Having taught for over five decades, Professor Thomas Bridges is way past his prime and not up to the times. He struggled when UW-Madison adopted Canvas years ago and continues to struggle. While he does possess a Wisc-mail, anyone that tries to send an email is greeted with a “Recipient’s Inbox Full” error message. When forced to use Zoom last year, most lectures were muted with no screen shared until he read the chat around the halfway point. However, his technological incompetence reached a new low this semester.
When the Canvas site was published an hour before the first class, students were met with a single page containing the syllabus. A student from the course reports upon opening the file he was met with an incomprehensible sound. Another student told us that when she saw the .mp3 file for the syllabus, she thought it was a creative idea until clicking on it. “I just thought it’d be a cool little audio recording of the professor going over the syllabus, but what I heard, I’ll never forget.”
We spoke to TA Em P. Tree about the incident. “I don’t know how this happened,” Tree told us. “I was at his office this past weekend helping him create the syllabus. I had to go before we finished, but I showed him how to convert the Word document to a pdf and even wrote down the step-by-step instructions. I don’t know how in the world he exported it as an audio file,” Tree said. “I thought it’d be exported as a text-to-speech kind of thing, but it was totally incomprehensible yet terrifying at the same time.” Tree refused to elaborate as she shuddered.
When students tried bringing it up in class, Professor Bridges couldn’t understand what they were saying. One student reports when he told the professor that he uploaded the syllabus as an mp3 file, Bridges just said something about how he doesn’t use an iPod anymore and just listens to the radio.