Dr. Richard Wilber
Director, USF Irish Travel/Study Tour
Head/Magazine Option, School of Mass Communications,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla. 33620 (813) 974-6792 (USF)
Rwilber@cas.usf.edu
Rickwilber@roadrunner.com

Course Syllabus
Mass Communications and Society
MMC 3602

Mass Communications and Society, MMC 3602, is designed to give students a broad overview of U.S. and international media systems, with a special focus on British and Irish media systems. The coursework includes classwork and assignments undertaken before the travel/study tour, and concludes with all material handed in and assignments completed within one week of our return. The coursework includes a residency at the University of Limerick, along with several days in London and several days in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland. The study/tour also includes a number of day trips by motor coach and several days of study in Dublin.

We will study the history, current status and future of U.S., Irish and European media systems, including newspapers, television, film, book publishing, magazines, sound recordings including popular music, new technologies and more. In addition, we will study elements of the modern mass media that include fiction and non-fiction writing, public relations, advertising, news, media theory, media convergence and electronic publications.

Students are expected to complete a number of readings before we leave for the travel/study tour. Those readings will be assigned before we go and will include several books, magazine articles, and films for you to rent and watch.

Students are also expected to keep a daily journal reflecting both assignments given by the instructor for that day and also a running commentary on what you are learning during the travel/study tour. These daily journal entries should be thoughtful reflections on the day’s events, sights, encounters, and assignments. The journals will be turned in at the conclusion of the tour, and later returned.

Students will also turn in a short special topics paper on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor. This paper will likely compare and contrast some element of the Irish media (film, television, newspapers, magazines, book publishing, radio, digital) with a similar element in the U.S., though other topics are possible. See the instructor for details. The paper will be hand-written or typed, in the range of 1000 words in length.

Grades will emerge from the journal entries, the special topics paper, and the completion of the scheduled assignments

Class Schedule:
.
Monday, July 26: We’ll board our flight at Tampa International and head for London, England, arriving early in the morning of Tuesday, July 27.

Tuesday, July 27: Afternoon lecture: British television and film. An overview of the history, financial structure, development, content of British television and film media. Assignments made to watch the BBC and be prepared to discuss content.

Wednesday, July 28: After an early breakfast, we will take part in a motor-coach day-trip tour of Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bath, with its famous Roman baths.

Thursday, July 29: Morning lecture. British print media and British theatre. An overview of history, financial structure, development and content of British newspapers, magazines and books. Afternoon performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. Students assigned to purchase particular print media and be prepared to discuss the following day.

Friday, July 30: Lecture while traveling by train to Wales and then by ferry to Dublin, discussing the relationship between England and Ireland and how that relationship has been portrayed in various media. Assignments made.

Saturday, July 31: Morning lecture on the history, development and current structure of the Irish broadcast media, followed by a motor-coach tour of the Boyne Valley and Newgrange, a Neolithic religious site.

Sunday, August 1: Morning lecture. Irish media. A brief overview of the history, development and current structure of the Irish media, with particular attention paid to print media in books, newspapers and magazines. Assignments made.

Monday, August 2: Morning lecture with brief assignments before we take an evening train across Ireland to Limerick, where we will check into our dormitory apartment accommodations at the University of Limerick and then enjoy a walk along the Shannon River which runs next to the campus. Assignments made to observe Irish-language media.

Tuesday, August 3: University of Limerick residency. We begin our workshops, readings and other activities during the residency on the campus of the National University of Ireland-Limerick campus. Several Irish writers and poets will take part. Later afternoon and evening open.

Wednesday, August 4: University of Limerick residency. We continue our workshops, readings and other activities during the residency on the campus of the University of Limerick campus. Late afternoon and evening open.

Thursday, August 5: University of Limerick residency. We continue our workshops, readings and other activities during the residency on the campus of the University of Limerick. Late afternoon and evening open.

Friday, August 6: After breakfast, we will be met by our Irish guide and board our motor coach for a day tour of the Shannon area, including the stunning Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the famous matchmaker town of Lisdoonvarna. Evening open.

Saturday, August 7: After breakfast, we will travel by motor coach and then by ferry to Inis More, the largest of the Aran Islands, where will see a pre-Celtic promontory fort, some early Christian sites, and the setting for one of the very first documentary films, “Man of Aran,” by Robert Flaherty. Discussion of early film history in general and documentaries in particular.

Sunday, August 8: Brief morning lecture on William Butler Yeats and the Irish Renaissance and then a motor-coach tour to Coole Park and nearby Galway.

Monday, August 9: We will check out of our dormitory apartments and head south to County Kerry. By late afternoon we will check into our bed-and-breakfast accommodations in Killarney, after which we will have the evening free to wander through the bustling town and its nearby National Park.

Tuesday, August 10: Morning lecture on media representations of Ireland under English rule. We will then spend the day seeing the sites in Killarney, including the impressive Muckross House estate, Torc waterfall, the Ladies’ View and more. Evening is open.

Wednesday, August 11: Morning lecture on the literature of the Blasket Islands. We then travel by motor coach on a daytrip to the Dingle Peninsula, a beautiful part of Kerry marked by mountains, stunning coastlines, Dingle Town, the Blasket Islands and more.

Thursday, August 12: Morning lecture on Irish travel and tourism as presented by modern media systems worldwide. We will cycle, walk, or ride horseback through the Gap of Dunloe, a stunning valley and mountain pass that is a visual highlight of the Killarney area.

Friday, August 13: Morning lecture and then we will travel by afternoon train across Ireland to Dublin, where we will spend the last night of the study tour.

Saturday, August 14: A mid-morning departure from Dublin as we head home. We arrive that night in Tampa, around 9 p.m.

Week following our return: all assignments due, journals turned in, grades reported.

As part of national accrediting standards, the USF School of Mass Communications complies with the following: “In course offerings across the curriculum, units also must help prepare students to understand, cover, communicate with, and relate to a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and otherwise diverse society. They must also include in their courses information about the major contributions made by minorities and women to the disciplines covered in the unit.”

Dr. Rick Wilber
Director, USF Irish Travel/Study Tour
Head/Magazine Option, School of Mass Communications,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Fla. 33620 (813) 974-6792 (USF)
Rwilber@usf.edu
Rickwilber@roadrunner.com

Course Syllabus
Professional Writing
MMC 4910 — 414

MMC 4910 — 414, Independent Study/Professional Writing, is designed to acquaint the students with the basic techniques of writing for publication for both fiction and non-fiction with our focus on travel writing, short stories and poetry. To that end, students will be expected to read the work of a variety of contemporary English and Irish including selections from the work of W.B.Yeats, Frank O’Connor, James Joyce, Paul Theroux, Jan Morris and others, including the instructor. We will bring both fiction and non-fiction into the course mix, and students will write by the tour’s end either a short story, or several poems, or a travel story. We will also pay attention to travel photography for those students with cameras and an interest in the topic. Grades will emerge from stories and exercises written and revised as part of each student’s journal writing.

Students are expected to keep a daily journal reflecting both assignments given by the instructor for that day and also a running commentary on what you are learning during the travel/study tour. These daily journal entries should be thoughtful reflections on the day’s events, sights, encounters, and assignments. The journals will be turned in at the conclusion of the tour and later returned.

Class schedule:

Monday, July 26: We’ll board our flight at Tampa International and head for London, England, arriving early in the morning of Tuesday, July 28.

Tuesday, July 27: Morning lecture: on-site research and reporting for travel writing. A writer’s guide to finding detail. Note-taking assignment.

Wednesday, July 28: After an early breakfast, we will take part in a motor-coach day-trip tour of Stonehenge, Salisbury Cathedral, and Bath, with its famous Roman baths. Assignment on taking notes, and on sights and sounds reportage, and on specificity of detail.

Thursday, July 29: Morning lecture. On-site research and reporting. Sights, sounds and sensory reporting for travel writing and for fiction. Afternoon performance at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. A writer’s guide to discovering detail. The naive eye. Note-taking assignment.

Friday, July 30: Lecture while traveling by train to Wales, discussing potential travel stories and/or works of short fiction. Grading and commentary on first note-taking assignments. A discussion of the relationship between England and Ireland and how that relationship has been portrayed in travel writing and in short fiction. First-impressions assignment made for Dublin.

Saturday, July 31: Morning lecture on Joyce and Ulysses, followed by a motor-coach tour of the Boyne Valley and Newgrange, a huge Neolithic tomb site which you will enter. Assignments made on writing history.

Sunday, August 1: Morning lecture. A brief overview of Dublin in contemporary travel writing (from material previously distributed to students) and in contemporary fiction with some particular attention paid to Roddy Doyle. Note-taking assignments made looking for those things that are distinctively Dublinesque. Visit to Trinity College and the Book of Kells. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle.

Monday, August 2: Morning lecture on short fiction, then we will take a late afternoon train across Ireland to Limerick, where we will check into our dormitory apartment accommodations at the University of Limerick and then enjoy a walk along the Shannon River which runs next to the campus.

Tuesday, August 3: University of Limerick residency. Workshops, readings and other activities during the residency on the campus of the National University of Ireland-Limerick campus. Several Irish writers and poets will take part. Later afternoon and evening open.

Wednesday, August 4: University of Limerick residency. We continue our workshops, readings and other activities during the residency on the campus of the University of Limerick campus. Late afternoon and evening open.

Thursday, August 5: University of Limerick residency. Workshops, readings and other activities during the residency on the campus of the University of Limerick. Late afternoon and evening open.

Friday, August 6: Morning lecture on short story “Seven Sisters,” (previously distributed to students). Assignments made for the day and by 10 am we will be met by our Irish guide and board our motor coach for a day tour of the Shannon area, including the stunning Cliffs of Moher, the Burren, and the famous matchmaker town of Lisdoonvarna. Evening open.

Saturday, August 7: After breakfast we will head to Doolin with Michael O’Connor, where we will board a ferry to head across the open Atlantic to the Aran Island of Inis Mor, with its ancient Celtic fort overlooking the distant mainland. Evening open back in Limerick.

Sunday, August 8: Brief morning lecture on Irish media presentation of Irish culture in the West of Ireland, with special attention paid to W.B. Yeats and the Irish Renaissance. Day tour by motor-coach to Galway and nearby Coole Park, with its W.B. Yeats associations

Monday, August 9: We will check out of our dormitory apartments and head south to County Kerry. By late afternoon we will check into our bed-and-breakfast accommodations in Killarney, after which we will have the evening free to wander through the bustling town and its nearby National Park.

Tuesday, August 10: Morning lecture on media representations of Ireland under English rule. We will then spend the day seeing the sites in Killarney, including the impressive Muckross House estate, Torc waterfall, the Ladies’ View and more. Evening is open.

Wednesday, August 11: Morning lecture on the literature of the Blasket Islands. We then travel by motor coach on a daytrip to the Dingle Peninsula, a beautiful part of Kerry marked by mountains, stunning coastlines, Dingle Town, the Blasket Islands and more.

Thursday, August 12: Morning lecture on Irish travel and tourism as presented by modern media systems worldwide. We will cycle, walk, or ride horseback through the Gap of Dunloe, a stunning valley and mountain pass that is a visual highlight of the Killarney area.

Friday, August 13: Morning lecture and then we will travel by afternoon train across Ireland to Dublin, where we will spend the last night of the study tour.

Saturday, August 14: A mid-morning departure from Dublin as we head home. We arrive that night in Tampa, around 9 p.m.

Week following our return: all assignments due, journals turned in, grades reported.

As part of national accrediting standards, the USF School of Mass Communications complies with the following: “In course offerings across the curriculum, units also must help prepare students to understand, cover, communicate with, and relate to a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and otherwise diverse society. They must also include in their courses information about the major contributions made by minorities and women to the disciplines covered in the unit.”

Partial Readings List:

Irish writers you should be familiar with before we go:

1) Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels, A Modest Proposal)
2) Bram Stoker (Dracula)
3) William Butler Yeats (poetry)
4) James Joyce (A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Ulysses, Dubliners)
5) Frank O’Connor (short stories)
6) Roddy Doyle (contemporary novelist)
7) Maeve Binchy (contemporary novelist/journalist)
8) Frank McCourt (contemporary memoirs)
9) Liam O’Flaherty (the short stories, in particular)
10) Molly McCloskey (short stories/novels)
11) David Rice (novelist)

Movies you should watch before we go:

1) The Matchmaker
2) The Quiet Man
3) Ryan’s Daughter
4) The Secret of Roan Inish
5) Michael Collins
6) Far and Away
7) My Left Foot
8) The Commitments
9) Waking Ned Devine

MMC 4900-014 Directed Readings
MMC 6900-014 Directed Readings (graduate level)

Ireland Travel/Study, 2010

You are expected to read four books and critically watch and appraise four movies for your three hours of credit. You may read or watch anything from the list. You can also query me on another book or film, which I will OK if it suits the purposes of the course and if I have read the book or seen the movie.
For each book, write a short book report of three or four pages in length, telling me about the author, describing what happens in the book, and then telling me what you learned from the book.
For each film, write a short two-page report giving me the background of the film (that you have researched) and then telling me what you’ve learned about Ireland by watching the film.
We will be discussing this material at considerable length during the study tour, and will have several classroom sessions on this material during the residency at the University of Limerick.

Books:
10) ULYSSES by James Joyce
11) DUBLINERS by James Joyce
12) Any good collection of poetry by William Butler Yeats
13) SETTING FOOT ON THE SHORES OF CONNEMARA by Tim Robinson
14) STONES OF ARAN by Tim Robinson
15) THE TEAPOTS ARE OUT AND OTHER ECENTRIC TALES OF IRELAND by John B. Keane
16) COLLECTED STORIES by Frank O’Connor
17) THE PICKWICK PAPERS by Charles Dickens
18) MY FATHER’S GAME: LIFE, DEATH, BASEBALL by Rick Wilber
19) A JOURNAL OF THE PLAGUE YEAR by Daniel Defoe
20) THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY by Marian Keyes
21) WILLIAM TREVOR: THE COLLECTED STORIES (Paperback)
22) THE COMMITMENTS by Roddy Doyle
23) THE SNAPPER by Roddy Doyle
24) Any novel by author/journalism Maeve Binchy
25) PROTECTION by Molly McCloskey
26) Any collection of poetry by Seamus Heaney

Movies:
1) MICHAEL COLLINS
2) RYAN’S DAUGHTER
3) THE COMMITMENTS
4) THE QUIET MAN
5) WAKING NED DEVINE
6) THE SECRET OF ROAN INISH
7) THE FIELD
8) THE SNAPPER
9) MY LEFT FOOT
10) THE MATCHMAKER
11) MAN OF ARAN

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