I just recently completed my second co-op work term as a University of Manitoba Computer Science Co-op Student at D2L in Kitchener, Ontario. I was already familiar with D2L from my time as a student at the University of Manitoba. Like many other Canadian Universities, UofM uses Brightspace for its Learning Management System. I decided to choose D2L for a few reasons; I had known a few people that had worked there prior and had good things to say, and it was an offer from an out of town company, which is something I wanted to experience as a student in the co-op program. Going to Ontario definitely seemed less scary than going to a whole new country, combined with the name recognition that D2L provides, I felt like it was a relatively safe choice for a co-op work term while still serving as a stimulating work environment to benefit my formal education.
On my journey from Winnipeg to Kitchener, I was fueled with excitement! What would the next four months of my life look like? Who would I interact with on a daily basis? What would working at D2L be like? My first day at D2L was extremely organized as they had a really structured onboarding procedure. We got a tour of their office, which has three floors in the Tannery building in downtown Kitchener. The Senior Developers had written the onboarding documentation and were quick to assist with any of the 15 or so new-hires questions that day.
Something that really impressed me about D2L was how friendly everyone was! Meeting my team and manager was initially scary since I had no idea what anyone would be like, but my manager was one of the friendliest (and funniest) people at D2L, and I had a pretty awesome team too! The first question that I had asked my mentor was if we would be working directly on Brightspace. Usually, companies have many different projects or internal tools that require development, and I wasn’t sure what team I would get placed on as a co-op student, but to my surprise, I was going to be working on the exact product I was using at school!
Something that I really appreciated about my time at D2L was the opportunity to ask questions regarding projects outside of my team. I asked my mentor if I could talk to someone that works on the Pulse app, which is an application for students to access the Brightspace platform on their phone. I had been using the app for several months prior to even applying to D2L and I had some feedback (which was mostly positive, but I did have questions about some specific use cases with the app). So it was my first week, and I was already meeting D2Lers from across the company! I met with the lead iOS developer of Pulse and the lead Android developer and I talked about my experience with the app, and I gave them some feedback, which they enjoyed so much that one of them even said: “Can we fly all of our users out here?” After that, I always chatted with members of the Pulse team when I saw them around, and it was a really good way to meet people at the company and give feedback on a tool I use almost every day during school.
To wrap up, my experience at D2L as a co-op student was really positive. I enjoyed working with my team, I thought they were awesome, and I enjoyed all the different kinds of things you could work on at D2L, and most of all, I loved contributing to the company’s main product, not some side project for co-ops. Working at D2L for my second co-op work term gave me the chance to experience something new by going to another province for a work term. Additionally, I got to work on and contribute to a platform I use every day at school and I got to provide feedback too many different D2Lers across the organization to help transform the way the world learns.
Want to learn more about the D2L Co-op experience for the upcoming Summer term? Connect with me on LinkedIn and lets setup a time to chat!