Introducing each other Pair up with someone you don’t know very much about.
Talk to him/her Eye contact. Good listener. Clear communicator. In ten minutes, you’ll each be asked to introduce the other, and then critique the other person’s intro of you.
Note This is not just a schmaltzy exercise in team building. Academia involves a great deal of listening/reading carefully, synthesizing/summarizing what you’ve heard, presenting content to others, and mutual critique. So it actually relates to the topics of the course (as well as being a schmaltzy team building exercise). Here’s what you’ll be asked to do, ~10 minutes from now…
Tasks Person 1: Tell us about partner – What is her/his name? – What program is s/he in? – What was s/he doing 1 year ago? – What was s/he doing 1 month ago? – What research topics/work areas is s/he interested in? – What out-of-school activities does s/he like? – What else did you learn about her/him from your discussion? Person 2: Critique – Kindly but rigorously point out flaws, missed points, etc. Then switch roles.
Goal of the Course Help you become successful academic researchers (or successful in whatever information work you may some day end up doing).
Primary Target PhD students, MS students interested in pursuing PhDs some day, MS students interested in learning about research Alternate target: non-research focused students who are required to take this course to graduate. (I’ll try to provide alternate paths through the various assignments that are of value to you. If you would like to propose a particular alternate assignment that is more relevant to your life plan, please let me know.)
Quick Poll 10-15 minute break half-way through, or end class 10-15 minutes early?
Attendance Attendance is mandatory. Please contact me in advance if you anticipate a conflict for any reason.
Grading 30% participation 30% interim assignments 40% final project
Assignment trajectory Breadth->Depth 1 hypothetical CV with 5 years of future work on it 5 hypothetical abstracts 2 real lit searches 1 real related work section 1 real methods section 1 4000-7000 word start of an academic paper
Learning Goals CV: Community standards/expectations, long-term thinking Abstracts: Finding research topics, scoping projects Lit Searches: Finding prior work, using tools for managing references, revising content in light of new material Related Work: Situating research in an intellectual context, establishing originality and significance Methods: Determining appropriate processes for conducting research Start of paper: Describing why a research project is interesting/important Entire trajectory: One potential process for developing a research project
Outcomes One project well under way Several others in the back of your mind Understanding of at least one processes for beginning others
Assignments for the quarter Grading: Check/no check on all parts up until the final paper. All content should hopefully be useful to you. Final paper graded on traditional A-F scale. Participation graded on attendance, contributions
Discuss Alternate Trajectories MS Students (If it’s a longer discussion, take time at the end with interested students)
Assignment for next week (Part 1) Begin exploring the ACM Digital Library, Google Scholar, and other sources to find papers that interest you. Read their abstracts, skim their content, and look at the web pages of their authors. (No deliverable)
Assignment for next week (Part 2) Make a professional web page for yourself. Include current CV. Upload URL to DropBox
Note: Unless you let me know otherwise, all assignments for this course may be used as examples on which to base our in-class discussions.
Note 2: It is appropriate to work on the assignment for a given week with an awareness of future assignments. In fact, it will likely make the process more efficient. This is also true of a PhD thesis – the process is designed to build on itself. (The process doesn’t work as well if you keep switching topics, though.)
If the Goal Is to Do Great Work… What advice do you have for each other, based on your varied life/work experiences? Learning from each other
You Know More than I Do Maybe not every one of you on every topic. But taken together, you know more than I do on just about everything. (Maybe not environmental issues in information technology, simulating social relationships, or making puppet films. :) )
None (Well, Half) Shall Pass ~50% of PhD students don’t graduate. Why not?
Lack of Guidance/Orientation Is, in some ways, intentional. Can you work when no one is telling you to work? Can you care more than anyone else cares? Can you know more than anyone else knows? These are questions of self-motivation, not of being assigned specific tasks.
Unstructured Time You have been given a mandate by society (your culture, your family, yourself) to pursue knowledge and understanding at a high level. Many of the people involved don’t know *why* it’s important, but they sense that it *is* important. Need to discover what works best for you in living your life as a productive researcher.
Why is it important? Someone needs to be thinking broadly and deeply about how the world has been, how it is, how it will be, and how it could be. That’s you.