Ann is a co-founder of PR Academy, a leading provider of public relations and communication education. Her special areas of interest are internal communication and project communication.
Ann leads PR Academy’s CIPR internal comms certificate.
Here in the PR Academy office, we get lots of calls from people wanting to make the move into PR. They usually want to know more about what it is, what skills they need and what a typical day is like.
At the same time, we have been following with interest the development of MOOCs (massive open online courses). MOOCs have attracted millions worldwide to learn something new. The courses first took off in the US with universities making them freely available to anyone who wanted to sign up.
So we decided to put the two together and our new Introduction to Public Relations MOOC was the result. This short online course lasts six weeks and is delivered through a mix of video, reading, quizzes and set research tasks.
Of course MOOCs aren't a qualification but they are a great way to learn the basics of a subject and help you decide if you want to take your learning to the next level. As the name implies, MOOCs are 'open', that means that there are no entry criteria and of course they aren't assessed in the same way that a formal qualification is. I was amazed to find that there is actually one in dentistry! However, I think I would want to know my dentist had been to university for several years and done all the exams!
Part of the idea behind our MOOC is to introduce PR to a wider audience. We recorded the video content - with the smashing Maud Davis who course leads our CIPR Advanced Certificate - in the television studios where we have our offices. The camera team that did it are all TV news crew and they were fascinated by the content: "I never knew there was that much to PR" was one of the comments. Of course, we also hope that it will encourage people to consider PR as a career and think about a formal qualification in the future; the CIPR Foundation Award is a good next step.
So whats in our MOOC? Here are just a few of the topics:
What PR is
How to write a press release
Preparing for media interview
The difference between working in-house and consultancy