PR629 Syllabus

PR 629-EA: Converged Technologies for Public Relations

Instructor: Prof. David Cundy                                                   Semester/Year:
Fall 2011

Office: Murphy Center, Room M219                                       Phone:
914 633-2364

Office Hours: M,
W 12:45-1:45 pm                                         Email Address:



practical course examining and applying current communications technologies and
strategies to enable graduate students to develop and produce effective PR
vehicles of the caliber and nature used in modern communications organizations.
The course will deal with blog and Web site creation, social media, audio and
video posting and strategy development. Includes software and technical



There are no prerequisites for
this course.


As noted in lecture schedule below and:

Shel and Demopoulos, Ted. Blogging for
business: everything you need to know and why you should care.
Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1419536451

Michael. YouTube for Business: Online
Video Marketing for Any Business.
Que, 2008, ISBN:0789737973

Scott, David Meerman. The new rules of
marketing and PR: how to use news releases, blogs, podcasting, viral marketing,
& online media to reach buyers directly.
John Wiley and Sons, 2007 . ISBN:

Professional Values and Competencies of


graduates of ACEJMC accredited programs should be aware of certain core values
and competencies and be able to:

  1. understand and apply the
    principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, including the right to
    dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for
    redress of grievances;
  2. demonstrate an understanding
    of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping
  3. demonstrate an understanding
    of the diversity of groups in a global society in relationship to
  4. understand concepts and apply
    theories in the use and presentation of images and information;
  5. demonstrate an understanding
    of professional ethical principles and work ethically in the pursuit of
    truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity;
  6. think critically, creatively,
    and independently;
  7. conduct research and evaluate
    information by methods appropriate to the communications professions in
    which they work;
  8. write correctly and clearly
    in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions,
    audiences and purposes they serve;
  9. critically evaluate their own
    work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate
    style and grammatical correctness;
  10. apply basic numerical and
    statistical concepts;
  11. apply tools and technologies
    appropriate for the communications professions in which they work


Course Objectives:

This course is
intended to give students insights into and experience doing original research
into emerging media phenomena. Students will gain experience creating serial
communications using emerging media, specifically blogs and related tools.

Students will learn
information, gain skills, and will engage in critical thinking. By the end of this course, the student should be
able to:

  1. Define and apply current social media and
    Internet technologies to public relations projects and strategies. (This objective will be measured by
    essays, exams, laboratory projects, homework and class discussions). (PVC 3, 4, 6, 8, 11; Assessment Tools 1-5)
  2. Discuss use of online tools and
    applications in mass communications. (This objective will be measured by essays, exams, homework and
    class discussions). (PVC 4, 6,
    8, 9, 11; Assessment Tools 1-5)
  3. Apply common technologies and software
    and create professional deliverables in service to public relations and
    communications. (This objective
    will be measured by laboratory projects, exams, homework and laboratory
    applications). (PVC 4, 6, 8,
    11; Assessment Tools 1-5)
  4. Be capable of developing strategies to integrate
    traditional communications techniques and converged technologies. (This objective will be measured by
    essays, exams, homework and class discussions). (PVC 3, 4, 6, 8, 11; Assessment Tools 1-5)
  5. Analyze and discuss the differences between
    traditional communications technologies (print, broadcast, mail,
    promotions) and Web publications in approach, editorial style, and
    audience service. (This objective
    will be measured by essays, exams, homework and class discussions). (PVC 4, 6, 8, 11; Assessment Tools 1-5)



Student Performance will be measured as follows:

  1. In-class and
    online exercises and laboratory
    projects (75%):
    These exercises and examples will demonstrate
    professional applications and current use of technologies in the public
    relations field. Portions of each class will be devoted to applications of
    specific technologies.
  2. Homework
    assignments (15%):
    various exercises will be assigned to help students
    understand the history, progression and current state of technologies. Students
    will have a number of essays to write, some of them one page and others longer.
  3. Participation/Attendance

Each assignment will be evaluated on
demonstrated writing and thinking skills, adherence to the assignment,
satisfactory length, correctly formatted source documentation, and on-time

Grades will be as follows: 90-100 = A; 86-89 =
B+; 80-85 = B; 76-79 = C+; 70-75 = C; 65-69 = D; anything less than 65 = F)


Diversity Component

Department of Mass Communication is committed to fair play within the media in
the belief that everyone should be treated fairly regardless of ethnicity,
disability, or gender. A significant part of the course, approximately three
periods, will be devoted to case studies that illustrate historical and current
inequities within media organizations and their products.

courses taught in the Department of Mass Communication at Iona College contain
a module integrated into the course that explores the issue of the diversity of
groups in relation to the mass communication industry. Examples of diversity
and discussion of historical issues in diversity will be integrated into PR629
class content. Diversity is tangential to PR629 subject matter, which assumes
diversity. Given this limitation, androcentricity in Internet innovation is
discussed, with examples including Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page,
YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley, and others.

Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty:

College Policy: Cheating and plagiarism
subvert both the purpose of the College and the experience students derive from
being at Iona. They are offenses that harm the offender and the students who do
not cheat. The Iona community, therefore, pledges itself to do all in its power
to prevent cheating and plagiarism, and to impose impartial sanctions upon
those who harm themselves, their fellow students, and the entire community by
academic dishonesty. When a case of academic dishonesty surfaces, a report will
be filed with the dean of Arts and Sciences. In the case of a second instance,
a student may be suspended from the College. Students may appeal first to the
professor who discovered the instance; second, to the department chair; and
third, to the Dean of Arts and Sciences. The decision of the dean is final.
Students may appeal to the Provost if the suspension is five class days or
less. The student handbook describes the procedures of adjudication.

College policy, as applied to this course, is that citations are required for
all quotations, paraphrases or concepts derived from third party sources.


General Course Policies:

Attendance and lateness: Because of the
participatory nature of this course, you are required to come to class. If you
must be absent, please e-mail me with a general reason (please do not provide
personal details) in advance. More than three unexcused absences or frequent
tardiness displays a lack of interest in the course and will be reflected in
your participation/attendance grade. If you miss more than three classes
(regardless of whether they are excused or unexcused) you may be given a grade
of “FA,” or failure due to excessive absence.

Computer Skills: Computer literacy and
facility with the college’s on-line system is essential for this course. Much
of the research will be done on-line and significant teacher-student
communication will take place using e-mail or the Blackboard system. It is the
responsibility of the student to have a working User ID and password and to
schedule time in the school’s computer labs if the student does not have
at-home access. The student is expected to check his/her e-mail frequently
during the week.

Timeliness: Timely submission of
assignments is required. Again, e-mail me in advance if you cannot submit an
assignment on time. The semester assignment must be submitted on or before the
exam date.

Appeal of Assigned Grade: If a student
believes that an error has been made in grade assignment, there is a specific
procedure to follow. First, discuss with the instructor the basis on which the
grade was assigned. If the student is still not satisfied, an appeal may be
made to the department chair. Such appeal should be made in writing, stating
the basis upon which the grade is questioned and requesting a departmental
review. If, following the review, the student is not satisfied with the
departmental decision, a final appeal may be made to the academic dean of the
department involved. A student has until the tenth day of the new semester to
have a grade other than “I” changed.

Course and Teacher Evaluation (CTE): Iona
College now uses an on-line CTE system. This system is administered by an
outside company and all of the data is collected confidentially. No student
name or information will be linked to any feedback received by the instructor. The
information collected will be compiled in aggregate form by the agency and
distributed back to the Iona administration and faculty, with select
information made available to students who complete the CTE. Your feedback in
this process is an essential part of improving our course offerings and
instructional effectiveness. We want and value your point of view.*

You will receive several emails at your Iona email account about how and when
the CTE will be administered with instructions how to proceed.



Session 1: 29 August 2011


Online communications and social media: An overview of the spectrum of
online and social media – Web sites, blogs (weblogs), Facebook, YouTube,
Twitter, MySpace, RSS, podcasts


Kevin Kelly: The Next 5,000
days, TED Conference


Session 2: 5 September 2011


Technological determinism: technology and communications


Marshall McLuhan, The Medium is
the Massage


Session 3: 12 September 2011


Convergence: Public Relations, Journalism and Advertising


Spurlock, Pom Wonderful Presents: The
Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Jhally, “Advertising and the Edge of the Apocalypse.”


Session 4: 19 September 2011


Weblogs (= Blogs) and blog strategy


WordPress blog installation (class will be documented in WordPress
blog); blog architecture


Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” The Atlantic

Hans Rosling, “The Magic
Washing Machine,” TEDWomen


Session 5: 26 September 2011


WordPress blog installation/continued


Uploading graphics and media (YouTube)


Clay Shirky, Here Comes

Assignment 1 due:

Write a 250-word essay comparing the ideas presented by Vannevar Bush
and Hans Rosling.


Session 6: 3 October 2011


Laboratory: Google blog implementation


HTML basics


Chris Anderson, The Long Tail


Session 7: 10 October 2011


Laboratory: Tumblr blog implementation


Online color; comparing WordPress, Google Blogs and Tumblr


Samuel Pepys, Diary.


Session 8: 17 October 2011


Issues in converged communications: access, privacy, anonymity,
commercialization, professional commoditization, time management, the
“electronic hallucination,” addiction


Search engines for PR research

Scholarly research tools


Maureen Dowd, “A Penny for my Thoughts,” New York Times

Eric Alterman, “Out of Print,” The New Yorker


Session 9: 24 October 2011


Intro to Website development/goals/strategies; constituent and
objectives-based design;

Website development: wireframes and design


Development process: Research process: Benchmarking – internal and
external; best practices;

Information architecture


Richard Saul Wurman, Information

Assignment 2 due:

Write a 250-word paper about an issue in converged communications as
it has affected you.


Session 10: 31 October 2011


Analytics: Measuring results


Site analytics; QR code generation


John Perry Barlow, ” The
Economy of Ideas,” Wired


Session 10: 25 July 2011


Social media sites

The Facebook phenomenon: A fad – or the Future?

Social media event planning


Event planning in Facebook

Assignment 3 due:

Write a 250-word essay analyzing John Perry Barlow’s assertion that
“Information wants to be free.”


Buckminster Fuller, Operating
Manual For Spaceship Earth


Session 11: 7 November 2011


Social media worldwide


Pirate Bay: Steal This Film II


Session 12: 14 November 2011


Twitter as a Public Relations vehicle

YouTube as a Public Relations vehicle


Establishing a Twitter account

Establishing a YouTube channel


Lawrence Lessig: Code

Assignment 4 due:

Write a 500 word paper on Steal
This Film II,
with a critical analysis of the concepts of intellectual
property, file sharing, “information socialism,” and the Internet as
a freely accessible environment.


Session 13: 21 November 2011


Information utopia: Understanding Google; Google books


Google applications


George Orwell, 1984

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Allen Ginsberg, “Howl”


Session 14: 28 November 2011


Search and Research


Search engines for PR research

Scholarly research tools


James Gleick, The Information,_a_Theory,_a_Flood

Assignment 5 due:

Write a 1,000 word paper on a Google application, comparing it to
competing applications offered by other enterprises.


Session 15: 5 December 2011


Wikipedia and “Information Socialism”

The Wiki; Wikipedia for Public Relations

Jimmy Wales, Brewster Kahle; Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Strengths and weaknesses of Wikipedia


Generating and editing Wikipedia entries


Jorge Luis Borges, The Book of


Final exam session


Course review, Contextualization; workshop


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