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Public Relations

Purpose of Course  showclose

Effective public relations skills are essential to so much of the success in private and public spheres.  Public relations efforts address how we wish to present ourselves to others and how to deal with the perceptions of who others believe we are.  Public relations tactics are useful for large international corporate projects, or something as personal as networking for your own career advancement.

If you are taking this course as part of a communications major, you may well find most every other course in the program is based on addressing how we relate to others.  The field of public relations takes the theories of human interaction and applies these theories for real-life results.

This course will help prepare you to conduct public relations suitable for small start-up businesses, international companies, political campaigns, social programs, personal development, and other outreach projects.  There are many tools useful to effective public relations.  As we review the components of a public relations campaign, you will learn how to prepare the key materials that will help you get the job done.  You will examine what has worked for others, as you craft your own form and style.  You may develop your own public relations portfolio including news releases, pitch letters, biographies, position papers, crisis communications, and other tools of a strategic public relations kit.  You will accomplish this by referring to diverse resources and examining extensive materials from successful practitioners in the field.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to COMM411.  Below you will find some general information on this course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Steven R. Van Hook, PhD

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of different free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use of the following materials:
Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials.  You will also need to complete the discussion board posts for each unit as well as the Final Exam.

Please note that you will only receive an official grade on your Final Exam.  However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to keep detailed notes on the readings and resources throughout the course units.

In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the Final Exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 136.25 hours to complete, including participation in the discussion board posts and reflection of the resources.  Each unit includes a “time advisory” that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit.  It may be useful to take a look at these time advisories and determine how much time you have to complete each unit and to then set goals for yourself.  For example, Unit 1 should take 12.25 hours to complete.  Perhaps you can sit down with your calendar and decide to complete subunit 1.1 (a total of 5.25 hours) on Monday night; subunit 1.2 (a total of 2 hours) on Tuesday night; subunit 1.3 (a total of 5 hours) on Wednesday and Thursday nights; etc.

Tips/Suggestions: There are many resources noted throughout the course that may be useful as you advance in the field of public relations.  As you review the materials, be sure to bookmark links to resources, so you may refer back to them later in your career.  Please make sure to take comprehensive notes as you work through each resource.  These notes will serve as a useful review as you study for your Final Exam. 

Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Knowledgably discuss the origins, purpose, and methods of effective public relations.
  • Conduct related research and prepare a comprehensive public relations plan.
  • Craft a range of communications that serve target audiences in commercial and social campaigns.
  • Select suitable outlets and proper message format for media relations.
  • Apply ethical principles to effective public relations practice.
  • Develop messages using themes and images that connect with a multicultural audience in local and global campaigns.
  • Identify resources for professional networking and job opportunities in public relations.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course you must:

√    Have access to a computer.

√    Have continuous broadband Internet access.

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash).

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer.

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents.

√    Be competent in the English language.

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

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