Duo disaster with Canvas

The collab nobody needed

A cropped illustration of Duolingo’s mascot, a green owl named, “Duo,” peering at the viewer.
ILLUSTRATION: Amanda Eng / The Peak

By: Hannah Kazemi, Staff Writer

SFU’s latest Canvas update has students and profs fighting for their lives. The new feature brings the worst of popular language app Duolingo to motivate the way students study and get their work done. Casey Aoibheann Doyle, a third year Criminology student, can’t take it anymore. If you ask me, her story is not a hoot . . .

Upon opening her laptop, Casey is prompted to say “hello” to Duo, the iconic and notoriously chaotic green Duolingo owl. Duo’s job is to make sure Casey stays on track with her school work. Duo will live on her computer to provide short messages of encouragement and remind her what she has left to do. Casey accepts the terms and conditions of installing the Duolingo x Canvas update and closes her laptop. “Finally, something useful SFU’s decided to spend their money on,” Casey remarks.

The next day, Casey is writing an essay when she decides to take a break and watch videos on YouTube for a few minutes. Little Duo pops up at the corner of her screen blaring “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa, catching Casey off guard. The word “start” is replaced with “stop,” so she jokingly thinks Dua Lipa is reprimanding her for taking a break from the paper. Casey does not care for Duo’s tastes for Dua, really, but wants to be polite. Of course, she is also impatient.

Duo gets halfway through the song before Casey finds a way to cut the music off. She doesn’t particularly care for the song, and Duo looks offended. “Duo is sad . . . but not as sad as Casey will be if she turns off Dua Lipa again! Dua Lipa is Duo’s favourite. Don’t make Duo mad.”

Just like that, Duo disappears into the ether. Casey brushes off the snide comment as a stereotypical reflection of Duo’s love of Dua Lipa. It would be more accurate to say that Duo is obsessed with Dua Lipa. Casey remembers this from TikTok. She makes a mental note to expect more Dua Lipa than she’s ever heard before, so long as Duo’s around.

Casey goes back to her essay and takes another break, this time to scroll through Instagram for a while. A reel from Duolingo’s account comes across her feed featuring Duo dancing to a mashup of Dua Lipa songs. Text that says “Duo is Watching” appears at the end of the reel just before Casey scrolls past it.  Duo pops up in the corner of her screen and starts screeching “Prisoner” by Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa as her phone turns to static. “You’ve barely written anything! Two hours wasted flipping between apps . . . and you don’t even follow Dua Lipa. Duo is watching you . . .”

As quickly as Duo appeared, Casey’s screen went black and Dua Lipa’s version of “Cold Heart” started playing at maximum volume from her laptop. She’s spooked once again by the vague and mysterious presence haunting her. Casey turns the song off and mutes the entire laptop. Casey decides to uninstall the Duolingo x Canvas update because she’s over it and doesn’t like the idea of a cryptic bird stalking her every move.

But before she can hit the “uninstall” button, a low and hazy fog begins to roll into her bedroom. She hears a mishmash of Dua Lipa songs faintly playing in the background. One by one, “One Kiss,” “New Rules,” and “Levitating” all consume and surround Casey in a soundscape of Dua! She searches her room for a way to make it stop. Casey is crouched over with her hands covering her ears and her eyes squeezed shut as a grizzly bear-sized Duo comes crashing into her room, flapping massive green wings at her. 


The volume of the music intensifies as Duo flies through the window in Casey’s room, smashing it to pieces. Casey’s laptop bursts into flames. Now she knows: more important than her assignments is a cultivated love for Dua Lipa (not sponsored). She will never disobey Duo ever again.