Thursday, October 20, 2011

Many kinds of learning, teaching, courses "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" "This is not a course"

Magritte's Pipe & Passport

There are many different kinds of good teaching, good courses, and good certification methods.  When a faculty member teaches a course online it is never the same course as taught on campus - even by that same teacher during the same semester - and even if students' transcripts do not distinguish between the two kinds of courses.

Rene Magritte is probably the artist best known for recognizing, experimenting, and playing with the differences between "real" and "image."   See below for more on Magritte (and a nod to one of his followers - Warhol).  Obviously, the differences between "real" and "virtual" have become more varied, complex, and important today.

I believe that many kinds of courses offered without face-to-face meetings have been and will continue to be extremely valuable - and can be "real courses."  That includes "correspondence courses" conducted entirely through the postal service (notable example: Nelson Mandela's study of law while in prison).  Self-learning via books and other media, often from libraries, can also be effective (not so notably, my own recent efforts to learn to bake bread and biscuits).
But these options are never THE SAME as courses that include face-to-face sessions.

See also:  "This is not a course" and
"Good Teachers & Good Teaching: Variety of Teaching Gifts" (PDF, 4pp).

NOTE:  It's difficult to find an image that is clearly both an accurate display of one of Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can series AND legally available for display on the Web - e.g., in a blog posting such as this.  But here is one that seems at least legal...  
Also, see the amusing "mash-up" of famous works by Magritte & Warhol by Dug North "Ceci N'est Pas Une Magritte."

More about Magritte's "Ceci n'est p
as..." paintings

"'Ceci n'est pas une pipe' ('This is not a pipe'), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe. It does not 'satisfy emotionally'—when Magritte once was asked about this image, he replied that of course it was not a pipe, just try to fill it with tobacco.[10] 
"Magritte used the same approach in a painting of an apple: he painted the fruit and then used an internal caption or framing device to deny that the item was an apple. In these 'Ceci n'est pas' works, Magritte points out that no matter how closely, through realism-art, we come to depicting an item accurately, we never do catch the item itself."
- 2 paragraphs above from "RenĂ© Magritte From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."

Photo of "Pipe and Passport of RenĂ© and Georgette Magritte-Berger,"  Author Michiel Hendryckx
By Michiel Hendryckx (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
"I, the copyright holder of this work, hereby publish it under the following license:
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Photo of 2 people viewing Warhol's 32 "paintings" of Campbell's Soup cans by Sergio Calleja "photo was taken on June 15, 2007 using a Sony DSC-N2."
 Some rights reserved by scalleja

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