2007 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 24, 2007
HUB West Ballroom

Session Description


Zines! Student Expression through Creative Scholarship

Kari Lerum, Amanda Hornby, and Suzan Parker - Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; UWB Library


Students in Kari Lerum's BIS 445: Meanings and Realities of Inequality course (UWB, Fall quarter 2006) were asked to create a zine* about an aspect of social inequality. Using a variety of creative methods – interviews, illustrations, research & photography – students then used their zine as a stepping stone for their final research project.

The purpose of this assignment was to give students a creative and personal outlet for exploring a topic related to social inequality. The hope of the instructor was that through the zine making process, students would be able to develop a more complex and emotionally textured understanding of a “social problem,” and that this would improve the quality and depth of the students' questions and approach to their final assignment.

While we do not have systematic outcomes analysis of the zine assignment, several pieces of evidence exists that points to the conclusion that the assignment was successful in many areas. For one, the final papers in this class, on average, were better products than in previous classes with the same final project but a different mid-term project (as reflected in grades on final projects). Comments from students in the final course evaluations were also highly enthusiastic.

* “Zines” are short for magazine or fanzine, zines are self-publications, motivated by a desire for self-expression, not for profit. Zines can be copied or printed; small or big; written, typed, typeset or drawn; and on any subject the creator cares about. Zines have been around as long as printing presses have been. For most of the 20th century, zines have usually been "fanzines" (a zine about one subject that the creator is a big fan of). But over the last ten years, more and more zines have appeared that are more like mini-magazines with a personal perspective or point of view.




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