Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 880090-M-6
Online Public Relations
Course info
Course module880090-M-6
Credits (ECTS)6
CategoryMA (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byTilburg University; Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences; TSH: Commun. and Inform. Sciences; TSH: Department Communication and Cognition;
Is part of
M Communication and Information Sciences
Coordinator course
dr. J. Bartels
Other course modules lecturer
dr. J. Bartels
Other course modules lecturer
dr. P.J. van der Wijst
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2019
Starting block
Course mode
Registration openfrom 25/03/2020 up to and including 21/08/2020
Disclaimer: assignment to tutorial groups will be determined during the start of the course.

After completion of the course students have the knowledge
  • of theories, strategies and effects of (online) public relations in specific areas such as crisis communication, issue management and corporate social responsibility
  • to develop, apply and evaluate online public relations strategies in specific cases

Academic skills

After completion of the course students have the ability
  • to connect theories and develop a conceptual model based on a literature review

  • ‚Äčto write and present an academic review paper on a public relations related topic

  • to conduct empirical experimental research (in social sciences)

  • to write and present a public relations communication plan

Public relations (PR) is about the communicative interaction between organizations, media and stakeholders (employees, consumers, political actors, general public, etc.). The rise of the internet and the mediatization of organizations change these interactions. New and social media such as blogs, Facebook and twitter have the technological potential to enable dialogue, fasten communication, and connect organizations and publics more directly. Accordingly, new media are a challenge and an opportunity for public relations: Whereas protest actors can become more powerful and disrupt corporate reputation by spreading critical information on organizations, corporations can undergo the classic gatekeeping-function of traditional media, engage with their multiple stakeholders more directly and build legitimacy and reputation more efficiently.

After a brief introduction in approaches to public relations, forms and effects of new media-based communication between corporations and the public are discussed (online-reputation, agenda- and frame-building in social media). Next, concrete strategies and instruments (issue management, blog monitoring) of online public relations are presented. Subsequently, strategies and effects of new media in specific fields of public relations are discussed, such as crisis communication and corporate social responsibility.

The course consists of two seminars each week. In the seminars, we discuss theories and research literature related to the main research topics. We also practice setting up a strategic PR plan based on a theoretical framework. The seminars will be organized in small groups of students. The activities in these seminars require active participation of the students.
1. The final grade for this course is the weighted average of the two assignments. In order to pass the course, both the average grade AND the grade of the assignments must be sufficient.
2. The final grade will be calculated as follows: review paper 50%, PR communication plan 50%. The course load (6 ECTS = 168 hours) is as follows: 14 seminars x 2 hours = 28 hours, individual review paper 70 hours, PR communication plan 70 hours.

3. The writing and presenting of the PR communication plan is an example of a direct connection with the labour market. The advice in the PR communication plan will be based on empirical research results.

Contact person
dr. J. Bartels
Timetable information
Online Public Relations
Required materials
To be announced
The literature for the course (on average two journal articles per meeting) will be announced through Blackboard. Additional articles will be necessary for the review paper and PR communication plan.
Recommended materials
Written (50%)

Final Result

2 Papers (100%)

Kies de Nederlandse taal