JOUR 3400
Introduction to Public Relations
3 credit hours

Course Information

Course Description:

 Introduction to Public Relations is a survey of the public relations discipline including the professional foundation of ethics, law, and theory as well as the process, audiences, and professional practice areas.  As a student in this course you can expect to learn this foundation allowing  you to move on through more advanced professional practice courses in public relations; however, with this foundation you should have good understanding of the discipline, why it is important, and how to do basic public relations functions.

Course Objectives:

This is a survey course.  We will take a broad look at public relations: its theory, the profession, its procedures and practice.  Students should be able at the end of the course to do the following: 

  1. Define public relations.
  2. Distinguish public relations from other management functions.
  3. Explain how public relations evolved in the United States.
  4. Describe the activities of public relations--what PR people do.
  5. Identify an organization's key publics or target audiences.
  6. Describe and apply the public relations process.
  7. Describe the various contexts for public relations
  8. Solve public relations problems within an ethical and legal framework.

Prerequisites :


Course Topics:

  The course is divided into four parts: the profession, the process, the publics and the practice. 


Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware, and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course:
 You will be required to purchase all text books for this class before the first day of class to ensure you have the material you need to complete the first weeks work.

Supplementary Materials:

CD-ROM with course materials and other information is provided with the text book.

Hardware Requirements:

See TBR Online Degree Programs Minimum Hardware and Software Requirements.

Software Requirements:

Browser: Microsoft Word or equivalent,  to provide .doc extension papers, you must be running Internet Explorer 5 or higher. To determine what browser version you have, select from the browser menu Help > About. To download the file, click on your computers platform system: PC or Mac. The download may take an hour or more, so plan to do it at a convenient time. 

You will need to have or download Adobe Acrobat Reader 5 or higher, Flashcard and PowerPoint software, all are free. Instructions for any required downloads will be posted in your syllabus or as a main bulletin board posting within your class.

Assessment and Grading

Testing Procedures:

Will be given each week, they are timed multiple choice and true and false formatted quizzes.  Individual assignment papers and group project papers finish the requirements.

Grading Procedure:

ONLINE SUCCESS: Your success in this online course will depend on your willingness to read the textual material, successfully complete quizzes, and complete written assignments as scheduled. Success in taking quizzes and handling written assignments can be enhanced by studying the case problems at the end of the several chapters as well as chapter content. [Note: Written assignments will be graded on the basis of grammar, spelling and punctuation as well as content.]

Grading Scale:

A = 90%.............
B = 80%..............
C = 70%..............
D = 60%..............
F = Below 60%.....

Assignments and Participation


The class is a 15 week semester, as a general rule readings for each week will provide the student with a schedule to meet requirements. The calendar provided is to be used to determine the due dates for work other than assignments and quizzes, in these cases the items note a scheduled due date. Failure to acquire the text book(s) is not an excuse for not completing the first week's work load.


There will be written assignments to be accomplished individually, along with  group discussion questions, projects to work on in groups during the semester. There will be one grade for group work.

Class Participation:

You will be expected to participate in all interactive aspects of the course. For example, you will be assigned to groups at various points in the course to discuss public relations case problems and or issues.

You are also expected to communicate with the instructor as a learning resource.

Students must check the course bulletin board frequently for announcements and must actively participate in threaded discussion events.


The course is divided into weeks to help manage your progress through the course material. You need to meet deadlines or due dates of projects, discussions, assignments, quizzes and all aspects of the course. Late work is not accepted.  

Course Ground Rules

Basic Rules

Online participation is required.  You will be expected to...


  • submit assignments in WebCT (place your name on each assignment)
  • communicate with other students in team projects
  • learn how to navigate in WebCT.
  • keep abreast of course announcements
  • use the assigned  e-mail address in WebCT (as opposed a personal e-mail address) 

Be sure to address technical problems immediately and observe course netiquette at all times. 

Guidelines for Communications


  1. Always include a subject line.
  2. Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. We will address a protocol for this at the beginning of the course.
  3. Use standard fonts.
  4. Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  5. Respect the privacy of other class members.

Discussion Groups:

  1. Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  2. Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  3. Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other's ideas.
  4. Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  5. Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  6. Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  7. Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


  1. Introduce yourself to the other learners in the chat session.
  2. Be polite. Choose your words carefully. Do not use derogatory statements.
  3. Be concise in responding to others in the chat session.
  4. Be prepared to open the chat session at the scheduled time.
  5. Be constructive in your comments and suggestions.
  6. There is one chat room set up for office hours, so that you can discuss issues with the professor.
Library Services

U of M Virtual Library:


TBR Virtual Library:

The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in the Regents Degree Program. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading must be included in all courses.

Technical Support

TBR Regents Online Degree Programs Help :

Web Site:
AskRODP Telephone Help Desk: 1-866-550-7637 (toll free)

Student tech support:

General IT Help Desk:

An off-campus general IT help desk is available at (operated by CNET, a trusted name in IT resources).

Students With Disabilities

The Tennessee Board of Regents is committed to serving all students, including students with disabilities, and adheres to the guidelines set forth in Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  If you have a disability and need special circumstances, please contact your home institution's counseling office. Be sure to let the instructor know of any special needs you have to fully access course materials.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes in the syllabus if necessary due to time constraints or other unforeseen events.   If this is necessary, members of the class will be notified as soon as possible BY E-MAIL and posted on the Announcements Page.

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