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Public engagement: an introduction (online)

Public engagement is required in a wide variety of public projects. When done well it can help ensure that projects are delivered on time and on budget. This public engagement course will introduce you to the fundamentals of public engagement and what you need to do to make sure it has a positive impact on your project.

About this course

During this public engagement online course you will explore the key aspects of public engagement. You will learn what it is, when to do it (and when not to), the benefits and risks it can bring and the basics of how to plan and deliver it. Drawing on best practice research, this online course will be practical and can be applied immediately in your workplace.

Course structure

Session One – Prework
(Canvas Learning Management System [LMS] | 30 minutes)

You will be invited to complete some preparatory work online in your own time. This will include some reading and an online introduction post. This session will be conducted within the UTS LMS Canvas, and you will have a week to complete this prework prior to session two.


Session Two – The basics of engagement and getting set
(Live, online zoom video | 2 hours)

This introductory session will cover:

  • What engagement is (and isn’t).
  • The risks and benefits of engagement.
  • Getting ready to engage – key steps.

Key steps will be explained and modelled by the presenter using an example case study. You will have the opportunity to use your own projects to apply your understanding.


Session Three – Getting ready to engage
(Live, online zoom video | 2 hours)

Building on the previous session, this live, online zoom session will focus on getting you ready to execute your engagement project. It will include selection of tools and methods, resourcing and developing public engagement plans.


Session Four – Doing (and reviewing) engagement
(Live, online zoom video | 1.5 hours)

The final session of this public engagement course will focus on the delivery of engagement. It will include the skills required, monitoring and reporting. The role of evaluation in engagement will be touched on along with best practice principles. 

There will be the opportunity for questions and discussions during the live zoom video sessions. If you have time and wish to extend yourself, relevant additional readings will be recommended.


Learning outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • Understand key concepts and principles
  • Identify the required factors for successful engagement
  • Understand the key steps involved in planning and delivering engagement


Delivery style

This public engagement course online will be facilitated through an interactive live video link. Registered participants will be able to connect to the video link using Zoom (available free) and a reliable internet connection is required. Video connection details will be made available to each participant prior to the course via Canvas, the UTS LMS. Course materials, surveys and/or readings will also be made available to participants within Canvas LMS.


Course prerequisites

This public engagement course has no prerequisites and is open to all members of the public.


In-house training solutions

This public engagement course online can also be customised and/or delivered in-house. Find out more.

Who is this course for?

This public engagement online course is for professionals seeking an appreciation of public engagement from local, state and federal governments and well as the private and NGO sectors. It is relevant to professionals whose work intersects with public engagement processes, where they may have direct involvement or oversight and includes, but is not limited to:

  • Land use and transport planners
  • Engineers
  • Corporate and strategic planners
  • Media and communications staff
  • Policy and project staff

If you are a leader and familiar with the basic of public engagement practices you might be interested in our Public Engagement Course Online for Managers



10 July




6 hrs

Meet the Expert

Dr Helen Christensen

Dr Helen Christensen

Dr Helen Christensen is a community engagement specialist with skills in training, research, process design and facilitation. She works as an independent consultant and regularly delivers training for the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) where is also the Chair of the Research Committee. Helen is an Industry Fellow at the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance where she has recently completed a PhD exploring the practice and professionalisation of community engagement in Australian local government. Having worked for over 15 years in local government and consulting, Helen has considerable experience in: planning, delivering and reporting engagement; training people from a variety of sectors to plan and deliver engagement; building organisational capacity to better engage communities and stakeholders; and, leading the development of frameworks and strategies.

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Book a session

Fri 10 Jul 2020 -
Fri 31 Jul 2020
Expert: Dr Helen Christensen
  • Online
  • Online
  • 4 sessions, 6 hours total
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