MERLOT Voices

Putting Educational Innovations into Practice.

Regardless of what the umbrella category is, more serious discussions concern what categories belong in this discipline. Currently, the following sub-topics are included:
Communications (23)
Composition (69)
Criticism (10)
Drama and Theatre (15)
History (17)
Journalism (12)
Linguistics (47)
Literature (148)
Poetry (35)
Rhetoric (17)
Speech (14)

By the way, the number in parentheses indicates the number of materials in each category. Normally, when one of the sub-categories reaches 100, we need to provide further sub-categories.

Well, let's have your recommendations.

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Replies to This Discussion

That would make sense, to sub-divide English Literature. For that we can rely on the standard divisions that the vast majority of lit textbooks have, I would think, but that is not my field of expertise. I notice the omission of ESL, which may mean that we need to ferret out those materials that are ESL or encourage ESL instructors to send in some.
I agree that some disciplines need to be moved to another place. I'm not sure I agree that journalism should. (I have a middle school and high school background and I'm often thinking of K-12 as well as higher ed.)


I think your flow chart is a wonderful start. Some other issues for consideration: Some 2-yr. colleges also organize literature by genre: poetry, short fiction, the novel, drama. Some may be searching for poetry lessons, for example. Where would those researchers begin? In addition, what about creative writing?
I have to agree with Kim -- I think journalism belongs here, along with the other writing areas (professional and technical communication, public relations writing).
When I go to these categories and look at what is contained in each of them, I can see the task of selecting subcategories will be challenging. I wonder that we might not be at risk of overthinking this a little bit because contributors will put their work where they want, no matter what the category is.

For example, in the rhetoric category there are a couple of submissions based on Joseph Campbell's hero's journey. I would have been inclined to put those in the literature category, not rhetoric. In that same category, there is a submission on ballot design and one on famous speeches.

In communication, there's everything from video production to email etiquette.

I would agree that creating subcategories for literature might be useful: poetry, short story, novel, etc., but I wonder if we can create sub-sub categories, that is, subcategories under literature. The same kind of approach might work for communications: speech, journalism, etc.

So much of the material can be used in different ways for different purposes that we can't possibly encompass it all in neat categories. At some point, the users have to make their own determinations.
MERLOT can add sub-categories down to several levels. Our normal policy is to come up with a general listing of categories. Then, when a category has more than 100 entries we break it down further. For example, looking at Andrea's pdf file, we may want to start with the three language categories and the three literature ones. (Composition, Rhetoric, Linguistics) and British Literature, American Literature, and World Literature). If we have more than 100 entries for American Literature, then it would be further divided into Pre-Civil War and Post-Civil War. I'm only suggesting this as an example of how the categorization process is done. Hence, we really don't want a LOT of categories right now. Does that make sense?
I'm thinking we may need to look at the materials we're sorting before we come up with subcategories. I decided to look at the first 20 items in the "Literature" category, and what I found didn't divide up very neatly. Here's what I got, just creating subcategories as I went:
English Lit:
  • The Tennyson Page
  • Folger Shakespeare Library
  • Edwin Duncan's Chaucer Page
American Lit:
  • Documenting the American South
  • Mark Twain in His Times
  • Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening
  • Literature--What Makes a Good Short Story? (about Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers”—but focus is really on short story genre)
  • The Walt Whitman Archive [listed as “The Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive”]
Mixed English and American:
  • The Poetry Archives
General Literature:
  • Literary Resources on the Net
Myth and Sacred Texts:
  • Encyclopedia Mythica
  • The Big Myth
  • Internet Sacred Text Archive
Mixed Language Full-Text Reprints:
  • The Literature Collection
Not English:
  • LiTgloss (literature not in Eng & annotated, not translated--apparently for teaching other languages & their literatures, though possibly useful in a world literature course)
Not Lit:
  • Intellimetric (This is an automatic-essay-scoring site which appears to be selling a service.)
Dead Links:
  • Chaucer
  • Literature and Composition Resources
  • Wordsmyth (Though dead, this link illustrates a problem. It was a language site, but it was submitted in literature, presumably because it would be a useful reference tool. The problem, of course, is that a very large number of sites could function as useful reference tools for literature.)
  • Shakespeare Web Poetry Applet
I'm wondering if functional categories (full-text sites, reference sites, teaching module sites, lesson plan sites, etc.) might be more useful and less confusing to create.
Thanks for doing this, Becky. Keep in mind, though, that we hope to have people add many more materials to the collection. We should, of course, look at what is there, but we also want to make sure that we cover everything to help people discover the English materials. I anticipate that this community will have an increase in materials now that it is being established as an English discipline. I'll also check on those broken links. I hate to see that!! :-(
I sent an email to the authors of Chaucer and Literature and Composition Resources and asked them to update the URLs.

I changed the link for Wordsmyth - so it is no longer dead

I found the Shakespeare Web Poetry Applet listed in many places on the internet, but all of them were dead links. The email to the author was returned. I even searched for the author online and couldn't find him. Since all the links were dead, and since there were no Comments (other than "this is a dead link") or Assignments, we decided to delete the material.
How about this?

English Language and Literature

I. Language
A. Linquistics
B. Composition & Rhetoric
C. Communications

II. Literature
A. Poetry
B. Drama
C. Prose Fiction
D. Prose Nonfiction
On today's call we determined that it should be:
English Language and Literature

I. Language
A. Linquistics
B. Composition & Rhetoric
C. Communications
D. General

II. Literature
A. Poetry
B. Drama
C. Prose Fiction
D. Prose Nonfiction
E. General

Are there any objections to this new classification?
Looks good to me.
I actually made an error above. Communications should be Speech and Communications

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