I'm a graduate student, and I'm teaching an undergraduate seminar on a particular issue in value theory - the value of achievements, to be specific. There isn't a great deal of literature that deals directly with the issues. In fact, this is precisely why it's the subject of my dissertation! I wasn't planning on assigning anything of my own for the class to read and discuss, but the directions that our discussions have been taking suggest that it would be interesting and useful for the students to read.I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts about this, but here a few ideas to get things started: Gwen's clearly worried that students will be less critically engaged with her own work than they would with the work of others — hence, her suggestion of assigning it under a pseudonym. A small wrinkle is that pseudonymity probably wouldn't work for published work. But putting that aside, on the few occasions when I've assigned my own research, I didn't use a pseudonym because, in my estimation, students are more likely to mirror you, i.e., the engagement you manifest in your own research will engage them. I wrote this in the comments to the post I mention earlier:
Here's the issue. I would really prefer it if the student didn't know that I am the author. I would like them to feel totally uninhibited and free to criticize my arguments, and I think they will definitely be hampered in their critical engagement if they know they're reading something of mine. The paper that I want to assign (a chapter of my dissertation), isn't yet published anywhere. Would it be wrong if I assign the reading, but under a pseudonym?
An analogy: I often think of teaching as being a tour guide in an exotic city. I help the students navigate the intellectual terrain, pointing out the landmarks, explaining why they're landmarks, etc. This has the advantage (if you're a good guide) that students get a fair and reasonably thorough picture of the city. On the other hand, it conceals the fact that as a researcher, you're contributing to this growing city and that you care enough about the city to want to contribute to it. So what effects would students knowing the latter have on their conception of the instructor? Will they mirror the instructor by becoming less dispassionate and more engaged (since your research indicates you care, they might care more also) -- or are those gains offset by students' perceiving the instructor as less objective, as an interested party with an agenda?
Over time, I've begun to think that whatever the downside, it's outweighed by showing students that you're not just teaching material for the sake of teaching it — that you (and they!) are parties to a conversation, not just observers of it. But Gwen's concerns still strike me as entirely legitimate.