COMM20110 - Crisis Communication

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Not everything happens to plan. Sometimes crises occur with little or no warning, while other times issues build over time. How you manage the crisis as a leader can make or break an organisation. This unit will examine crisis management from a communications perspective. Communicating during and after a crisis is a complex strategy of message development and targeted delivery. You will examine the crisis lifecycle and the role of leadership during a crisis. You will develop messages for stakeholders as well as tools for managing intense media scrutiny. This unit is ideal for decision makers in organisations, or those who may be at the front line when a crisis occurs.


Level Postgraduate
Unit Level Not Applicable
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 1
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites There are no pre-requisites for the unit.
Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2019

Term 1 - 2019 Profile
Mixed Mode

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Postgraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Presentation 30%
2. Report 70%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 1 - 2018 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.8 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 62.5% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Student Have Your Say survey
The option for an intensive offering of this unit, combined with online support was appreciated.
It is recommended to continue offering the unit as intensive over three days for those students who wish to participate, and continue availability of Distance as well.
Action Taken
Source: Student Have Your Say survey
The use of group work for the first assessment was helpful because it encouraged discussion and learning of difficult concepts.
It is recommended to continue having group work as the first assessment.
Action Taken
Source: Student Have Your Say survey
It would be good to have the option for group work for the second assessment, especially when students work for the same organisation.
The second assessment relates to the development of a crisis communication plan, and is negotiated based on the workplace of the student. It is recommended to allow students to complete the assessment as a group if they request, however it will not be a requirement, and there will be no grade assigned to the group work element, so that those students who choose to complete the assessment as an individual are not disadvantaged. There will be no change to the assessment topic, or the final grade awarded.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Recognise different types of crises and how they can impact on an organisation
  2. Critically evaluate potential risks to leadership throughout the crisis lifecycle
  3. Analyse the leadership role during and after a crisis
  4. Apply crisis communication techniques to mainstream and digital media
  5. Develop a crisis management communication plan.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Presentation
2 - Report
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5
1 - Knowledge
2 - Communication
3 - Cognitive, technical and creative skills
4 - Research
5 - Self-management
6 - Ethical and Professional Responsibility
7 - Leadership
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Advanced Level
Professional Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 - Presentation
2 - Report