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His goal: Earn an instructional design certificate online to enhance accessibility

Photo of Harry Barrick IV standing on a bridge outdoors. He is a student in Oregon State's instructional design online certificate.

Harry Barrick IV is a student in the Oregon State University Ecampus graduate-level online instructional design certificate.

By Tyler Hansen
March 8, 2021

When it comes to evaluating the design of a product, the people who often have the most valuable insights are those people whose experiences and abilities were not considered in the initial design process.

Harry Barrick IV knows this to be true. As a member of the Deaf community, he has encountered resources that, on a fundamental level, restrict his ability to use them. Textbook companies, for example, often provide digital content but lack subtitles on their videos.

Other videos in the digital world may have subtitles, but because American Sign Language is the first language of many Deaf people in the U.S., some may struggle with reading the captions.

Barrick knows there is a better way. But he doesn’t simply want better, more accessible solutions. He wants to help create them.

With that passion and objective in mind, he is pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Instructional Design online with Oregon State University. It’s a one-year program that offers applied skills and knowledge to design, implement and assess educational programs in a multitude of learning environments.

Barrick’s experiences — both as a part-time educator and personally — have fueled his interest in instructional design. With instructional technology at its core, the certificate program will help him develop a deeper understanding of how adults process information as well as the ability to design solutions.

He already has some ideas in mind.

“With the given knowledge of instructional design and the available resources out there, it would benefit the Deaf community to have an option such as the ability to have a pop-up window of an ASL interpreter for videos for online reading materials,” he said in an email interview. “… I would like to help spread awareness to ensure that Deaf students in secondary schools or colleges get the accessibility they deserve on digital content.”

Read more about Barrick’s thoughts on the online learning experience with Oregon State Ecampus, including how the online instructional design certificate will help him meet the growing demand for professionals with instructional design skills.

What interested you in the online instructional design certificate program?

“I was interested in the educational aspect of instructional design with my given experience as a substitute teacher, direct support professional and short-term teacher for specific classes, such as digital media and a transition program, which involved helping high school students with how to get a job, do interviews and more.”

What is your experience in working with design?

“I have over 10 years of experience with graphic design and I am very interested in the universal design aspect, and I would like to communicate to a wider variety of audiences. It was eye-opening to understand how some design aspects can be frustrating for those with disabilities, such as ensuring how to choose the right color layouts for those with dyslexia.”

What do you like most about the program and the Ecampus online learning experience thus far?

“Mostly the instructional design aspect and learning about different techniques. Also, how to provide some accessibility on your content such as working with images for smart reader applications. But it is also interesting to understand how there are different types of learning behaviors among adults and what strategies work best for each of them.”

As a student, describe the design of an ideal online learning environment.

“Ease of navigation of online content and accessibility is the key to ensuring that everyone including those with disabilities have fair access to educational materials or resources.”

How do you expect earning the online instructional design certificate will impact your career?

“With my experience as a graphic designer and web designer, I expect to push myself out there with the knowledge of how to create accessible content for everyone who is interested in learning. Plus, it would be beneficial to bring the creative perspective into the educational content and push for more accessible features for the deaf community.”


Take the next step and learn more about the Oregon State Ecampus graduate-level online instructional design certificate.

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