Paideia is Luther's version of a First Year Seminar - every freshmen takes the class for their entire first year. Paideia is a common course, meaning all freshmen students are reading the same books at the same time, and all freshmen students have papers due on the same day. However, each semester Paideia professors get the chance to take their class into their own field - for example, my Paideia professor is from the African American Studies department, so first semester we read W.E.B. DuBois' The Souls of Black Folk.
Second semester Paideia is famous for its research paper. Every Luther freshmen will turn in an 8-10 page research paper on the same day, and everyone will have a minimum of six sources for their essay. Beyond that, the paper is really up to the professor. My class is again focusing on African American history, and our class is writing about African Americans in The Jazz Age. Our essay is due on the 11th, and then we will meet with our professor to talk it over, and everyone will turn in a rewrite of their essay after Spring Break.
The Paideia research paper has an all-around negative connotation to it: it's time-consuming, it's difficult, and it's something that most college students haven't had to do before. While I definitely believe that this paper is super time consuming and stressful (I swear every single freshman has a cold right now), I do understand where Luther is coming from on this one. Paideia really helps Luther students to become good writers - plus, by having to write this research paper, I've become much more accustomed to using library resources and looking up things in an online journal. I also think having time to meet one-on-one with a professor to discuss our writing is a really valuable tool - essentially every single class you take in college will have a huge writing component. Learning how to write an academic paper and becoming more confident in writing abilities definitely helps college students to succeed in school.
I do think this paper will benefit me in my future of academic writing ... but that definitely doesn't mean I want to work on it anymore!!