Course Review: CMN 3130

Written by: Sarah Dean

Edited by: Patricia Michelena

CMN3130| Communication Planning

Professor: Evan Potter

Communication Planning, CMN 3130, was by far the most beneficial and hands on course I have taken so far in my University career. Both Evan Potter and Natalie Montgomery taught this course during the fall semester of 2014. Although I can genuinely say Natalie Montgomery was one of the greatest professors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with, I cannot personally comment on her Communication Planning course, or review it. My professor for this course was Evan Potter, the supervisor of the Journalism program at U of O.

As I approached the fourth year of my communications degree, I was ecstatic to start classes that didn’t require me to sit in a lecture hall with 300 people, listening to a professor speak for 3 hours a week. Don’t get me wrong, these professors were brilliant, and I learned more about communication theories and issues surrounding this particular industry than I could have imagined. However, I was ready for the practical experience, and was eager to really learn what it meant to be a communicator.

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This is exactly what Communication Planning taught me. It was a third year course, consisting of a 3-hour night class, with approximately 60 people in a small sized classroom. Additionally, there was one required textbook for this class, and although it was expensive and could probably be found online, I found it extremely helpful to study for the midterm and exam. Each class consisted of discussions of current issues relating to crisis communications and communication planning within an organization. This was by far the greatest part of this course, and allowed us as students to relate all the theories and practices we were learning to real life situations we were interested in. On top of that, each class ended with in-class group work of completely a communication plan, adding a new step or aspect each week, and then briefly presenting our material to the class.

Every course comes with some negative aspects. In this case, these negatives were the midterm and final exams. Although they seemed like deal breakers at the time, because I found them absolutely horrible, they actually weren’t as bad as I thought once I received my marks back.

The midterm was a group project, that was very time consuming and unlike any other project I’d done so far. We were to create a public environment analysis, which consisted of a public opinion scan and a media analysis, from 50 news articles and other articles/ sources given to us. This may seem difficult enough, but to make it even harder the material was only handed out the very last day of classes before reading week, and the final project was due the very first day back from reading week. This made it impossible to meet with group members more than once, resulting in work none of us were proud to submit. On a positive note, the professor graded very quickly and although we thought it was poorly done, we received an A, so none of us could really complain.

In terms of the final exam, it seemed very straight forward going into it, as we were told exactly what we had to do and what we had to know in terms of theories and practices. However, this was the only final I had ever written that took me over 3 hours to complete. When I walked out of the final exam classroom after 3.5 hours, 95% of the students were still writing. The exam clearly had too much information and not enough time. However, like the midterm, it was also graded quite well, so I can’t really complain too much about that either.

This class was challenging enough, but not so much that it made it impossible to be productive. Every class seemed like we were learning new strategies we could actually use in our future careers, which was a really great change from other classes I’ve taken in Communications. Although there were some issues with the testing, overall I really enjoyed both the prof and the course as a whole.

Rating: 8/10

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