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Graduate receives Award of Academic Excellence for work in Web Design Certificate program. 


Debbie Lawlor believes in the value of life-long learning. She has served as a full-time information technology analyst for McMaster University’s Library & Learning Technologies Department for 17 years. And in 2015, she made the decision to go back to school herself.  

“I wanted to make sure I was up-to-date with modern code and the latest trends in web design,” Lawlor explains.

After considering her options, Lawlor decided that the Certificate in Web Design offered through McMaster University Continuing Education met all her professional and personal objectives.

“The program was recently redesigned, so I knew I would be learning current best practices from expert instructors,” Lawlor says.

The online program also offered Lawlor the opportunity to learn at her own pace while raising a family and working full-time. Taking one course at a time, she was able to complete her Certificate in Web Design in two years. This past fall, she was honoured with a McMaster University CCE Award of Academic Excellence. 

Lawlor says she appreciated the flexibility of the online learning format, which included weekly readings and video lectures as well as scheduled group tutorials and discussion forums.

Group project work was another program highlight. Lawlor enjoyed meeting and collaborating with students from right across Canada. “Everyone had diverse skills, so we all got to learn from one another,” she says.

In addition to teaching current web design principles and practices, the McMaster University Centre for Continuing Education Certificate in Web Design offers students instruction in project management, collaboration, and communication skills.

“Learning how to be part of a large team is important,” Lawlor says.
At work, she recently served as the web developer for a project that involved several university departments and an external branding agency. “I was able to use the skills I learned during the certificate program to become a valuable contributor to the project,” she notes.

Lawlor says she would recommend McMaster CCE to anyone who wants to upgrade their current skills or transition into a new field.
“If you are working full time or raising a family, the online format is great,” she says.  

Her advice for those going back to school is simple. “Start your projects early, and accept the feedback from your instructors. They are there to help.”