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Generating Student Interest

How to generate student interest in a paper?

 Student freedom—if the prompt doesn’t seem to give the student enough freedom, work on defining the sorts of relevant rhetorical problems that do:
  • Freedom to choose the topic of the paper
    • How can we expect students to get excited about writing a paper if they don’t find its topic interesting?
  • Freedom to structure and write the paper in their own way
    • Too much structure, such as overly explicit guidelines, can:
      • Make writing boring for the student, thereby hurting motivation
      • Induce students to take short cuts
      • Inspire overly formulaic writing
      • Mire students down in the prompt so they focus on certain aspects of the assignment but ignore others
  • Urge the student to write with a definitive (and ideally real-world) audience in mind
    • Engaging with the “real world” through writing is one of the most direct means of fomenting genuine student engagement
      • It also increases student civic engagement