~ Syllabus ~

Internet Public Relations

Tulane University

School of Continuing Studies

Instructor: Steve O'Keefe
Tuesday Night, 6:00 p.m. - 8:40 p.m.
Spring Semester, Thursday, January 15 - Thursday, April 29, 2009
MDAR 365-81 -- Elmwood Campus Computer Lab
(Content of this syllabus may be changed at the discretion of the instructor.)


  1. Course Description
  2. Objectives
  3. Text Books
  4. Assignments & Grading
  5. Instructor Contact Information
  6. Companion Web Site
  7. Class Rules

1. Course Description:

This course is designed to teach students how to take advantage of Internet technologies to promote a person, product, event, web site, business, or organization. The Internet makes it possible to inexpensively reach millions of people with a promotional message. However, if certain rules are not followed, promoting this way can lead to censorship, blacklisting, and disaster. This class will help students learn the often-unwritten rules of Internet protocol, while developing public relations campaigns that are appreciated and effective.

This is a hands-on, nuts & bolts course, focused on both technique and theory. Students will learn some of the most in-demand skills in the current job market, including how to increase traffic at a web site and how to promote a product, event, or company online. This is an ideal course for anyone considering a career in marketing, publicity, public relations, e-commerce, online media production -- or for anyone who has started a business or is thinking about it. This class requires several hours of online time every week; students should make arrangements for adequate Internet access before signing-up for this course.

One of the things students enjoy most about this class is the ability to build an online PR campaign for a favorite business, organization, or group. Each student selects a "portfolio company" at the beginning of the semester. Week-by-week, the student builds an online PR campaign for that organization. Students have been creative in their choices of companies, including hospitals, schools, nonprofit organizations, churches, their own businesses, or a relative's business. The campaigns are *not* designed to be used by these organizations as part of the class; however, several organizations have gone on to use the campaigns designed in this class at a later date to promote their organizations.

2. Objectives:

At the conclusion of this course, students should know how to:

  • Prepare an online publicity plan for a business, agency, or organization
  • Register a web site in search engines and directories
  • Promote the launch of a new web site or a web site re-design
  • Prepare content such as documents for syndication online
  • Write and format e-mail news releases
  • Locate and use journalists' e-mail addresses
  • Create a map of key web sites and blogs related to any given subject
  • Participate in social networking web sites
  • Conduct blog PR, including locating blogs, posting, commenting, and tracking
  • Write and distribute online discussion group postings
  • Syndicate content to high traffic web sites
  • Use online audio and video publicity tools

3. Text Book:

The textbook for this course is currently out of print. Instead, students must locate and summarize articles related to the topics presented in the course. Students will need Internet access to read, download, and/or print these articles.

4. Assignments & Grading:

Assignments = 50% of Grade
Assignments will be handed out every week during the semester. Assignments are due 24 hours before the next class meeting -- either e-mailed to instructor or posted online. Each assignment will be graded on a scale of 0 to 5. Grades are based on both content and format (neatness counts).

Portfolio = 25% of Grade
Your portfolio consists of all your weekly assignments assembled into one neat package and submitted on the final exam date for the class. Students wanting to improve their grades can revise their assignments based on instructor feedback and submit the improved versions in their portfolio. If you do not revise your assignments, your portfolio grade will be identical to your assignments grade. If you revise your assignments, your portfolio grade will be higher than your assignments grade. TIP: Revise your assignments each week as you go; students waiting to revise their assignments until the conclusion of the semester are often are unable to complete the revisions.

Class Participation = 25% of Grade
There are no quizzes or tests for this class. However, students are expected to attend each class session on time, do their readings in advance of each class, and contribute to classroom discussion and activities. Students will be called upon to comment on readings and to participate in activities during class. Your class participation grade will be based on punctuality, preparation, and participation in classroom activities.

Your class participation grade will also include a blogging component. Students may be asked to upload a blog post each week for this class. Class participation grades are usually provided as follows:

+1 = Significant contribution online or in class
0 = Attended class; posted to blog
-1 = Unexcused absence from class; did not blog


A = Superior
Student works beyond requirements; shows a flair for subject; perfect attendance; excellent class participation.

B = Above Average
Assignments go beyond minimum requirements; great attendance record; good class participation.

C = Average
Completes assignments; demonstrates understanding of basic principles; attends class.

D = Below Average
Missing or incomplete assignments; lack of attendance or participation.

F = Fail
Numerous missing or incomplete assignments; poor attendance record; comes to class unprepared; poor class participation.

5. Instructor Contact Information:

741 Saint Philip St. #241, New Orleans, LA 70116
Voice: (504) 342-4806   Fax: (504) 342-4157
E-Mail: sokeefe@tulane.edu

6. Companion Web Site:

A companion web site has been set-up for this class. The web site includes class assignments, resources used to complete class assignments, and other features. The companion web site is located at:


7. Class Rules:

Assignments: Assignments are due 24 hours in advance of each class. Most assignments will be word processor documents. You may send assignments electronically as e-mail attachments. As neatness is important to effectiveness in public relations, it is important to the grading in this class. Tulane expects students to spend twice as much time on homework as is spent in class. If you are spending more than 5 hours per week on homework for this class, you are advised to contact the instructor for assistance.

Plagiarism: When assignments call for you to submit your own work, you are not allowed to copy the work of someone else and submit it as your own. That is called "plagiarism" and it is against Tulane University policy. Using modern technology, it is relatively easy to find and document plagiarism. Many students are disciplined each year for copying the work of others and submitting it as their own without proper attribution.

Absence from Class: If you will not be able to attend a class, please try to notify the instructor via e-mail as far in advance as possible. Both tardiness and missing class will affect your class participation grade. Students must provide documentation acceptable under Tulane University rules of conduct for lateness or absence in order to get an incomplete for the class or moderate the impact on your class participation grade.

Etiquette: Students will be held to a high level of professional behavior in class. Students displaying rude or offensive behavior will be asked to leave the classroom. Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, or other potentially disruptive devices upon entering the classroom. Eating or drinking are not allowed in the computer lab.

Office Hours: E-mail assistance is usually available promptly. The instructor encourages students to e-mail any questions about assignments or exams. Phone consultations are available by appointment; please e-mail the instructor for an appointment.

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