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PRL5004 Professional Communication

Semester 2, 2020 Online
Short Description: Professional Communication
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities & Communication
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 100700 - Communication & Media Studies
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Barbara Ryan

Other requisites

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


A large part of a public relations manager’s job is overseeing the writing output of a department and assisting by generating copy for certain projects. This course takes managers through the tools needed to ensure that everything produced by a communication department is the best possible quality. It also helps students develop writing skills for mainstream and social media, and controlled media such as brochures, newsletters and advertising copy.


Students will be introduced to management of public relations writing skills including the principles of effective public relations writing and the identification of best practice approaches. They will study how to research target publics and how to write for various mediums and channels, including audio, print, electronic mainstream media, social media, and organisational publications.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. discuss a range of areas in which professional communication approaches are used in the contemporary organisation;
  2. identify and critically analyse a variety of theoretical perspectives employed by public relations professionals in the development of effective professional communication;
  3. critically examine professional communication policy and practice, and understand the principles involved in establishing ‘best practice’ professional communication;
  4. demonstrate skill in researching and developing an understanding of target publics as the platform for undertaking effective, symmetrical communication;
  5. demonstrate expertise in the standard methods of writing for specific audiences (including international and intercultural audiences) using various mediums and channels;
  6. demonstrate the ability to plan and develop a major communication project within an organisational context for particular target publics;
  7. demonstrate the ability to analyse and critique professional communication practice.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Professional communication in the contemporary organisation 5.00
2. Theoretical perspectives 20.00
3. ’Best practice’ professional communication: principles, frameworks, policy and practice 15.00
4. Researching and understanding target publics 10.00
5. Professional communication – the mediums and channels 40.00
6. Issues in professional communication practice 10.00

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. (

Marsh, C, Guth, DW. & Short, BP 2018, Strategic Writing: multimedia writing for public relations, advertising and more, 4th edn, Pearson Education Inc, Boston.

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.
Newsom, D & Haynes, J 2017, Public Relations Writing: Strategies and Structures, 11th edn, Cengage Learning, Boston.
Smith, RD 2017, Becoming a Public Relations Writer: A writing workbook for emerging and established media, 5th edn, Routledge, New York.
Wilcox, DL & Reber, BH 2016, Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, 8th edn, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Zappala, JM & Carden, AR 2010, Public Relations Writing Worktext: A practical guide to the profession, 3rd edn, Routledge, New York.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 65.00
Independent Study 100.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
MEDIA MATERIALS 1 25 25 26 Aug 2020
MEDIA MATERIALS 2 25 25 23 Sep 2020
PROJECT MATERIALS 1 25 25 15 Oct 2020
PROJECT MATERIALS 2 25 25 22 Oct 2020

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online:
    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.

    It is the students’ responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and 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

  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 for this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    There is no examination 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

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.

Date printed 6 November 2020