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David Laflamme

Degree pursued: 
Bachelor of Arts (History)

Take a moment to introduce yourself – what you do/where you live/family/how long have you been working, etc.?

At age 62 I am a proud father of two grown up children. I have had a varied career having earned my living as a carpenter and branched out into woodworking and furniture making. I am presently self-employed and with my partner involved in the residential property management business where we buy older, dilapidated buildings and do renovations and improvements for the purposes of rent or resale in the 1000 Islands region.

How did you find your first online course/learning experience?

I immediately enjoyed the experience. I had at the time taken a break from my full time career in house renovations and took what I thought was to be casual, temporary employment with a local tour boat operator on the St. Lawrence River. This turned out to be an extremely time consuming 9 month of the year occupation that left me little time for anything else and lasted five years. The online experience was a godsend. I was able to work full (sometimes 50 and 60 hour) weeks and still complete my courses since they could be scheduled largely to fit my week to week demands. Once I realized the potential for working and studying simultaneously, I started a routine of taking two to three credits a semester, even taking some in the summertime, my busiest season!

How did you find the experience using technology to access classes?

I found the upgrading of skill level for course computer work to be manageable, especially as I became more proficient at making documents in the Word program. After a short period of familiarization I was able to navigate quite easily in the system. The early courses made a point of showing how critical systems like online library research worked and how to successfully utilize it. I find all the tools for completing assignments at hand: writing seminars, online research, access to professors and teaching assistants, technical assistance, and all at the tap of the touchpad.

What advice would you give to someone starting an online degree?

Just do it and enjoy the freedom that this technology affords and get the benefit of engaging on a university level with some great people and thinkers.

Have you had any memorable experiences with us so far that you’d like to share?

I think the moment where I realized that the idea of having all the world's knowledge at my fingertips, just waiting to be explored in a way that would return recognition for the effort expended, made me determined to do more than just take courses for interest alone and go for my degree.

What surprised you the most about online learning?

I was surprised that the online forums and discussions were exciting and challenged me to express myself objectively and in a professional academic manner. Being online, these discussions and posted forums have the advantage of being saved and are accessible at any convenient time. These forums count towards the final mark and add the participation with other students of discussing relevant topics and problems and is an important dimension to the online experience.