The material is an extensive site of information and podcasts related to literary criticism/literary theory. The material was created in association with a 300 level course taught by the site author but contains numerous pages of information on literary criticism created by the site author and a few outside links to websites as well as a course syllabus and some information about assignments and papers that were used in the course.
Students can learn about various theorists and schools of thoughts, from Pre-Hellenic Greece to Post-Modernism. In addition, the roles of theory and criticism and definitions related to literary/rhetorical criticism are included.
The information created by the site author and external links provide both general overviews of various areas of literary criticism as well as links to specific schools of thought, genres and podcasts of lectures related to various areas of literary criticism. Students who have little to no prior knowledge of literary criticism may find the site helpful for self-study but a student with some background in this area will find the site more useful since is an extensive amount of information covered on the site.
The material is credited to Keith Murphy of Fort Valley State University.
Type of Material:
This site can be used for individual assignments, homework, projects, class lectures. It may also be used for research purposes.
Fully accessible on the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer on Windows 7. Speakers required if user wants to listen to podcasts but no external program is needed to play podcasts.
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Students will develop an understanding of the major areas of literary theory both in relation to specific literary theory theorists and genres of literature.
Students will be able to apply the principles demonstrated in the material to their own academic research in literary theory.
Target Student Population:
College student - general education
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic computer/internet skills are needed to navigate site but no perquisite academic knowledge is needed.
This material is appealing with utilizing a soft background color with an easy to read font size and color. The images are nice features that makes one curious about their relation to literary/rhetorical criticism. In addition, this site allows users to access valuable information on well-known theorists, such as Pythagoras, Plato, and Socrates. Background information is also provided to allow one to understand its importance to a particular time period, for example, the historic and cultural conditions that led to the Greek Enlightenment period.
The material provides an excellent overview of the basics of literary theory and provides that information both in the form of written explanations and audio podcasts. The material overviews all major areas of literary theory and provides some external links to additional useful resources.
The site is technically associated with a specific course and syllabus so students who are not enrolled in that course may not find the material quite as useful as someone who has that course context in relation to the material.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site is an excellent source of materials for any student taking a literary/rhetorical class. These materials enables one to understand fully the concept of literary/rhetorical criticism, and how one should write an effective literary/rhetorical essay.
The site contains a huge amount of information so would be more effective as additional material in relation to a course as opposed to something students could learn quickly on their own. The sheer amount of material on the site may make it difficult for students to keep track of what they are learning without the structure of a course helping to organize the information.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The topics in the site are organized by category and progress from general to more specific information. A syllabus is provided to show how the material is associated with a 300 level undergraduate course in literary theory.
The number of links is overwhelming, and there are some that are not working properly. While they are categorized it would be easy to get lost in the website given the amount of information it covers which lowers the ratings of ease of use. The site does not really provide interactive content beyond what a student clicks on to read/listen to. The index page has a vivid yellow background with blue links which makes text hard to read. Various other pages in the site have different colored backgrounds (ex. white, pale blue, and more bright yellow) so the readability of each page really depends on the background color.
Other Issues and Comments:
A large amount of information
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