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Public Relations & Communication Studies

All third year students are required to complete a period of experiential learning under the supervision of a trained public relations practitioner. These students register for the two major subjects, Public Relations III and Communication Science III, as well as the subject Public Relations Practice lll (Experential Learning).

What is experiential learning?

Co-operative education or training can be defined as an educational plan, or method of training, that integrates practical work experience with a student's regular programme of theoretical study.

Formal tuition and supervision of third year subjects

Tuition is given by way of teletuition. Lecturers send regular tutorial letters to students and provide additional study material and assignments. Two assignments have to be completed in each major subject. A course mark based on these assignments will be allocated to each student. A student must obtain a subminimum of 16/40 (40%) as a course mark for each subject before he/she will be admitted to the final examinations.

On-the-job experience

The employment period runs from February to October. The University's Dept of Co-operative Education and Graduate Placement, assists full-time students to obtain the necessary practical experience in their final year. However, this does not relieve students of the responsibility for finding a suitable position.

After the initial contacts have been made with a prospective employer, the Dept of Co-operative Education and Graduate Placement makes a number of students available for interviews. Alternatively a student arranges his/her own appointment with a prospective employer.

The employer has the right to make, or not to make the appointment. The conditions of service are part of the agreement between the employer and the student.

The employer is requested to complete a form setting out the duties of the student. This is ratified by the University which must ascertain that these duties satisfy the requirements for the diploma.

The employer will be requested to complete an evaluation report every three months. A final recommendatory report will be required at the end of the period of service.

The student will be responsible for keeping a logbook of his/her weekly duties, which his employer will be asked to initial on a regular basis.

What the public relations intern can do for an employer

Interns should be able to assist in the application of the following public relations activities (adapted from Skinner, Von Essen & Mersham, 2001:10-12):

Writing and editing - news releases, reports, booklet texts, radio and TV copy, speeches, magazine articles, product information, manuals, employee publications, newsletters, shareholder reports, etc.

Media liaison - contact with the press, radio and TV, editors of magazines, and trade publications to enlist their interest in publishing the organisation's news and features.

Promotion - special events, media conferences, exhibitions, open-house days, anniversary celebrations, contest and award programmes, etc.

Speaking - preparation of speeches for others, finding appropriate platforms and producing PowerPoint presentations.

Production – websites, electronic documents, brochures, booklets, special reports, photographic communication and house periodicals.

Programming - the determination of need, definition of goals and planning of recommended steps in carrying out a public relations project.

Institutional advertising - advertising a company's name and reputation through purchased space or time.

Marketing services - appreciation of the situation, determination of objectives, definition of publics, choice of media and techniques, management of the budget and evaluation of results.

Opinion research - probing attitudes and reaction, planning, communication and evaluation.

Fund-raising campaigns.

Membership drives.

Claudette Leppan
Ms Claudette Leppan
Position: Associate Lecturer
Department: Public Relations & Communication Studies
Room: Main Building, 5th floor, 02
Location: Summerstrand Campus (South)
Phone: 27 41 504 4681
Qualifications: National Diploma: Public Relations Management (Cum Laude) BTech: Public Relations Management (Cum Laude), MA Media Studies (Cum Laude)