Visual Communications for Social Media

    EXSM 3993 is offered this summer:

Under­stand why and how deci­sions are made around visu­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions and acquire the tools you’ll need to adapt to the ever-chang­ing land­scape of social media. Learn basic design prin­ci­ples that will inform your deci­sions and help you cre­ate an effec­tive and visu­al­ly-pleas­ing online pres­ence. Explore ways of using these prin­ci­ples to empha­size the mes­sage that is being delivered.

Course at a glance
  • Fully online asynchronous course, accessible through eClass, the University of Alberta’s eLearning management tool.
  • Aimed at those who want to better reach and communicate with their target audiences while understanding and building social media skills, including small business owners and those working in government, small to large enterprises, not-for-profits, and board-run organizations.
What you will learn

By the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Define design terminology and concepts.
  • Explore the relationships between legibility, typography, and page layout.
  • Demonstrate and apply knowledge of the design process and key principles of design.
  • Acquire skills in how to size and frame images.
  • Apply an understanding of the importance that composition plays in visual communication.
  • Apply knowledge of colour theory to branding.


Aug 10, 2021Sep 20, 2021
Asyn­chro­nous online learning, eClass

21 hours of instruction

In asynchronous online courses, students are expected to move through the course material at the same pace as their peers, but there are no real-time virtual classroom sessions to attend. All components of this type of course are accessible through eClass, the University of Alberta’s eLearning management tool. for­mat details

Your Instructor

N Kathleen Van DusenID: n-kathleen-van-dusen

With 20 years of experience, is an award-winning public relations, marketing, and communications professional, as well as a post-secondary instructor. Kathleen has helped many organizations with multiple stakeholders "join the conversation" strategically, including the Art Gallery of Alberta, Alberta Catholic Social Services, EPCOR, Government of Alberta, and the University of Alberta. Her successes include co-authoring the Government of Alberta’s social media policy and growing EPCOR’s social presence from nearly non-existent to an Alberta utility industry leader in less than two years. Kathleen has a Master's Degree in Communications and Technology in which she examined making websites more accessible to audiences whose first language is not English.

Class info
  • This is an asyn­chro­nous learn­ing course. To start your online learn­ing expe­ri­ence at the Fac­ul­ty of Exten­sion, vis­it https://​ext​-leo​.ca/​s​t​u​d​e​n​t​s​/​e​c​l​a​s​s​-​e​s​s​e​n​t​ials/
  • 21 course hours in total
  • Cost assistance: May be eli­gi­ble for the Cana­da-Alber­ta Job Grant and the Canada Training Benefit. (view all)
    Cor­po­rate mul­ti-reg­is­tra­tion pack­ages (groups of 4 or more) are avail­able for most Exten­sion cours­es. Con­tact us at for pre­ferred pricing.
  • Open for registration until August 10, 2021. Register at least one week before the course start date to secure your spot. If space is available you may register until the day the course starts.
This course has no prerequisites

Students from all educational backgrounds welcome. You can register for this course without applying and enrolling in a program.

Take note:

  • This course has the equivalent of three hours of online instruction per week (including voice over PowerPoints, readings, and resource links), plus weekly assignments.
  • Students are encouraged to build relationships and network with their classmates through forums and discussions.
  • While there are no prerequisites for this course, a good understanding of Social Media basics or prior completion of Social Media Foundations (EXSM 5510) is recommended for student success.
  • You will be expected to have existing social media accounts or to create them before the course start date.
  • This course makes use of free or freemium app- or browser-based software.
  • You should have a smartphone or tablet with a good digital camera to work throughout this course. Some examples are Google Pixel 3 and up; iPhone 8S and up; Huawei Pro, Mate, or Mate lite; and Samsung Galaxy. Also make sure that your phone or tablet is running the current version of its operating system.
  • A laptop or computer with 8GB of RAM (“memory” on a Mac) is recommended. You’ll be able to manage with 4GB, but you may find that things slow down if you’re working in browser-based software for a longer time.
  • Have a sketchbook or sketch pad (8 ½” x 11” or 9” x 12”) available to work on ideas or concepts.
Currently counts towards

We recommend that you apply to the program as soon as possible to lock in your course requirements as they are subject to change.

*If you are already enroled in this program, please refer to your specific program requirements as outlined at the time of your admission: Bear Tracks > Academic Advisement.

You can register for and take a course without applying and enrolling into the program.

Looking for
different course dates?

New course schedules are released each June and November.

EXSM 3993 is offered this summer: