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COMM 4323 - Case Studies in Public Relations: Syllabus

Syllabus

The University of Texas at El Paso
University Connect
Department of Communication
COMM 4323: Case Studies in Public Relations
CRN: 35158


MATERIALS AND BIBLIOGRAPHY


Required Materials:
All resources required for this course are available as a Library Guide through UTEPs Library.
Please check the course’s blackboard page to access the readings.


INSTRUCTOR INFORMATION:

Instructor: MBA/MA Eli Garcia Email: egarcia11@utep.edu 
Office: COTTON 205 Phone: (915) 747- 5310
Office hours: by appointment


COURSE CONTENT


Course Description:
This course studies the role of public relations in organizational problem solving practices. Through the analysis of real–life cases you will study how the functions of public relations help manage and reconcile the conflicts/challenges that arise between an organization and its diverse stakeholders.


Course Learning Objectives:
• Examine the role of public relations in organizational problem solving practices
• Identify the roles of communication strategies in organizational public relations plan
• Analyze real-life case studies
• Compare and contrast different organizational public relations situations


Technology Requirements
This course is presented in the Blackboard learning management system.
To ensure your success in accessing your course materials and completing your assignments, it is recommended that you ensure your computer setup for this class meets the following minimum requirements:
1. Broadband Internet connection, such as cable or DSL
2. A modern computer (PC or Mac), no more than four years old, with the following
minimum configuration:

  • Processor: Dual-core or better, at least 2 GHZ
  • RAM: 2 GB or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7 or 8, or Mac OS X 10.6.8 or better
  • A computer headset is recommended (microphone and earphone set).
  • The hands-free option for your telephone will work in most cases.

Tech Support:
The University of Texas at El Paso offers complete technical information and online help desk support at http://at.utep.edu/techsupport/.


ASSIGNMENTS

 

  • 8 Weekly Discussions (Post and Replies)
  • 3 Case Study Written Reports
  • 1 Reflection Paper

Weekly Discussions (8 @ 50 points each, due weekly):

Every week we will discuss a series of different topics related to the course’s material. This is a great opportunity to share your perspectives on the PR strategies applied in each of the case studies that we will analyze through our course. You will be asked to post an initial response to the week’s discussion question/s and then post 2 replies to classmates. As always, the golden rule of public relation applies: all postings should be professional, respectful and relevant to the focus of the discussion.
Your postings and replies will be graded based on the following rubric:

 

Excellent – 40 Points

Good – 32 Points

Acceptable – 24 Points

Unsatisfactory – 16 points or less

Initial Response

Initial reply was posted on time, meets the length requirement, and directly answers the discussion question(s). Excellent replies often include quotes from reading material.

Initial reply was posted on time, meets the length requirement, and answers the discussion question(s).

Initial reply was posted late or does not meet the length requirement. However, the post still directly answers the discussion question(s).

The initial reply is missing or does not answer the discussion question(s).

 

Excellent – 5 Points

Good – 4 Points

Acceptable – 3 Points

Unsatisfactory – 2 points or less

Peer Response 1

First peer reply was posted on time and contributes meaningfully to the discussion by introducing new perspectives.

First peer reply contributes meaningfully to the discussion.

First peer reply was late but still contributes to the discussion.

First peer reply is missing or only states “I agree” or “I disagree” without advancing

 

Excellent – 5 Points

Good – 4 Points

Acceptable – 3 Points

Unsatisfactory – 2 points or less

Peer Response 2

Second peer reply was posted on time and contributes meaningfully to the discussion by introducing new perspectives.

Second peer reply contributes meaningfully to the discussion.

Second peer reply was late but still contributes to the discussion.

Second peer reply is missing or only states “I agree” or “I disagree” without advancing the discussion in any way.

 

Case Study Written Reports (3@ 150 points each, due week 2,4,6):


You will also have the opportunity to analyze, critique and report on 3 real-life public relations case studies. Case studies will be available through the Library Guide (from the UTEP Library) on your blackboard page.

Please follow the instructions and rubric mentioned below:

  • Your individual written reports should be around 5 -7 pages.
  • They should demonstrate an in-depth written analysis-critique of the assigned case.
  • Make sure you answer the required questions in paragraph format.
  • Please follow APA style and provide a reference page.

PR Case Study Rubric Written Assignment

150 Total Possible Points

Introduction

  • Provide an overview of the PR concepts that will be discussed in your document.
  • Provide a Justification on why your document is relevant to PR practitioners,
  • Describe what specific organizational communication knowledge a PR practitioner will obtain from your document.

 

10 Points

Case Background

Give a short summary of the situation ( cited in APA style)

Identify key players in the case study (organizations, executives, media outlets, etc.)

10 points

Problem/Opportunity

  • Explain Problem and/or Opportunity that the case presents for all key players mentioned in the previous section..

 

20 points

Case Analysis (Answers to Case Questions)

50 points

Critique

  • Provide an overall critique on how the organization reacted to this case
  • Describe PR successes and failures

 

30 points

Best Practices conclusion

What did you learn from this case?

From a Best Practices approach, what would be your 4 Best Practice recommendations for public relations professionals?

30 points

Reflection Paper 1@150 points (due week 7):
You will write a final reflection paper. The purpose of this assignment is to take a moment and analyze how the topics/concepts discussed throughout our course can help you become a more competitive professional in the field of PR.

Please follow the instructions and rubric mentioned below:

  • Based on all of your readings in this course, reflect on the diverse PR concepts
  • presented in the course by writing a 3-5 page reflection paper.

Reflect and include the following:

  • Describe which case study you enjoyed the most. Provide an explanation, including an overview of the case study and the details you found particularly insightful.
  • Describe how the material covered in this course might help you become a more competitive professional/PR communicator
  • Provide three specific examples directly related to how you can apply the PR knowledge learned in class to your chosen professional/academic life

Your paper should include:

  • An introduction
  • Proper transitions between sections (include section titles)
  • Strong conclusion/closing statement.
  • Use proper citations where applicable.

Detail

Format

Points

Describe which case study you enjoyed the most and explain why.

Minimum of three pages in length (excluding cover and reference pages).

30

Describe how the material covered in our course can help you become a more competitive professional communicator/PR professional.

Introduction, Sections, and Conclusion.

30

Provide three specific examples directly related to how you can apply the PR knowledge learned in class to your chosen professional/academic life.

Proper citations, as applicable.

90

 

Total

150

GRADING
This course is ambitious and requires your active participation. Students can earn up to 1000 points. Grades will be based on the following scale:
A= 1000-900 points
B= 899-800 points
C= 799-700 points
D= 600-699 points
F= 599 points and below

Grade Breakdown:

Discussions (8 @ 50 points ) = 400 points

Case Studies (3 @ 150 points) = 450 points

Reflection Paper = 150 points

 

Total Points = 1000 points

COURSE CALENDAR
The instructor reserves the right to make necessary changes in the schedule/calendar/assignments depending on the needs of the class.

Week

Assignments

Due

Points

 

Week 1

 

 

Discussion 1: Introductions

Initial Post: Wednesday May 17th, 11:00 PM MST

Reply: Saturday May 20th, 11:00 PM MST

 

50

 

Week 1

 

Discussion 2: Key Concepts of Public Relations

Initial Discussion Post: Thursday May 18th, 11:00 PM MST

Replies: Sunday May 21th , 11:00 PM MST

 

 

50

 

Week 2

 

Discussion: Domino's

Initial Discussion Post: Wednesday May 24th, 11:00 PM MST

Replies: Sunday May 28th, 11:00 PM MST

 

 

50

 

Week 2

 

Assignment Case Study Domino's

Assignment Submission: Sunday May 28th, 11:00 PM MST

 

150

 

 

Week 3

Discussion: Chipotle

Initial Discussion Post: Wednesday May 31st 11:00 PM MTS

Replies: Sunday June 4th 11:00 PM MTS

 

 

50

 

 

Week 4

 

Discussion: Zombies Gone Viral

Initial Discussion Post: Wednesday June 7th 11:00 PM MST

Replies: Sunday June11th 11:00 PM MST

 

 

50

 

Week 4

 

 

Assignment Case Study: Zombies Gone Viral

Assignment Submission: Sunday June11th 11:00 PM MST

 

 

150

 

Week 5

 

Discussion: Orlando Magic

Initial Discussion Post: Wednesday June14th 11:00 PM MST

Replies: Sunday June 18th 11:00 PM MST

 

 

50

 

 

Week 6

 

Discussion: British Petroleum

Initial Discussion Post: Wednesday June 21th 11:00 PM MST

Replies: Sunday June 25th 11:00 PM MST

 

 

50

 

Week 6

 

Assignment Case Study: BP's Oil Spill

Assignment Submission: Sunday June 25th MST

 

150

 

 

Week 7

 

 

Discussion: The Titanic

Initial Discussion Post : Wednesday June 28th 11:00 PM MST

Replies: Sunday July 2nd 11:00 PM MST

 

 

50

 

Week 7

 

Assignment: Reflection Paper

Reflection Paper Submission: Sunday July 2nd MST by 11:00 PM MST

 

150

 

What to Expect from the Instructor
The best way to communicate with your instructor is via email. Always include in the subject of your email “Online COMM 4323” When sending an email and your name. All emails will be answered within 48 hrs. Graded assignments will be posted a week after the submission date.

Participation
Your active participation extremely important! There will be an opportunity to discuss and interact with classmates through discussion questions and assignments, which will be graded. Please refer to the “Assignments and Grading” sections for discussion questions and assignments’ points and value.

Academic Dishonesty Statement

Academic dishonesty is prohibited and is considered a violation of the UTEP Handbook of Operating Procedures. It includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarism, and collusion.

  • Cheating may involve copying from or providing information to another student, possessing unauthorized materials during a test, or falsifying research data on laboratory reports.
  • Plagiarism occurs when someone intentionally or knowingly represents another person’s words or ideas as his or her own.
  • Collusion involves unauthorized collaboration with another person or group to commit any academically dishonest act.

Any act of academic dishonesty attempted by a UTEP student is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Violations will be taken seriously and will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution for possible disciplinary action. Students may be suspended or expelled from UTEP for such actions. You can find more information in the UTEP Handbook of Operating Procedures, under the heading “Alleged Student Scholastic Dishonesty,” and in the Regents’ Rules and Regulations.

Late Policy
Deadlines for all quizzes, discussion questions and written assignments will be strictly enforced. No quizzes, discussion questions or written assignments will be accepted after deadline. Missing a deadline is equivalent of not doing the assignment. PR professionals must meet strict deadlines. Students are expected to do the same.


Library Information

Access the UTEP Library by visiting http://libraryweb.utep.edu/.

Disability Statement

If you have a disability and need classroom accommodations, please contact The Center for Accommodations and Support Services (CASS) at 747-5148, or by email at cass@utep.edu, or visit the office located in UTEP Union East, Room 106. For additional information, please visit the CASS website at www.sa.utep.edu/cass. Have a great learning experience!

Responsible, Ethical and Effective Electronic Communication

It is important to share a word of caution so we can become wiser about interpersonal distance learning communications. In an online environment, many of the feelings or impressions that are transmitted via body language in face-to-face communications are lost. Consequently, interpreting emotions and innuendos can be difficult. Only what is written, or drawn, carries the message. Often, excitement can be misinterpreted as anger or insult. We all need to keep this in mind as we communicate. Words in print may seem harmless, but they can injure us emotionally when working at a distance. Hence, we must be conscious of how we communicate while working at a distance and use good netiquette, that is, online communication etiquette. For example, your classmates may not know who is posting a comment, so clearly identify yourself when posting to a discussion board. Furthermore, avoid using all capital letters in electronic communication, as all caps come across as shouting. The standard netiquette for participation in networked discussion requires that all comments focus on the topic at hand, without becoming personalized, and be substantive in nature. In other words, you certainly may disagree with others, but you must do so respectfully. You may express strong beliefs or emotions, but you may not get so carried away that you lose all perspective on the course itself. You can find more information on netiquette, the etiquette of Internet communication, at www.albion.com/netiquette.

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