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Over 50 students from some of Solent's communications courses took part in Crisis Simulation 2018, where they were tasked with managing a fast-moving cyber attack.

15th March 2018
Marketing, communications and public relations

Over 50 students forming interdisciplinary teams from BA (Hons) Public Relations and Communication, MA Public Relations and Multimedia Communications, MA Advertising and Multimedia Communications, BA (Hons) Advertising and, for the first time this year, BA (Hons) Criminology, came together to participate in Crisis Simulation 2018.

The day was organised by the PR team, led by lecturer, Lynsey Watt, who was supported by course leader, Sally Holland, colleague Rob Dalton, criminology senior lecturer, Dr Esther Snell, and the students who played various roles to add a real life dimension to the emerging crisis affecting Telson University, which was played out on Twitter and Facebook.

The teams discuss how to respond to the cyber attack

Students had to respond in real time to what at first seemed to be a simple and contained cyber security issue, but which soon became a multi-faceted cyber attack that grew in intensity with implications for a range of stakeholders. During the simulation, the student teams realised the importance of getting the basics right while crafting carefully worded communications, news releases and scripted videos offering advice and reassurance. Having to cope with some questioning from 'journalists' kept them on their toes before the groups all came back together and shared their reflections on the day.

Such experiential learning opportunities offer students insights into practice, emergent planning, teamwork, and a chance to apply the theory that they learn in the classroom.

The winning team!

Organiser, Lynsey Watt, said of the day: "I was delighted to see the teams working so hard to produce some excellent communications and multimedia content in relation to the developing crisis. The students worked well together, supporting each other and planning in real time to consider the implications of the attack. The resulting multi-channel outputs were measured and thoughtful, and the teams all applied their theoretical learning to the 'real' situation. The help from colleagues and student supporters to make the day run smoothly was very much appreciated too!"

The students who took part had a great learning experience. Here's what some of them had to say:

Addison CooperAddison Cooper, BA (Hons) Criminology
"I was looking at doing a cyber security unit, so it's nice to be able to do something related. I loved the practical edge of it and with the social media having those set up, pretending like it was real life."



Katherine GallacherKatherine Gallacher (captain of the winning team), MA Public Relations and Multimedia Communications
"We worked well as a team and the dynamics were really good. I feel like having the crisis staggered has been very beneficial - we took a very logical approach and didn't let it get to us."


Mike TraherMike Traher, MA Public Relations and Multimedia Communications
"I want to go into crisis and issues management as a career path, so it's really been insightful as to how quickly things can evolve and how you should try to respond to them."


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