaced exploration and rich learning with "teaching to the test". Do we really want college to be the "managed" transmission of knowledge to rows of students on a conveyor belt? We aren’t in college to become assembly line workers, why should our education be "managed" by a system treats us that way?

Moving on.

Let’s talk about fluorescent-lit rooms. What is a fluorescent-lit room? A room with broad, moderately bright lighting that facilitates reading a book or having a discussion. What else is a fluorescent-lit room? A room with harsh, acid-green tinged lighting that no one actually wants to be in. A room lacking the ambient embrace of daylight through a window or the warmth of incandescent light from tungsten filaments. A fluorescent-lit room is a room where you can do everything you have to do, in a thoroughly unpleasant manner.

And our Canvas LMS is the fluorescent-lit room of education. Canvas is a place where you can do everything you must do to satisfy the needs of assembly line education. In a thoroughly unpleasant manner. College shouldn’t be a mechanized experience. College should be messy. College should be sprawling. We shouldn’t have a "managed" experience like Canvas as the infrastructure of our college experience. Let’s throw Canvas out with all those old fluorescent tubes and instead bathe in the warm glow of education that facilitates individual exploration. Education that encourages rather than stifles the individual strengths essential for a career here in the 21st century.

Published by Glenn Zucman

Artist & Arts Educator based in Los Angeles.