Skip to main content
USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

PRL5000 Change Communication

Semester 1, 2017 Online
Short Description: Change Communication
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Arts and Communication
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 080509 - Public Relations
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Barbara Ryan

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


The relationship that organisations establish and maintain with their stakeholders and publics has a profound effect on the accomplishment of business objectives. Increasingly, organisations are turning to skilled professionals to fulfil the critical role of establishing and maintaining these key relationships. As a result, the public relations profession has experienced exponential growth. Just as organisations have evolved and changed, so too public relations has changed dramatically since its early beginnings. It is important that public relations professionals develop strong understandings of what constitutes effective contemporary public relations practice, and possess knowledge and skills necessary to plan, implement and evaluate effective communication campaigns or programmes.


This course is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of public relations campaigns for behaviour change. Topics covered include the nature and history of public relations, particularly in health, the environment, disaster management and other fields where behaviour change can have individual and community social benefit. The tools of public relations, identification of internal and external publics, design of public relations campaigns, and methods of assessing their effectiveness are examined. The important role of social and PR research in the development of behaviour change campaigns is considered in detail. The concept of public relations as a management function is explored and the student is introduced to the fundamentals of public relations campaigns, strategies and tactics in public relations planning, and issues management. The course also introduces students to an examination of ethical issues in public relations and the ethical responsibilities of the public relations professional. This course cannot be taken as an elective.


On successful completion of this course students should:

  1. be able to evaluate the foundations of public relations and its development to the present day and be aware of its likely future directions
  2. understand the range of functions, activities and specialist areas encompassed by the public relations profession, including corporate communications
  3. have an elementary knowledge of the various organisational settings for the public relations function, including `in- house' and consultancy or agency
  4. identify the range of communication tools used by public relations practitioners (variously known as Communication Managers, Public Relations Managers, Marketing Communication Managers and so on)
  5. be able to prepare a simple Corporate Communication plan on behalf of a client, encompassing initial and evaluative research, objectives, strategy, tools, implementation schedules and a budget
  6. be aware of the knowledge and skills necessary to plan, implement and evaluate effective Communication campaigns or programmes
  7. be aware and able to identify the broad scope of public relations and communication beyond stereotypical and functionalist views of publicity, promotion and information dissemination
  8. have an elementary knowledge of the ethical issues faced by the public relations profession


Description Weighting(%)
1. The History of Public Relations 5.00
2. The Nature of Public Relations 10.00
3. Public Relations Theory and its Application 15.00
4. Publics - Internal and External 15.00
5. Objectives, Strategies and Tools 15.00
6. Planning, proposing and evaluating the Corporate Communication plan 35.00
7. Research fundamentals 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Newsom, D, Turk, J V & Kruckeberg, D 2012, This is PR!: the realities of public relations, 11th edn, Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, Belmont, CA.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Cameron, G & Wilcox, D 2014, Public relations: strategies and tactics, 11th Global edn, Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, Boston.
  • Guth, D & Marsh, C 2012, Public relations: a values-driven approach, 5th edn, Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, Boston.
  • Handsen-Horn, T & Neff D 2008, Public relations: from theory to practice, Pearson/Allyn & Bacon, Boston.
  • Harrison, K 2011, Strategic Public Relations: a practical guide to success, Palgrave Macmillan, South Yarra, Victoria.
  • Johnston, J & Zawawi, C (eds) 2014, Public relations: theory and practice, 4th edn, Allen & Unwin, St Leonards, NSW.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 70.00
Independent Study 95.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
DISCUSSION PAPER 1500-2000 WDS 100 20 24 Mar 2017
CASE STUDY (2000 - 2500 WORDS) 100 30 03 May 2017
CAMPAIGN PROP (3000 WORDS) 100 50 07 Jun 2017

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.

  2. This public relations course maintains high standards of spelling, grammar, syntax and style. Faults in any of these could render a project or proposal unacceptable