Edited by Rohini Dikshit
Design by G. Rohit Reddy
Only when everything transitioned fully into the online mode did people first notice that Acads did not singlehandedly torment the students. Some called it the side effects of the collective fear of missing out that everyone felt throughout the last year, whereas others claimed it to be a phenomenal manifestation of the passion to RG others. It wasn’t until a secretly recorded video was anonymously submitted via the T5E tip line that the truth was finally brought to light. Here is a detailed description of what was obtained:
(Focusing inside a dimly lit room from an odd angle, the video slowly zooms in to reveal Moodle and Workflow whispering to each other. In a minute, Smail enters and starts speaking before it even sits down.)
Smail: Before we start, let me remind you-
Moodle: Wait, wait, wait. Why is Smail taking the lead?
Smail: Obviously because I have complete control over the students’ lives and hence, am better suited to plan-
Moodle: So what? You may have control over their brain space, but I am the dungeon master of their devices’ internal storage space! That doesn’t mean I can go ahead and do as I like now, does it?
Smail: How the hell is that even relevant?
Moodle: Relevant or not, I think Smail shouldn’t be in charge anymore. The last time we tried something new, it was Smail who sent us wrong instructions and everything almost failed, remember?
Smail: That was clearly your fault, though? It was only because you took so long to execute your role that we had to hurriedly make last-minute changes to our plans!
Moodle: I had to make Internet collaborate with me! And we all know how whimsical they can be! So it was you who messed up that time!
Workflow: Now, now, we shouldn’t waste time fighting amongst ourselves, should we?
(Smail and Moodle reluctantly agree)
Workflow: (clearing its throat) Let’s get straight to the issue then. Our current abilities and methods aren’t good enough to be recognised as professional hell designers as per the recent evaluations. On top of it all, the students have already started suspecting that something is very wrong here. And hence, we have gathered here today to discuss and revise our hell raising scheme. Any suggestions?
Smail: I have been thinking for a while now and have concluded that emails are primarily used to pass on the most essential information to the stu-
Moodle: (irritatedly) Oh, for God’s sake, just get to the point!
Smail: Fine! I want to flood their accounts with spam. There you go, happy now?
Moodle: Uh- No, not really…why would that be effective?
Smail: I was about to get to that, dummy! As you know, I’m in-charge of the entire flow of information among the students. So, between Profs, Admin, and the dozens of student bodies with overworked design teams, all of whom are locked in a free-for-all to hijack nonexistent attention spans, everyone would be done for. Every time they require something, they would have to channel their inner Moses and split the sea of emails to spot the important ones. Additionally, LTAP can send an absurd amount of emails, announcing courses no one can spare time for anyway. I bet even the most thick-skinned students would dread opening such an inbox!
Moodle: That’s… an unexpectedly good idea. To add to their distress, maybe I should send late notifications about deadlines as well. That way, not only would students have a hard time tracking them, but also be more likely to miss them.
(murmurs of agreement echo as the three nod)
Workflow: Sounds like a plan. In fact, Moodle, you can actually do a lot more. Despite Smail being the backbone of communication, you are in charge of the course material and the submissions. So you have the most control over academics amongst the three of us.
Moodle: In that case, I could just… crash and watch their world burn. (Moodle chuckles evilly) What better time to crash than a day or two before their endsems? The students, especially those who don’t prepare until the very last minute, would be devastated. In fact, recently Kevin has shown particular interest in my ‘crash and burn’ strategy. If we succeed, we might even make it big in the Bad Place and get recruited as Shawn‘s henchmen!
Workflow, Smail (together): Excellent idea, Moodle!
Moodle: (proudly) Oh, I haven’t explained the other half of the plan yet. On the designated date and time, I plan to shift the clock such that the tests are not available at precisely the scheduled time. I give it five seconds before the panic spreads faster than COVID-19 and unleashes a deluge of WhatsApp messages. And if even that is not enough, I’ll simply not show those funky symbols and equations in the app version.
Smail: Would that not raise suspicion?
Moodle: Hah! What could they possibly do, though? Escape our shackles and finish their semesters without us? Non cooperation? Civil Disobedience? Quit Moodle? I’d like to see them try!
Workflow: Fair enough. So we have our plans ready. Now then-
Smail: Hold on a second! How come Workflow has to do nothing to interrupt the workflow?
Workflow: (chuckling self-assuredly) My very existence and its accessibility are as hellish as possible. To log in, one needs to set up a proxy. And for that itself, a whole set of instructions must be followed. Given the immense number of important PDFs, keeping track of the one with the instructions is also a nightmare in itself.
(Smail and Moodle nod in agreement. Workflow continues.)
Workflow: Twice a year, I could also collude with SEAT to make a royal mess of registrations for electives. Ruined hopes and dreams make great snacks! (All three seem overjoyed at the prospect)
Workflow: Well then, if we are done planning, the next step is simply executing our plan. And, well, the students’ sanity. I hope we can act on our ideas as soon as possible. For now, we should probably disperse. It won’t be good for us to be found together after all these discussions, would it?
Smail: Yes, of course.
Moodle: Right. Wait, is ther-
(The video concludes at this point with the last frame showing pitch-black darkness accompanied by panting sounds and heavy footsteps in the background.)
We hope our readers are suitably shocked and incensed by these revelations. Whether or not the Triumvirate of Insti spotted our brave whistleblower remains a mystery. But at least now we know the source of our misery and can rebel, knowing that we have nothing to lose except our chains.
This is beautiful. Kudos for the idea and execution!