Canvas Learning Platform Crashes Sparking Memes From Students

Digital classroom software Canvas crashed earlier this morning, leaving regional school groups in the U.S. looking for answers.

DownDetector, a website crash tracking tool, showed over 1,600 reports of a crash had come in just before 8:30am EDT. 15 minutes later there were over 6,000.

Instructure, the company behind Canvas, posted an update to its status page at 9:27 EDT stating the crash had been resolved and that all systems were operational.

It had identified the issue over an hour earlier, but did not give further details as to the cause.

Canvas told Newsweek: "Canvas is back up now. Earlier this morning Canvas experienced a system outage for over an hour that could have impacted customers across the US. We recognize that this has created a challenge for many customers and so we are actively looking into the root cause of the outage."

On Thursday morning, Twitter erupted with students affected by the site's downtime. Many took it well, hoping the crash would lead to an early spring break or last all day, posting memes to that effect.

One said: "Just cancel school and let us have an early spring break, it ain't worth this much to try and fix it."

Just cancel school and let us have an early spring break, it ain’t worth this much to try and fix it

— Adam (@AdamGol33469560) March 25, 2021

Another wrote: "Praying that Canvas is down for the rest of the day." Posts quickly gained hundreds of likes and retweets.

Praying that canvas is down for the rest of the day

— Natilie (@natilieee) March 25, 2021

“Canvas is down” “It’s back up”

— Bethany’s Braindump 🌻 (@bethanyjpark) March 25, 2021

Education officials were more concerned, with many looking for answers. Montgomery County Public Schools said on Twitter: "We are aware that users are experiencing difficulty accessing Canvas. This is a regional issue with the platform and not unique to MCPS. We are working with the vendor to better understand the issue and a timeline for when the error will be fixed."

North Carolina-based Union County Public Schools posted: "Canvas is down nationwide. We are monitoring messages from the NC Department of Public Instruction for updates. We will follow up when more information is made available."

Instructure claims the Canvas software has a 99.9 percent system uptime on its website.

Canvas offers a number of services to educational institutions not limited to online learning. Students using Canvas can also take part in online assessments and access workbooks.

Dr. Kamela Patton, superintendent of Collier County Public Schools, claimed Canvas is used by more than 90 percent of higher education institutions in the U.S. and that there had been a district-wide transition to the system amid the COVID pandemic, in a guest column for Florida news outlet Naples Daily News

Newsweek has contacted Instructure for more information about the cause of the crash.

Schools across the U.S. will be breaking up, or have already broken up, for Spring Break 2021, which usually occurs for a one-week period between March 9 and April 21 depending on the school.

Update 3/25/21,11:45 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to reflect new information on the operational status of Canvas, and to include a statement from Canvas.

Hand on laptop
A stock image shows a student working on a laptop. Distance learning has become more popular amidst the COVID pandemic. Pheelings Media/iStock