Universities are striving to enhance the quality of the educational experience in the professions in response to external and internal pressures. The professional field of public relations (PR) is not immune to these forces. Previously, enhancements were often pursued through particular initiatives relating to curriculum, pedagogical or assessment redesign at the unit level. While such initiatives are valuable we argue for a strategic, integrated, programmatic approach. This requires the design of learning environments, with integrated virtual and physical dimensions, based on a relevant and meaningful curriculum, and student-centred approaches to learning. These learning environments enable quality learning in fields like public relations with diverse student cohorts studying on- and off-campus. The challenges involved in designing what we term ‘contemporary learning environments’ are illuminated through a case study of Deakin University’s Public Relations Program. Over the last three years redesigning PR online has led to changed curriculum, and pedagogical and assessment practices. We conclude by suggesting that a commitment to continuous quality improvement will be required to ensure the program’s learning environment remains relevant to the needs of students studying in the field.
Field of Research
130203 Economics, Business and Management Curriculum and Pedagogy