Do You See Doors or Parentheses?

Published by Carrie O'Donnell
on Aug 16, 2019

The quote above is the closing thought to a blog post by renowned business writer, Seth Godin, in which he pens his view on open and closed doors and how we can choose to see them.

In his opening, Godin states:

“Technology shows up and changes the culture. The culture then enables new industries and movements, which further change the culture. And then technology shows up and puts an end to the system we were all used to.

The parentheses open, and then, perhaps, they close.”

Personally, I find the use of “parentheses” where most would see a door rather interesting. Often, I’ll use parentheses to include an additional thought, safely enclosing it within open and closed parenthesis so it stands out, and doesn’t get lost in a sentence. I’ve never really thought of a parentheses in the same camp as a closed door.

I also find it interesting that he sets the stage for his use of parentheses instead of doors with technology, something else I’ve always seen as open.

In our industry, technology has certainly opened doors and closed them. And while technology might be closing the doors for the traditional lecture-based course environment, it has also opened the doors wide to customized and hybrid instruction, meeting learners needs and empowering subject mastery. In fact, I founded O’Donnell Learn with the belief that technology would change the way people learn.

The challenge is that the same technology that’s driving new opportunities for how faculty can engage students is also the technology that’s driving changes in learners needs – and how they are choosing to engage. Parentheses within the parentheses so to speak.

Many higher education leaders see these changes as open opportunities to improve learning, and truly embrace an innovative perspective on what learning can look like. They will be the clear winners for the long-term, because technology will continue to affect learners’ needs and mold how we engage in learning.

As we encounter these changes, we will benefit from keeping parenthesis in mind versus doors. To me, the great open door is the opportunity to enable every learner to be successful.


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