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 8
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 4
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites There are no pre-requisites for the unit.

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2022

Term 2 - 2022 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. Self assessment 10%
2. Presentation 30%
3. Report 60%

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 Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2021 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 5 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 36.36% 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: Anecdotal student feedback and Have Your Say survey.
Students appreciated the opportunity to complete the first assessment as a team.
Continue offering the first assessment as a team based assessment, especially allowing distance and online students to participate in an equitable manner.
Action Taken
Students have the option of completing Assessment 2 as a team. Most students choose this option as the online teamwork process is managed fairly and equitably.
Source: Unit Coordinator reflections
Student enrolment numbers are low.
Relocate the unit as a core unit within the Bachelor of Arts, via the CQURenew curriculum refresh, and promote the unit as part of the Public Relations major, and Strategic Communication four-pack in the CQURenew marketplace.
Action Taken
This unit is now part of the public relations major in the Bachelor of Arts, and part of a Strategic Communication minor in the CQURenew marketplace.
Source: Have Your Say survey
Students appreciated the relevance of completing the final assessment on behalf of an organisation of their choice.
Continue offering students the option of completing their final assessment on behalf of a real world client to contribute to the authenticity of the assessment piece.
Action Taken
The final assessment remains a real client.
Source: Have Your Say
Students appreciated the assessment-driven style of the unit.
Continue to scaffold the assessment items so that each item links directly with unit content, and can be used to inform the next assessment.
Action Taken
Source: Have Your Say
Students appreciated the way the unit content was presented to support different learning styles.
Provide options for learning including videos, case studies, exemplars and e-reading lists to cater for different styles of student learning.
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 - Self assessment
2 - Presentation
3 - 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 8
1 - Self assessment
2 - Presentation
3 - Report