School of Communication University of Miami Syllabus Summer I, 2016 The Galapagos Islands: Environment and Culture, Writing, Research, Critical Thinking

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School of Communication

University of Miami


Summer I, 2016
The Galapagos Islands: Environment and Culture, Writing, Research, Critical Thinking

JMM 595-01/692-01

May 9-31, 2016

3 Credits

This course is part of the comprehensive six-credit, Galapagos Summer program


On location for three weeks in the Galapagos Islands and on the mainland of Ecuador with field trips en route at the Panama Canal in Panama City, Panama, and in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Professor: Joseph B. Treaster

Office: 2021 Wolfson

Hours: By appointment all day, most days in Miami; 24 hours a day in the Galapagos

Telephones: 917 575 9562, 305 284 5246



This is a three-credit course in the environment and culture of the Galapagos Islands. It is a course in writing, research and analytical thinking that makes the most of all the tools of digital communication and capitalizes on the distinctive characteristics of the Galapagos. It is paired with another three-credit course, The Galapagos Islands: Social Media and Global Strategic Communication to form the six-credit Galapagos Summer program.

The separate courses are led by Professors Joseph B. Treaster, a long-time foreign correspondent and reporter for The New York Times and Professor Heidi Carr, a specialist in public relations and advertising and a former reporter and editor for the Miami Herald. The distinctly different courses work closely together to provide a stronger learning experience than either course alone. Both courses have a central focus on the environment and culture of the Galapagos. Each class requires a separate capstone project and each has its own requirements and assignments.
The six-credit program, Galapagos Summer, provides hands-on experiential learning and is designed to benefit students across a wide range of disciplines. The program immerses students in all majors in the beauty of the Galapagos and guides them in individually developed programs that sharpen communication capabilities needed in all careers. Part of the experiential learning is a community service project.
The learning in the Galapagos is fun. Students swim with sea lions and marine iguanas, get within inches of giant Galapagos tortoises and nesting blue-footed boobies, climb volcanos and explore isolated beaches and kayak in tranquil lagoons. They talk with fishermen as they bring in their catches of tuna and wahoo, have meals in beachfront mom and pop restaurants and sometimes sing along with little pickup groups of Galapagos musicians with guitars and drums. It is all part of the research, all part of the learning. This kind of learning is sometimes referred to as experiential learning and it is a cornerstone of summer abroad education.
The Galapagos Summer program has been shepherding University of Miami students to the Galapagos Islands for several years and many students say that the experience has profoundly affected them. It was “the most interesting three weeks of my life,” one student said. Another said she would “never again experience something as magical as the nature of the Galapagos.”


  • Develop an understanding of the culture and environment of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and of how they relate to the rest of the world

  • Develop and strengthen skills in research, interviewing, writing and critical thinking

  • Enhance understanding of the synergies between words, photographs, video and sound in the digital age

  • Develop comprehensive skills required for digital story telling

  • Increase Social Media skills

  • Increase confidence and leadership skills

  • Provide an introduction to Latin American culture and society, the economy, business and the environment through study in two global cities and several island communities


This course is open to all undergraduate and graduate students in all majors by permission of the instructor with approval of the Office of Study Abroad.


Attendance is mandatory. Only illness is a reason to fail to participate in classes, field trips and other events. Other absences will result in a reduction of two points each on the final course grade. Late arrivals and early departures will result in a reduction of one point on the final grade. There is no make-up of missed classes or of missed work. All work must be completed in the Galapagos.

REQUIRED TEXT: Basssett, Carol Ann, Galapagos at the Crossroads, National Geographic Books/Random House, New York, 2009, ISBN-10: 1426204027, ISBN-13: 978-1426204029


Darwin, Charles, Voyage of the Beagle, Penguin Books, London and New York, 1989, republication of 1839 text, ISBN-13: 978-0-140-43268-8;

Darwin, Charles, The Origin of Species, Barnes & Noble Classics, New York, 2004, (First published 1859), ISBN-13:978-1-59308-077-8;

Kessler, Lauren and McDonald, Duncan, When Words Collide, A Media Writer’s Guide to Grammar and Style, 5th edition, Wadsworth Publishing; 8th edition, 2011, ISBN-10: 0495572403, ISBN-13: 978-0495572404;

Stovall, James G., Writing for the Mass Media, 9th edition. Pearson. ISBN-10:0205043445, IBN-13: 9780205043446


The Poynter Institute, brief online workshops and classes with useful aspects of writing across all fields, The Poynter Institute


Students learn and practice a range of writing and research techniques that may be applied across all platforms in the digital age. This is a multimedia course that draws its sustenance from the environment and culture of Latin America, with a concentration in the Galapagos Islands. In three required workshops in Miami, each student develops a research project. The project combines research, writing, photography, video and audio recording to produce an Internet style magazine article. The project requires daily research, writing and editing. Much of the content evolves from field trips to places like tortoise migration routes and blue-footed booby nesting places and are accompanied by lectures from the University of Miami professors and experts in the islands. The best of the student articles are published in The Miami Planet, the University of Miami’s environmental magazine online. Each day two students are designated group leaders. They take the lead in discussions and are responsible for keeping the group on time. On field trips, one student leader takes a position at the front of the group with the Galapagos guide and the other follows immediately behind the group. rips All work in the Galapagos must be completed in the Galapagos. No make-ups.


This course is for graduate and undergraduate students. Graduate students carry a heavier work load. Undergraduates are encouraged to work toward the higher standard. Grading follows the standard practice at the University of Miami. Here are the quantitative and qualitative scales:

A+ 97-100, A 93-96, A- 90-92, B+87-89, B 84-86, B- 80-83,

C+ 77-79, C 74-76, C- 70-73, D+ 67-69, D 64-66, D- 60-63, F 59 and below

A = Superior Attainment, B = Above Average, C = Average, D = Below Average,

E = Unacceptable/failure

How Grades Will Be Calculated:

Graduate Students*

Participation 10 percent

Field Trip Research 20 percent Analytical Seminars, research, discussion 20 percent

Capstone Project 50 percent

Undergraduate Students

Participation 10 percent

Field Trip Research 20 percent

Analytical Seminars, research, discussion 30 percent

Capstone Project 40 percent

*Additional Work for Graduate Students

Graduate students are required to complete a research project that demonstrates narrative skills using a wide range of communication tools. The project will be developed in consultation with the faculty.


Students enrolled in this course are expected to abide by the University of Miami Honor Code. The purpose of the Honor Code is to protect the academic integrity of the University by encouraging consistent ethical behavior in assigned coursework. Academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated.

No student wants to be guilty of the intellectual crime of plagiarism, even unintentionally. Therefore, we provide you with these guidelines so that you don't accidentally fall into the plagiarism trap.

Plagiarism is the taking of someone else's words, work, or ideas, and passing them off as a product of your own efforts. Plagiarism may occur when a person fails to place quotation marks around someone else's exact words, directly rephrasing or paraphrasing someone else's words while still following the general form of the original, and/or failing to issue the proper citation to one’s source material.

In student work, plagiarism is often due to:

  • Turning in someone else's paper as one’s own

  • Using another person’s data or ideas without acknowledgment

  • Failing to cite a written source (printed or Internet) of information that you used to collect data or ideas

  • Copying an author’s exact words and putting them in the paper without quotation marks

  • Rephrasing an author’s words and failing to cite the source

  • Copying, rephrasing, or quoting an author’s exact words and citing a source other than where the material was obtained. (For example, using a secondary source that cites the original material, but citing only the primary material. This misrepresents the nature of the scholarship involved in creating the paper. If you have not read an original publication, do not cite it in your references as if you have.

  • Using wording that is very similar to that of the original source, but passing it off as one’s own.

  • The last item is probably the most common problem in student writing. It is still plagiarism if the student uses an author’s key phrases or sentences in a way that implies they are his/her own, even if s/he cites the source.


This schedule may chang to make the most of opportunities that arise.

Students accepted into the program are required to participate in three orientation briefings and discussions in March and April 2016.
Galapagos Summer:

Day 1 - May 9, Monday - Depart Miami for Galapagos Islands via Panama and Guayaquil, Ecuador. Arrive at Miami International Airport two hours before scheduled departure to Panama City, Panama. Focus: The Panama Canal. Hotel Plaza Paitilla Inn. Check-in, lunch near the Panama Canal, lecture, Latin America, communication in the digital age. First day of writing, reporting, audio recording and visual work: A first glimpse of the culture and social systems of Latin America. At the Panama Canal, observation of one of the world’s engineering marvels, discussion on the expansion of the Canal and international implications for business and the environment. Dinner at Mi Ranchito, palm-shaded, open-air restaurant, overlooking the Bay of Panama. Transportation contact: Hector Aparicio, 507 66 75 63 78, Meet him at Panama’s international airport. Hotel Plaza Paitilla Inn contacts: Fluvia Landau, reservations, 507 208-0600/ 208-0616, mobile: 507 6948 8925, and Hector Aparicio, night manager, 507 66 75 63 78.

Day 2 - May 10, Tuesday - Leave Panama, early morning flight to Guayaquil. Arrive Guayaquil mid-day. Driver meets us at airport, takes us to hotel. Lunch in La Canoa, one of Guayaquil’s best and most authentic Ecuadoran restaurants. An expert on Guayaquil’s history, architecture and environment leads us on an exploration of downtown Guayaquil, the Guaya River waterfront and the city’s lush botanical garden. We study the behavior of green, land iguanas in the city’s central park. Discussion: environmental, social and economic issues in a large city in the developing world. Minimum of 500 words in writers’ journals. Collection of background material for Galapagos multimedia projects. Hotel Continental.

Day 3 - May 11, Wednesday - Leave Guayaquil early morning for the Galapagos Islands. Arrive at the main airport in the Galapagos on Baltra Island late morning. Washington Paredes, a senior National Parks guide and the vice mayor of the town of Puerto Ayora, meets us at the Baltra ferry landing with a bus that takes us to the Hotel Castro in Puerto Ayora, the main town on the island of Santa Cruz, 593-052-526113, cell: 593 098 297 9431;, Maritza Munoz. The Hotel Castro will be our base on Santa Cruz. Lunch and group interview with Roslyn Cameron of the Galapagos Conservancy,, 593 0 988 672-107. Ms. Cameron talks with us about the environment, conservation and how the islands have changed over the last three decades, Walking lecture with Ms. Cameron in Puerto Ayora. Interviews, photo and video research with commercial fishermen, workers and visitors at open-air fish market and fishing wharf where sea lions and pelicans compete for scraps of fresh fish. Field trip to Charles Darwin Research Center with Washington Paredes, our principal guide on Santa Cruz Island: Observation and study of giant Galapagos tortoises, breeding, life-cycle, dangers confronting them and conservation efforts. Dinner, explore port town of Puerto Ayora, observe sea lions and Galapagos sea birds and observe social-cultural activities of Galapagos residents in municipal park and main pier. Reflections and discussion over dinner.

Day 4 - May 12, Thursday –Field trip to Tortuga Bay Beach with guide Washington Paredes to see sea birds, sea turtles, sea lions and white tipped sharks, one-hour hike. Study ocean erosion, mangrove formation and lagoon features, indigenous plants and small birds. Lecture, reflections, field work on multimedia projects, writing, recording, video and photography and individual conferences with Professor Treaster.

Day 5 – May 13, Friday – Lecture, reflections, field work on multimedia projects, writing, recording, video and photography and individual conferences with Professor Treaster. First draft of capstone project due.

Day 6 – May 14, Saturday – Lecture, reflections, field work on multimedia capstone projects, writing, audio recording, video and photography and individual conferences with Professor Treaster. Hike through mangrove swamp to Las Griatas natural spring, sea birds and tropical plants and trees.

Day 7 – May 15, Sunday – Field trip to the highlands of Santa Cruz to work with giant Galapagos land tortoises along migration route, explore volcanic caves and craters and climb one of the highest spots in the Galapagos. Washington Paredes picks us up at the Hotel Castro in a bus. Lunch in the highlands, reflections. In the caves, demonstration and lecture on the formation of volcanic caves and tunnels.

Day 8 - May 16, Monday – Lecture, reflections, field work on multimedia capstone projects, writing, recording, video and photography and individual conferences with Professor Treaster.

Day 9 – May 17, Tuesday – Field trip by boat, island cruiser, to Bartolome Island for a study of the geology of the islands, snorkeling with sea lions and schools of fish. En route see blue-footed boobies and frigate birds contesting for food at the island of Daphne Major, one of their nesting places. Research on multimedia capstone projects.

Day 10 – May 18, Wednesday -Lecture, reflections, field work on multimedia projects, writing, recording, video and photography and individual conferences with Professor Treaster. Production workshop for capstone project: putting together the pieces of research for publication.

Day 11 – May 19, Thursday – Field trip by boat – island cruiser -- to North Seymour Island and Bachas Beach with Washington Paredes. Lunch on the boat. Concentrations of nesting, blue-footed boobies and frigate birds on North Seymour; flamingos and marine iguana colonies at Bachas Beach. Swim with sea lions. Lecture and reflections. Day 12 – May 20, Friday – Lecture, reflections, field work on multimedia capstone projects, writing, recording, video and photography and individual conferences with Professor Treaster. Turn in second draft of multimedia capstone project, writing, audio recordings, video and photos. Second production workshop: putting together the pieces of research for publication.

Day 13 – May 21, Saturday – Editing of capstone projects and more interviews and other research to fill in gaps in earlier research.

Day 14 - May 22, Sunday - Field trip to Santa Fe island and onward to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island, accompanied by guide Washington Paredes. Swim with sea lions and turtles. See herds of sea lions, colonies of Barrington land iguanas. Our base on San Cristobal is the small hotel, Casa de Nelly, 593-52 520-358,, a short walk from a beach with sea lion and marine iguana colonies. Sunset at Playa Mann. Lecture, reflections and analytical discussion.

Day 15 – May 23, Monday - Darwin Bay, the cliff-protected cove where Charles Darwin first landed in the Galapagos Islands in 1835 aboard the sailing ship the HMS Beagle. Swim in the crystalline waters with sealions, take selfies with a towering statue of Darwin on one of the high, rocky points overlooking the Bay and the vast Pacific Ocean. Darwin the statute rises in a part of San Cristobal Island with pin-wheeling frigate birds, colonies of marine iguanas, hideaway mangrove beaches, trees that seem to reach to the sky and magnificent views. It is a patch of the Galapagos called Cerro Las Tijeretas or Frigate Bird Hill. On the edge of Frigate Bird Hill, the Ecuadoran government has built the Galapagos Interpretation Center with sections on the history and science of the islands. Christofer Zebola, who grew up nearby, is our guide. Individual conferences with Professor Joe Treaster.

Day 16 - May 24, Tuesday – Lecture, reflections, field work on multimedia capstone projects, writing, recording, video and photography and individual conferences with Professor Treaster. Turn in third draft of multimedia capstone project, writing, audio recordings, video and photos. Third production workshop: putting together the pieces for publication.

Day 17 – May 25, Wednesday - Lecture, reflection, analytical discussion. Fourth production workshop: putting together the pieces of research for publication. Individual editing and production conferences with Professor Treaster

Day 18 – May 26 – Thursday - Reflection, analytical discussion. One on one, editing and production sessions and last minute research.

Day 19 – May 27, Friday – Field trip, hike to Junco Lake, a fresh water lake at 2,100 feet in the highlands of San Cristobal, with a national parks guide. Briefing at La Galapaquera, giant Galapagos tortoise conservation center. Lunch at country-style restaurant. Afternoon at Puerto China Beach and Playa Brava, sea lions, sea birds, volcanic rock, observation of ocean currents and beach structure, erosion patterns. Lecture, analytical discussion, reflections; study wildlife, plants and volcanic formations. Individual conferences with Professor Treaster . One on one, editing and production sessions and last minute research. Next to last capstone project review.

Day 20 - May 28 Saturday – Field and production work on multimedia capstone projects, writing, recording, video and photography, group reflection and review and individual conferences with Professor Treaster. One on one, editing and production sessions and last minute research. All work must be completed before we leave the Galapagos.

Day 21– May 29, Sunday – Observation of sea lion colonies displaced by new airport, note relationships between mothers, cubs and bull sea lions and the sounds and movements they use to communicate. Final editing and posting of the last of the multimedia capstone project.

Day 22 – May 30, Monday - Hike to tropical bird and sea lion sanctuary at Playa de Lobos. Seminar discussion. Lecture, reflections; final review of multimedia capstone projects before hitting the publish button. Write 400 words of reflection on the Galapagos experience. Farewell sunset at Playa Mann.

Day 23 – May 31, Tuesday - Fly to Miami via Guayaquil and Panama. Arrive Miami shortly after midnight. #####

This course emphasizes applied skills and the production and publication of news stories and creative work– both in terms of text and multimedia. What we produce in this class, as submitted by you or as later edited and modified, may be published and displayed by the University. Therefore, we require your consent to such uses of the material you produce individually or as part of a team effort as well as your consent to use your name and likeness. Unless you are working on a special project that requires an assignment of ownership rights and you agree to that assignment, you own your work, as far as the University is concerned. You may use your work for your portfolio and your purposes. If you have any questions about the consent form below, please let your professor know. Thank you.

Tear off and return with information required below:
Student Acknowledgement and Consent:

I agree and understand that images (e.g., photographs and video) of my likeness, recordings of my voice and stories i have written or helped produce, shoot or edit, may appear in websites, various publications, other media and in related materials produced or published by the University of Miami, School of Communication and/or any of its employees, agents, licensee#s or contractors (collectively, “UM”). My signature below grants the following rights to UM: the right to use and re-use, license, publish and republish, modify, exhibit, transmit, obtain, and make derivative uses of any stories, articles, photographs, broadcasts, films, videotapes, images or recordings (“WORKS”) of me or made or created by me, in whole or in part, or in which I may have participated as a student in (Class number). I agree that these WORKS may be used for editorial, promotional, trade, advertising, commercial, educational and any other lawful purpose in any medium now existing or subsequently developed. My agreement is a grant of worldwide rights in perpetuity.
SIGNED: ________________________________________________
PRINTED NAME: ________________________________________
DATE: __________________________________________________
EMAIL: _______________________________________
I HAVE RECEIVED AND READ THE SYLLABUS FOR JMM 595-01/692-01The Galapagos Islands: Environment and Culture, Writing, Research, Critical Thinking 2016
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