Central Michigan University Department of Communication faculty member Diane Krider realized the opportunity for students in her "Crisis Communications" course to learn from firsthand experience. What better way to study crisis response than living through one?
Rather than completing the course's typical final project of a student-run press conference, she is focusing entirely on applying the course materials (theory and practice) to what is happening in real time with the coronavirus.
"Only until we start to put the pieces together of how a crisis of this magnitude unfolded and paralyzed the world, will we truly understand the importance of effective crisis communication when managing this pandemic," Krider said.
As case studies are the heart and soul of discussions about crisis communication, students now have a front-row seat because they are living amid a case study that will be used when teaching crisis communication for generations to come.
This bird's-eye view of how the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded and sent an entire nation into a crisis is the focus for their final projects. Students are reading, watching and analyzing the crisis communication strategies and messaging used on national, state, local and university (CMU) levels to be able to identify crisis stages, effective and ineffective messaging, effectively managing crisis uncertainty, learning through failure, and more.