Current affairs

Current affairs

Units: PR theory, practice and media internship
Convenor: Phyllis Sakinofsky

Introduction

Initially it was difficult to see how to embed sustainability into the units, especially viewing sustainability as being related specifically to the environment. On reviewing the framework, however, it became evident that the unit already encompassed many of the areas of sustainability.

Using a sustainability framework has helped show that PR can be a force for positive change in the community and it can lead to transformative experiences for students.

Embedding sustainability in the units:

Media and current affairs supply topical subjects that are of interest to students. They allow the class to explore PR issues that relate to areas outlined in the sustainability framework, but also to apply knowledge to authentic situations.

In PACE units, encourage students to work in groups with clients from the not-for-profit sector. These learning activities allow students to not only develop their creative and critical thinking and reflective skills, but to have transformative experiences. This occurs when students are exposed to issues of social access and equity as well as the environment. This experience often challenges students' perspectives, such that they reflect on their own lives and what they wish to do when they complete their studies.

Look at other convenors' online courses, to see what your peers are doing to embed sustainability in the curriculum.

Attend guest lectures on sustainability. For example, the Sustainability Representative Network (SRN) often meets to share ideas and best practice.

Examples

Used a topical story in 2014: ANU had divested its superannuation fund of shares from some mining and resource companies. This was used to explore the PR issues related to making public announcements, corporate responsibility and the power of politicians to elevate issues to a national stage.
Resource: ABC podcast, Radio National Breakfast, presented by Fran Kelly, 13 October 2014 (ABC web site). See below for further resources on issues covered in the unit.

In the internship unit, a student worked with an Aboriginal employment service - the first time she had worked with an Indigenous person. This gave her a new experience that has opened up her perspective and the student went on to do research in this area.

In a media internship, three students had the Wilderness Society as their client. In the terms of the unit, they were required to do 100 hours with the client but ended up completing approximately 300 hours creating videos, showing their commitment to the ideas they were asked to express.

Resources for issues covered in the PR unit

RUOK day

Dumb ways to die campaign

Tap it - water use

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