Tuesday, December 12, 2006

difficulty: seminar paper = communication?

I have assembled notes and little sticky post-its. I am well-prepared to write a seminar paper. Yet I've been putting off starting all day in favor of grading (yes indeed!), working on next semester's syllabus, and working at the nearby food co-op (that part wasn't optional). Finally I've realized that, as I've grown more used to the idea of a professional community, presenting at conferences and all that - and as I've emphasized to my students the importance of keeping an audience in mind as they write - I've significantly diminished my own motivation for writing a seminar paper.

Who's the immedidate audience for this paper? A professor who, I am fairly confident, already has a sense of my intellectual abilities - so the "prove yourself to the prof" motivation isn't there. Am I only writing this paper for myself, to work through ideas about genre floating through my head? That's too idealistic for motivational purposes. I've chosen a topic that isn't directly related to my main research interests, and I can't imagine adapting it into a presentation for my university's grad conference this spring, unless I took the topic metaphorically (which [a ray of hope!] they do tend to encourage). I wonder whether a few of my friends in the class would scoff at the idea of circulating our seminar papers among ourselves, just to expose them to a broader audience? Hmm. Must combine all these semi-motivations into one propulsive force.


Breena Ronan said...

I have considered circulating papers among students before. Honestly my profs don't seem to have time to read my papers in depth, so I have to look for other people to give me feedback.

kermitthefrog said...

I'm seriously thinking about sending an email invite out to other people in the class, if only because today didn't seem to produce much at all...

also, welcome to the blog!