Effective: Early Spring 8-Week 2018/2019

MKTG 332: Public Relations

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  Course Description

Policies, strategies and procedures available to an enterprise in establishing and controlling its communications with its many publics.

Prerequisite: MKTG 310

Proctored Exams: None



  • Seitel, F. The Practice of Public Relations. 12th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2014.  
    • ISBN-978-0-13-308357-6

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.

  Course Overview

Material in this course is presented from a historical, ethical, legal and organizational perspective. This will ensure that the student develops an understanding of the process of Public Relations. Upon successful completion of this course, the student should understand the role of public relations, how to communicate with an organization’s many publics, the ethical responsibilities of the public relations professional and the components of public relation material.

  Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

  Course Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe and apply the public relations process
  2. Describe the functions of public relations and the tactics involved in public relations activities.
  3. Identify and describe an organization’s key publics and target audiences.
  4. Explain legal and ethical frameworks in public relations.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of public relations as a part of marketing management functions within an organization.


Grading Scale

Grade Points Percent
A 531-590 90-100%
B 472-530 80-89%
C 413-471 70-79%
D 354-412 60-69%
F 0-353 0-59%

Grade Weights

Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions 160 27%
Dropbox Assignments 160 27%
Quizzes 170 29%
Final Exam 100 17%
Total 590 100%

  Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1

Assignment Points Due
Introductions 0 Wednesday
Discussion 1 10
Dropbox Assignment 1 20
Discussion 2 10 Sunday
Quiz 1 (Chapters 1, 2) 20

Week 2

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Wednesday
Dropbox Assignment 2 20
Discussion 4 10 Sunday
Quiz 2 (Chapters 3, 4 and 5) 30

Week 3

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Wednesday
Dropbox Assignment 3 20
Discussion 6 10 Sunday
Quiz 3 (Chapters 6, 7 and 8) 30

Week 4

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Wednesday
Dropbox Assignment 4 20
Discussion 8 10 Sunday
Quiz 4 (Chapters 9 and 10) 20

Week 5

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Wednesday
Dropbox Assignment 5 20
Discussion 10 10 Sunday
Quiz 5 (Chapters 11, 12 and 13) 30

Week 6

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Wednesday
Dropbox Assignment 6 20
Discussion 12 10 Sunday
Quiz 6 (Chapters 14 and 15) 20

Week 7

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Wednesday
Dropbox Assignment 7 20
Discussion 14 10 Sunday
Quiz 7 (Chapters 16 and 17) 20

Week 8

Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Wednesday
Dropbox Assignment 8 20
Discussion 16 10 Saturday
Final Exam 100
Total Points: 590

  Assignment Overview


Complete the weekly assigned readings before participating in Discussion or completing your Dropbox assignment so that you can bring your new knowledge to bear in the week’s assignments. It is also important to read the assignment prior to taking the weekly quiz. The quizzes are based on those assigned reading.


Participation in online discussions must take place within the week they are posted, and by the deadline posted. The first discussion posting each week is due by Wednesday, at midnight (CT) [this includes responding to other students] and the second is due by Sunday, at midnight (CT) [this includes responding to other students]. There is an EXCEPTION to this in Week 8; the final discussion is due by SATURDAY at midnight (CT). Late discussion responses receive no credit. Each student is expected to respond to discussions with an in-depth answer, and must respond to two other learners to receive full credit for each discussion.

You must post your own discussion response before you are given access to read and reply to other messages posted by classmates. This encourages original thought without influence from other existing messages. Students will be able to see the number of unread messages in the updates widget and on the main discussion page, but when you access the topic the following message appears: You must compose a message before you can view or reply to other messages in this topic. Any boxes opened and not completed (to get around the system) will receive an automatic deduction for that discussion board post grade. If you do have a system error contact me ASAP. Additionally, some threads do not use this feature as it is helpful for students to view others' posts.

Dropbox Assignments

Papers submitted to the Dropbox must be prepared in MS Word. This method preserves their formatting.

Many students like to use Wikipedia as a source for their papers. I will not accept this as a reference source due to the fact that Wikipedia can be edited at will by anyone viewing the site. Wikipedia doesn't claim that their articles are truthful, and the ISP used to post the article has explicit legal protection, since ISPs are not considered "publishers." Remember references used need to be valid and relevant for undergraduate and graduate level work.


Work submitted in a previous course, in whole or in part, will not be accepted, as this constitutes self-plagiarism.  Any student who submits previously used work will be reported to Columbia College Student Life and Academic Affairs administrators and a 0 will be given for the assignment.


Weekly quizzes correspond with the assigned chapter readings, they are given weekly and only available the week assigned. Weekly quizzes will be a combination of T/F and multiple-choice questions based on the weekly reading assignments. The number of questions in the quiz will vary weekly depending on how many chapters the student was assigned. Usually 10 questions per chapter, worth 1 point each.

Final Exam

This is a multiple-choice test that must be completed by Saturday of Week 8 at 11 p.m. (CT). The final exam covers the entire textbook; some questions will be repetitive from your weekly quizzes. No late exams will be accepted. I only have a short time to turn grades in!

  Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Chapters 1 and 2
Introductions and becoming familiar with our web based course. Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" discussion. Please give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interest in public relations, and any other information that can help us get to know you. Post by midnight (CT) Wednesday (no points).
Academic Honesty
During this course you will be required to write and submit weekly drop box assignments. In this topic we will discuss Academic Honesty and Plagiarism. There is a section in the syllabus that addresses Academic Honesty. In this discussion (in your own words) please explain what plagiarism is and feel free to defend what it is not! Post your response by midnight Sunday CT (no points).
Discussion 1
What are public relations and how does it differ from organizations marketing activities? This should be in your own words and not a one or two sentence quotation from the textbook. Tell us about your organization.  What does it do in terms of Public Relations activities?  Do you have a PR Department?  Provide some of those PR activities that are listed on the company web site if the company is smaller please share what activities they do (minus the web link). Post by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 1
Read the case study BP’s Loose Lips Sink Credibility Ship beginning on page 18 of your textbook. Then answer questions 1, 2 and 3. This should be two pages or more in length. Be sure to include any references (APA formatted) you found while researching your responses. Place your assignment in the Dropbox by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Discussion 2
In this week's discussion, we will discuss the history of public relations and the impact it has on the profession today. Read the case study at the end of chapter two (pg. 42 -46) "The Tylenol Murders" and answer questions; 1 – 7 following the case study. Post your in-depth responses in the appropriate by midnight (CT) Sunday.
Quiz 1 (Chapters 1, 2)
During week 1 click on the “Quizzes” section of the toolbar and take the quiz entitled Quiz 1. Weekly quizzes will be a combination of T/F and multiple-choice questions based on the weekly reading assignments. The number of questions in the quiz will vary weekly depending on how many chapters the student was assigned. The quiz is timed and due before midnight (CT) on the Sunday, ending the week.
Chapters 3, 4 and 5
Discussion 3
This week we examine the communication process, a key concept in the public relations industry. After reading chapter 3, pick a company that you are familiar with (it helps the discussions if others are also familiar with your chosen company). Discuss this organization in terms of their communication process. Talk about their goals of communication, the message(s) they are sending, how they understand the impact of stereotypes, symbols, and semantics in their message. Which media sources do they use and finally discuss how they obtain feedback from the public. You need to provide an in-depth response, and be sure to cite the references you used in your research of this organization. Post your responses by midnight (CT) on Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 2
Chapter 5 discusses the management function of Public Relations and the importance of creating a public relations plan. For this assignment you need to research a company that you are familiar with (you cannot use one that you have previously used this session). Create an outline of the Public Relations Plan. Review the information provided in the week 2 content section then follow the Activating the Public Relations Campaign beginning on page 88 of your textbook. This is not just an overview, but must be specific with research, goals (including measurable objectives), specific target audience (or several target audiences), an action plan, and an evaluation section indicating how success or failure of the plan will be determined. This assignment is due by midnight (CT) on Wednesday.
Discussion 4
Read the Case Study, The Rise and Fall and Rise of Queen Martha, beginning on page 78 of your textbook. Then discuss questions 1, 2, 3, and 5. Provide significant and detailed analysis of each of the questions, and provide reference support of your information. Post your responses by midnight CT on Sunday.
Quiz 2 (Chapters 3, 4 and 5)
Enter the Quizzes section of the course and take Quiz 2. This is due by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Chapters 6, 7 and 8
Discussion 5
Begin the discussion by defining ethics. Discuss both business ethics and societal and/or personal ethics. Then research a company with strong ethical values including stated commitment and actions to being socially responsible. Some would consider this organization to be a “fairy tale” company (Non-profits don’t count for this assignment). Research that organization then discuss the organization that you have selected in terms of: 1). Effectiveness – provide examples that the company is meeting goals of being socially responsible, 2). Solid ethical practices – all units of the organizations are ethical not just one unit  “show-cased” on the company web site, 3). The company is a leader in their ethical endeavors. Be sure to provide solid reference support for your organization and detailed evidence of their ethical and socially responsible behaviors. Post your responses by midnight (CT) on Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 3
Read the case study Researching a Position for Alan Louis General at the end of chapter 8.  Provide an in-depth response to the five questions following the case. Use material from the chapter readings and additional reference support for your responses. In other words fully explain what your communication strategy for this hospital would be and why you choose to implement your specific plans (support it). This is due by midnight (CT) on Wednesday.
Discussion 6
Read the PR Ethics Mini-Case on page 135, Fall from Grace, which discusses TV personality Nancy Grace. Then respond to the two questions following the case. Support your views. Post your responses by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Quiz 3 (Chapters 6, 7 and 8)
Enter the Quizzes section of the course and take Quiz 3. This is due by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Chapters 9 and 10
Discussion 7
Chapter 9 of your reading focuses on the various publics within Public Relations. After reading the chapter, research a product, service or company that would benefit from publicity. This should be original research for you and include a product, service or company that you have not previously discussed in this class. In terms of publicity explain what you would do to bring publicity to the product, service or company. This should be an in-depth response that addresses the need for the publicity boost, who you will pitch the idea to if you were trying to move it forward, and what resources (media outlets, social media, blog spots, etc.) would be necessary. Also, indicate what you believe the outcome of your publicity would do for the company (i.e. crisis response, repair a damaged reputation, educate the public, etc.) Post your response in the appropriate discussion by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 4
Read the case study on page 195, They’re Heeere! Provide an in-depth response to the 6 questions following the case. Provide reference support of your work. This is due by midnight (CT) on Wednesday.
Discussion 8
Read the case study beginning on page 222, Ronald McDonald’s Brush with Antisocial Media.  Then discuss the three questions that follow the case. Post your responses by midnight (CT) Sunday.
Quiz 4 (Chapters 9 and 10)
Enter the Quizzes section of the course and take Quiz 4. This is due by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Chapters 11, 12 and 13
Discussion 9
Discuss the key elements of an employee communication strategy. Next, discuss your employer and their communication strategy. Compare/Contrast the textbook information to what you see in practice. Remember the focus of this discussion is on employees and not the organizations external publics. Post your response by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 5
Read the case study (pg 290), The Silence of the Lions. Then provide an in-depth response to the questions following the case. Post your assignment by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Discussion 10
Read the Case Study at the end of Chapter 12 (pg 269), Anthony Weiner Text His “Anthony”. Discuss and debate questions 1 and 2. Post your response by midnight (CT) Sunday.
Quiz 5 (Chapters 11, 12 and 13)
Enter the Quizzes section of the course and take Quiz 5. This is due by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Chapters 14 and 15
Discussion 11
What evidence can you point to that indicates the increased stature of public relations practice around the world? Look beyond your textbook, give examples, and provide references to support your information. Post your response by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 6
Why is dealing with consumers so important for public relations? What constitutes a quality consumer-oriented company? Support your views and provide links to two organizations that you believe are quality consumer-oriented. Compare and contrast the criteria that you have identified as a “quality consumer-oriented company” to your selected organization’s identifying their greatest attributes. Papers are due in the Dropbox by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Discussion 12
Select a “timely” topic (personnel promotion, public speaker, etc.) and write a news release. Let your audience (fellow students) know which media you would submit the release to (newspaper, television, social media, etc.) For discussion purposes you also need to critique two other student’s news release providing formulative feedback and positive suggestions. Post your responses by midnight (CT) Sunday.
Quiz 6 (Chapters 14 and 15)
Enter the Quizzes section of the course and take Quiz 6. This is due by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Chapters 16 and 17
Discussion 13
Read the case study (pg 344), Resurrecting Brand Vick. Provide an in-depth response to questions 1-5 following the case. Use research to support your in-depth responses. Post your work by midnight (CT) on Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 7
Describe the pros and cons of using a well-known individual as a spokesperson. Use “real world” celebrity spokesperson (PR endorsements) to support your views. Place this assignment in the Dropbox by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Discussion 14
Read the case study (pg 360), Carnival Crisis Cruise. Provide an in-depth response to questions 1-4 following the case. Post your work by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Quiz 7 (Chapters 16 and 17)
Enter the Quizzes section of the course and take Quiz 7. This is due by midnight (CT) on Sunday.
Chapter 18
Discussion 15
The Internet is here to stay. It has changed the dynamics of the Public Relations mission in addressing its many publics. Discuss several elements of the Internet and how they impact the work of a PR Professional. Post your response by midnight (CT) on Wednesday.
Dropbox Assignment 8
Search the Internet for a job in Public Relations which you would have an interest in applying to. Write a cover letter in application of the job. Post the job description and a copy of your cover letter in the drop box by midnight (CT) Wednesday.
Discussion 16
After reading chapter 18, discuss Public Relations as a career. What skills will be most important for employment? What recommendations/advice would you provide to a person interested in a career in Public Relations? Post your response by midnight (CT) on SATURDAY.
Final Exam
The Final Exam will be available to you on Monday; click on the Quizzes located on the toolbar. This is a multiple-choice test, and it must be completed by Saturday at 11 p.m. (CT). The final exam covers the entire textbook; some questions will be repetitive from your weekly quizzes. No late exams will be accepted.

  Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.


Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.


There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

All late Dropbox assignments are worth only 50% of the original potential points possible. (You have only one week to submit late (Dropbox) work; after one week the assignment is worth zero points.) Quizzes are only accepted the week assigned. You will only have access to the quiz for the week it is assigned. The final exam will not be accepted late. No assignments are accepted after the course has closed.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

  Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.