“The constant evolution of technology, the ever-changing interface, and the emergence of new trends—It’s exhilarating and chaotic, and I love it!” - Raquel Richards, SCS Learner
Raquel Richards’ decision to join the U of T School of Continuing Studies community was sparked by a lifelong dream to attend courses at a university and inspired by her late great grandmother’s values of education, knowledge, and success. Little did she know that registering for the SCS Foundations of Digital Communications Strategy & Social Media course, would set her on an exciting new career path in the field of AI.
The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic also pushed Richards to re-examine her life and work goals. “The pandemic's impact on our ability to embrace life's experiences became apparent, compelling me to confront the need to pursue my passions and carve out a life that resonated with my authentic self and aspirations,” she explains.
“At the same time, I took a deep dive into the adverse effects of my existing job and made the pivotal choice to depart from my 10-year position at the LCBO.”
Richards knew she was interested in digital content creation, and so she launched her business “Wrong Door Creative,” dedicated to just that. At the same time, began working towards her certificate in Multimedia Storytelling and Content Marketing at SCS.
A moment of concern arose for Richards early in the Foundations of Digital Communications Strategy and Social Media course when she realized it included a PR component. “Around a quarter of the way through, I realized the curriculum has a large public relations component— a domain I was seeking to move away from,” she says.
However, she soon discovered that the AI element of this course would be a crucial step on her career journey.
Now, in addition to her work as a content creator and multimedia storyteller, Richards works as an AI prompt writer, currently on assignment for Meta, through IT services and talent company, TEKsystems. She works on the composition, evaluation, and analysis of prompts that fuel an AI chatbot's interactions and responses.
Richards says she enjoys putting her affinity for words, creativity, and the realm of artificial intelligence to work in this new position.
“What brings me joy is the rapid pace and dynamic nature of the field,” she adds.
“The constant evolution of technology, the ever-changing interface, and the emergence of new trends—It’s exhilarating and chaotic, and I love it!”
The knowledge gained from the Foundations of Digital Communications Strategy and Social Media course was instrumental to Richards finding herself working in the world of AI.
“This initial exposure served as a catalyst for further exploration on my part. I delved into self-guided learning on additional programs and platforms,” she explains.
“This course acted as a springboard, providing me with essential insights and initiating my journey into AI.”
Richards also particularly credits instructor Alison Garwood-Jones with supporting her along her learning and career path. “Her teaching approach, rooted in genuine passion for the subject matter and extensive experience in the digital communications field, made a substantial impact on me,” Richards says.
“One of the standout aspects of Alison's instruction was her ability to foster a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. I felt at ease participating in class discussions, offering insights, comments, and suggestions. This comfort was invaluable in facilitating an open exchange of ideas and knowledge. Moreover, her responsiveness to student questions further enhanced my learning experience, ensuring that concepts were understood.”
In addition to finding herself on an exciting new career path, Richards says the best thing about taking the Foundations of Digital Communications Strategy and Social Media course was the constant anticipation of wondering what she would learn next. She believes the course could be helpful for anyone seeking to enhance their skill set in business and marketing management within the realm of social media, as well as for PR professionals wishing to keep their skills up-to-date or for anyone looking to develop a foundational understanding of the world of generative AI.
She also offers some advice for anyone looking to take this course or any of the courses in the Multimedia Storytelling and Content Marketing certificate: “Allocate dedicated time for the course throughout the semester. The course demands consistent effort and engagement. Set aside the time slots for the webinars, reading course materials, and working on assignments. Attend class (live webinars if taken online), they offer real-time interaction. If you miss one watch the recording ASAP so you don’t fall behind. Actively participate in discussions, both in class and online, and don't hesitate to ask questions. It’s how you learn!”