Introduction to Public Relations

I.     Course Prefix/Number: MKT 240

       Course Name: Introduction to Public Relations

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces principles of public relations.  Content includes practices, theories, ethics, issues, and problems, as well as integration of practical applications.

IV.   Learning Objectives

On successful completion, students will be able to:

  1. Define terminology and explain concepts regarding the historical context and origins of public relations;
  2. Demonstrate a knowledge of the organizational settings, decision-making roles and relationships of public relations in private, government, corporate, and not-for-profit organizations;
  3. Identify professional growth opportunities and codes of ethics in public relations adopted by  organizations such as the Public Relations Society of America and the International Association of Business Communicators;
  4. Apply the knowledge of First Amendment considerations regarding commercial speech, libel laws, and access to government information;
  5. Analyze several models of communication theory in regard to consensus, channels open and closed systems, and information dissemination;
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of various processes to develop public relations campaign strategies using electronic, spoken and printed media;
  7. Analyze and/or develop communication plans through portfolios, documented case studies and other written and/0r electronic research projects and tests; and
  8. Identify concepts and processes involved in issue analysis and issue management.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Introduction:  What is Public Relations?
Brief History
Philosophy and Ethics of Public Relations
The Practice of PR:   Where is PR Practiced?
Overview of PR Tools and Techniques
Differences of Traditional and New Media
How to Write for the Media
Using Appropriate AP/UPI Style
Defining Your Publics and Researching Your Subject
Creating an Issue Statement and Message Strategy
Developing a Traditional Press Release, Fact Sheet, and Press Kit
Developing an Online release, Blog, Online Media Room and E-newsletter
Working with the Media: Media Relations, Blogger Relations, Consumer Relations
Creating a PR Communications Plan
Press Conferences & Crisis Communications
Entering the PR field

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, samples, case studies, in class activities, team assignments.
Participation in outside PR events may be required.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Reading Text and outside materials
Writing, extensive writing will be required  
Oral presentations
Computer use / Internet
Case Studies / Critical Analysis

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

The New Rules of Marketing & PR. David Meerman Scott,
Putting the Public Back in Public Relations: How Social Media Is Reinventing the Aging Business of PR. Brian Solis and Deirdre Breakenridge,
Public Relations Writing. Thomas Bivins. McGraw Hill,
UPI Stylebook: A handbook for Writers, Editors and News Directors

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

10% Class participation/quiz
20% Exams
20% Case study written analysis
20% Public Relations writing assignment
30% Media Communications Plan

XI.   Other Course Information

Use of Computers and Information Technology:
When you apply at Oakton as a credit student, you are automatically assigned a computer network account and email address.  While you are registered for classes and any financial obligations to the College are fulfilled, you may use this account to log into workstations in any of the open or classroom computer labs.  Your account gives you access to the wide variety of application programs available on Oakton's Network and on-campus access to the Internet. 

Rules for computer use are posted in computer labs as well as available in writing in each of the labs. Lab assistants and tutors are available to assist you in the lab regarding software and hardware questions.

Users of the College’s information technology facilities and resources, including hardware, software, networks, and computer accounts, are expected to use computer resources responsibly and appropriately, respecting the rights of other information technology users and respecting all contractual and license agreements.

Under no circumstances is any of the software used at Oakton to be copied. Copying software is in violation of Federal law and College policies. Suspected violations will be vigorously investigated and, if warranted, appropriate penalties applied. Specifically, you do not have the right (1) to make copies of software for yourself or others, (2) to receive and use unauthorized copies of software, or (3) copy all or parts of a program written by someone else.

College Policy on the Observance of Religious Holidays:
Oakton Community College recognizes the broad diversity of religious beliefs of its constituencies. The College has embraced a practice of shared responsibility in the event a religious observance interferes with class work or assignments. Students who inform instructors well in advance of an intended absence for a major religious observance will not be penalized. The instructor will make reasonable accommodations for students, which may include providing a make up test, altering assignment dates, permitting a student to attend another section of the same course for a class period or similar remedies. Instructors are not responsible for teaching material again.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.