“I found it,” said one student, “and I still have 20 minutes to submit it!”
Photo by Jack Yang
UCSD freshman Carlos Betancourt did not expect to make history when he enrolled in his MMW 11 course earlier this fall, but now he has found himself embroiled in a world-famous discovery. Just two days ago, Betancourt found a previously unknown homework assignment in the Zoom LTI Pro tab on Canvas worth 75 percent of his total grade.
“I was just clicking through all the side tabs,” said Betancourt in a virtual interview. “I never thought I would be the one to discover such a significant piece of the fabric of history.” Betancourt was often sidetracked by his dog, who was visible throughout the Zoom call running around and jumping onto his unmade bed and a pile of dirty laundry.
Betancourt’s brilliant discovery has been confirmed to be “one of the most important in recent years” by his classmates. According to a Zoom poll, approximately 94 percent of the class had no idea about the assignment whatsoever, and exactly 87 percent of the class agreed that the assignment would impact their grades. The assignment, which is due tonight at 11:59 PM PST and worth 75 percent of the grade, has since made waves in the field of Academic Integrity.
After Betancourt published the discovery in the class Discord server, other signs that were previously attributed to different homework assignments were put under reconsideration. Earlier in the quarter, Professor Dick Higgins wrote about the assignment in a Piazza post linked to a schedule linked to a Google Calendar linked to a banana JPEG on the class website. However, the post was ignored by students, who turned off all notifications and never checked Piazza or their emails after the 19th consecutive post asking for a curve.
Another student, Nicole Peterson, has since come forward claiming that she made the discovery first. She maintains that her TA mentioned the assignment in passing during discussion, which she “admittedly attended with [her] mic and camera off,” but her connection dropped at that exact moment and she decided not to follow up, citing “Zoom fatigue.”
Professor Higgins informed reporters that the assignment was written in bold, red, size 24 Comic Sans font at the very top of the syllabus. “You really couldn’t miss it if you tried,” he wept, wringing his hands. New research shows that the syllabus could be found in an untitled folder under the My Media tab, if one scrolled to the bottom and clicked on the fifth link.
Dr. Grace Kinnowin, a cultural anthropologist at Redwood University, has been studying the increase in missing, hidden, or otherwise unknown homework assignments for “seemingly decades,” since March 2020. “We are still researching how and why unprecedented remote learning has led to such an unprecedented increase in cases in these unprecedented times,” said Dr. Kinnowin. Some researchers in her lab have put forward a highly controversial hypothesis: The missing assignments may be linked to the increase in students who say “Oh, lecture’s recorded; I can watch it later.”
Betancourt cites many famous historical figures, including Marco Polo, Ferdinand Magellan, and Dora the Explorer, as inspiration for his lifelong passion for discovery. He hopes to foster his love of anthropology by adding a Computer Science minor to his Molecular and Cell Biology major. Students in the MMW 11 class are continuing their archeological dig to find a second hidden homework assignment, which mysteriously vanished from Modules earlier this quarter. The assignment’s existence was confirmed by Professor Higgins in lecture yesterday afternoon.