Sabrena Deal’s first social media jumpstart happened the same way as a lot of viral content — it was accidental.
Since then, Deal has turned her expertise into a way to educate others on the popular platform LinkedIn Learning through two courses: her initial course, Designing a Resume in InDesign, and a new course, Creating Inclusive Content. The latest course premiered August 30, 2022.
“It wasn’t intentional at all,” said Deal, a senior lecturer at Grady College, of the first viral video.
Deal explains that creating LinkedIn Learning courses started when the company reached out to her because they noticed YouTube videos that she had created for her students several years ago had generated a lot of views. The videos focused on designing resumes and LinkedIn invited her to create a course using similar content. When the first course was successful, LinkedIn reached out to ask what other ideas she had for courses, which is when the idea for a course for inclusive communications came to mind.
“I have always had a true appreciation to connect barriers,” Deal explained, “and when they asked about what topics I care about, I told them I have a lot of training and education about how to make quality online education. A big piece of that is recognizing the personal perspectives of students and learners and really anyone reading or viewing any kind of content from a different perspective.”
Deal, who teaches lecture classes in graphic design though the Department of Advertising and Public Relations, knows the value of LinkedIn Learning courses. She often assigns certification courses to students to reinforce design skills in InDesign and Photoshop.
Although she teaches graphics courses, Deal notes that this new inclusive communication course is not just for graphic communications professionals, but for anyone who communicates with diverse audiences — which is a broad audience.
Her interest in this inclusive communication was sparked when she was a student in a session about accessible course design. One of the topics discussed was adapting coursework to learners from different perspectives, along with best practices for publishing electronic resources.
“I thought there are ways that we can design things with those audiences in mind that will improve the reach of our content and also include people who are often disregarded or just not even thought of,” Deal said of this light-bulb moment.
The LinkedIn Learning course, itself, is inclusive, covering a variety of scenarios: choosing fonts for multilingual content, using inclusive images, awareness of what colors mean in different cultures, writing inclusive copy, designing websites for adaptive technology and inclusive video publishing, just to name a few.
Deal designed the course to include changes that would make a significant impact but that don’t require highly technical skills.
Each of the seven chapters begins with an explanation about who benefits from the efforts explained in the chapter and provides case study personas about what their challenges consuming content might be. Exercises for each concept are also included.
“I wanted to bring a more human perspective to it,” she continues. “That is the hook for me personally because I am wanting to give dignity and respect and invitation to people and to include them. And, the amazing thing is that these changes are very small — they don’t cost thousands of dollars. It’s really nice to know that small, easy, attainable changes make a big difference.”
Deal is excited about where these LinkedIn Learning courses will go from here. While she does not have another course planned, she is open to exploring more topics and is considering some in-person workshops about inclusive content so others can learn. She even envisions a potential class on the subject in the future.
“I really see this as a tool for ways of opening up conversations with my students about their experiences and about barriers that they have had to accessing content and information that also for them to go into the field and to have an easy to apply list of guidelines,” she concludes. “After all, when you make things better — when you think about diverse audiences — everyone benefits.”
Deal’s Designing a Resume in InDesign course was released in December 2021 and includes basic resume guidelines, formatting instructions, discussions about color and information about printing the resume. As of late August 2002, it has received more than 4,000 views.
UGA students, faculty and staff have access to premium LinkedIn Learning through UGA’s membership.