What follows is a fictionalized version of real events. No animals were harmed in the making of this blogpost, yada yada…
Have you ever been in a math course where the instructor chose to use Pearson's MyLab Math for online homework submission? If not, good. If so… God save your soul. The list of things that are wrong with this terrible website just grows every time I have to touch it.
For starters, trying to just create an account so that you can get access to this piece of trash is already a tortuous nightmare. It usually takes about an hour of wasted classtime until someone realizes that it won't work unless you completely disable your adblock. Just enabling ads for the Pearson site is not enough, somehow. You need to completely turn off adblocking. (It's honestly more convenient to use a separate browser.) I guess you are warned, but why the hell can't they make a site that doesn't require users to mess with their extensions? I'm not even sure how you would go about accomplishing what they have accomplished. Their site doesn't even have any ads!! It's hard to unintentionally make software this bad.
Once you've found your way to the course homepage, the nightmare really begins. You start your homework with bright-eyed naïveté, blissfully unaware of the horrors that you're about to unleash. The nature and severity of this dreadful punishment probably depends on what course you're taking, so I'll take a moment to describe what it's like for me to do my Linear Algebra work. I don't think I can craft a convincing narrative out of this, so here is an unordered list of my assorted grievances:
- Even though the homework claims that you have unlimited attempts per question, you don't. You actually only have three attempts.
- You can't really use tabs to navigate between fields. Pearson has somehow managed to break this feature which normally works with zero developer effort.
- Feeling stuck? No problem. There's a "Help me solve this" button at the bottom, offering hopes of guidance and consolation. Except when you click it, the problem is immediately marked as wrong, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to reverse that. Sirens go off at the Pearson headquarters as a disciplinary unit is dispatched to your home address with directions to take you dead or alive. At no point are you warned that any of this will happen.
- It is incredibly easy to get a question wrong if you don't input the answer in a very specific way. If you're unfortunate enough to lack the requisite mind-reading abilities that are clearly necessary to deduce what the question writers were thinking when they banged their keyboards and concocted the word vomit that you're now staring at... good luck.
Grrrrrrrr. Someone save me from this torture.