In the Fall of 2020, I was preparing to go back to the last year of my degree online. I had moved out of Toronto to go home to Calgary due to the pandemic and was feeling discouraged about my prospects of finding a job after graduation. I can’t help but feel very differently now that I’ve completed my
co-op term with D2L.
During my co-op term as the Accessibility Coordinator, I was lucky enough to put my experience and learning to the test and facilitated usability tests with people with disabilities through D2L’s partnership with Fable Tech Labs. I eventually presented this project to over 80 D2Lers at a Lunch n’ Learn event – an opportunity I never expected during a 3 month co-op term.
Let’s backtrack. It’s one thing to talk about what I did during my co-op term, but I’m going to focus a bit on how I managed to get there. Over the summer I tried my best to network remotely, and I attended (so many) virtual events. One event that stood out to me was D2L’s Fusion conference series. One day of the conference was focused on Accessibility. I had never seen an organization focus on accessibility like that before, and I was intrigued. I’m in a User Experience (UX) Design program, and accessibility is important to me because it means building solutions that support and elevate a diversity of users. Based on the Fusion conference, D2L seemed to have the same values as myself.
I was interested in learning more about D2L and what it might be like to work there. I had some common connections with people who worked at D2L, and learned they were hiring for their first-ever Accessibility Coordinator Co-op student. After more coffee chats and submitting my application, I was ready for my interview!
This was one of my first remote interviews, where I was sent a Zoom meeting invitation and met with my to-be Manager and another Department Manager, who both asked me questions. Surprisingly, the interview didn’t seem all that different from interviews I’d done in person. Fast forward through the nervousness of my interview, I got the job and started my first day in September!
What I’ve learned is that D2L doesn’t just talk about accessibility to clients but also prioritizes accessibility internally. I learned a lot through my daily job and was able to have coffee chats with teammates to just talk about accessibility at D2L, which was really refreshing. I also had access to D2L’s internal learning resources like Lunch n’ Learn talks, internal conferences, or their hub of “Grow” courses (built all using Brightspace, of course!). In my first month, I spent a lot of time consulting these resources and learned about D2L’s processes for including people with disabilities in their user testing – meaning accessibility is considered at the very beginning stages of all of their design projects.
From starting out the year thinking I’d never get a job after graduation, I’ve now learned so many useful skills from my colleagues, but I’ve also learned of what I’m capable of accomplishing. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to do my co-op term at D2L because they gave me the space to learn, grow my interest in accessibility, and give back to the team. With outlets that allow D2Lers — whether they be co-op, full time, or in the executive suite — to learn from and teach one another, D2L truly is more than just a tech company; they’re an education company first.
Finally, I’m excited to say that I’ll be starting a full time role at D2L after graduation this spring! If you’re interested in learning more about D2L or my co-op experience, feel free to book a 30 minute chat with me through my Office Hours in Calendly, or connect via Linkedin.