Teaching Zin/ography

To teach zin/ography in a classroom, I initially present a brief introduction to the reasoning behind the method. That is, I want my students to generally understand why I am teaching them zin/ography rather than the kind of academic writing that even a brief tenure within the educational institution leads them to expect. I begin the first week of class with introductory material including a lecture on the justifications for both teaching and learning zin/ography as well as excerpted readings from Lester Faigley's Fragments of Rationality, Richard Ohmann's English in America, and Judith Williamson's' "Engaging Resistant Writers Through Zines in the Classroom." From that point I proceed through the exercises outlined below; they are designed to produce background material. This material is then used to complete the five step zin/ographic process. In an electronic classroom such as the University of Florida's Networked Writing Environment (NWE) I find it best to organize most in-class time into either discussions or workshops (as one might in a creative writing or a fine arts class). Obviously, some time must be spent introducing the mechanics of the technology and lecturing on the reading material, but my classroom experience suggests that students are best off when given a brief introduction to the task at hand and then allowed to experiment on their own. During these times I see the most spontaneous collective learning take place -- a refreshing change for students whose previous schooling has taught them that learning is a solitary enterprise.