How to study public relations for free

About the author

Richard Bailey FCIPR MPRCA is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

Pixabay (Creative Commons)
Pixabay (Creative Commons)

There’s more to public relations than publicity

PR Academy’s free online Introduction to Public Relations course is open to anyone and runs regularly throughout the year. 

It’s a MOOC (a Massive Open Online Course), and it’s been running since 2014. During that time, over 3000 people from all over the world have joined the course.

I asked course leader Ann Pilkington for the thinking behind this course:

‘The MOOC is a really interesting model and there was a lot of talk when they first appeared about how it was going to revolutionise education. I am not sure it has done that. What I think they are great for is getting a “taster”.  We often get calls in the office from people who want to go into PR and I will point them to the MOOC as a way of finding out more about it before they jump into something that may not be what they thought it was.’

‘We started this free online course because we wanted to make more people aware of what public relations is all about and to give them an opportunity to dip their toe into the water before jumping in to a full qualification.  We know that many people won’t have access to PR education and qualifications because of where they are or because of the financial commitment it involves.’

‘What I find is that lots of people talk about public relations as one way publicity for image building. I hope our MOOC helps with an understanding about how much more there is to it.’

‘It’s introductory level, so for people who are considering PR as a career, those who are thinking about studying it, or those who find they are being asked to do some PR and want to find out what it is all about. I think it works really well as a warm up to the CIPR Foundation qualification that we run too.’

The course covers:

  • What is public relations
  • PR planning
  • Media relations
  • How to write a press release
  • Preparing for a media interview
  • Events
  • Social media
  • Internal communication
  • The difference between working in-house and consultancy
  • Skills needed to work in public relations

‘The course runs for about six weeks and we open a new module each week. As well as videos, we provide guidance and reading and learners have access to our online library which carries a range of books on PR and communication.

‘If participants would like to, they can do online assessments in the form of quizzes and if they reach a certain score they can get a certificate of completion for which we charge £10 just to cover our costs. It’s a time commitment of a couple of hours a week I would say if people do the reading and check out all the video content.’

More info and how to enrol in the free Introduction to Public Relations course

Enrolment for the next course starts on Monday 18 March 2018.

Future course start dates:

25 March 2019 (enrolment opens at 12 noon, UK time on 18 March 2019)
10 June 2019 (enrolment opens at 12 noon, UK time on 3 June 2019)
19 August 2019 (enrolment opens at 12 noon, UK time on 12 August 2019)
28 October 2019 (enrolment opens at 12 noon, UK time on 21 October 2019)