Online ASL courses attracts worldwide attention, and OSD Foundation donates to aid Deaf Ukraine refugees
SULPHUR — An online American Sign Language Course looking to help people improve communication with members of the Deaf community has attracted more than 100,000 users including thousands of international students.
The ASL courses, which was broken into two levels, was part of a community outreach program that features pre-recorded and self-paced videos, allowing users to review them as many times as needed.
The courses, which are free of charge, attracted 107,422 users including 2,150 international students, representing 106 different countries.
"OSD is proud to be an ambassador for American Sign Language and a destination for those interested in learning a language that is both beautiful and utilitarian,” OSD Superintendent Chris Dvorak said. “ASL is so empowering for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and the more signers out there, the more access deaf and hard of hearing people have in the world. It is the cornerstone of our bilingual program here at OSD, and we are touched by the overwhelming interest."
The courses began Feb. 14 and will conclude April 4. The classes will be offered again this fall, but no dates have been determined yet.
“ASL I is for beginners who know basic signs or nothing at all,” OSD Deafness Specialist Sarah Jameson said. “It teaches fingerspelling, vocabulary, body language, sentence structure, grammar, and more. ASL II builds upon the foundation taught in ASL I and adds in more grammar and vocabulary amongst other important aspects of the language.”
The ASL I and ASL II courses were taught by Deaf individuals, both of whom are OSD graduates and now employees. The courses are free, but users could donate to the Oklahoma School for the Deaf Foundation.
The OSD Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization overseen by an independent board of trustees which provides funds for OSD school programs and projects not otherwise funded by federal or state government agencies. Educational grants from the OSD Foundation continue to enhance student programs through expanded funding for materials, equipment, and experiences.
"I am proud of our advocacy for American Sign Language,” Dvorak said. “We hope that anyone enjoying these meaningful courses considers a donation to the OSD Foundation so that their continued support of this school and organization is assured. Anyone can go to www.osdfoundation.net to make a contribution, large or small. Also, anyone interested in sponsoring or playing in the annual OSD Foundation Golf Tournament on May 2 hosted by Dornick Hills Country Club in Ardmore can also visit the website to become one of our growing participants and sponsors. The Foundation does great work and is an important part of OSD's success."
The OSD Foundation recently donated $5,000 to The Woodall Foundation, which is currently funding operations to assist Deaf Ukrainian refugees and their families find housing in the country of Moldova.
OSD is a division of Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services.
DRS served 82,533 Oklahomans with disabilities in 2021 with career preparation, employment, residential and outreach education, independent living programs and the determination of medical eligibility for disability benefits. The agency assists job seekers with disabilities overcome barriers to employment and assists Oklahoma employers to find qualified, job-ready employees who become taxpayers. For more information, visit www.okdrs.gov or phone 800-845-8476.
For more information
Brett Jones, DRS Communications Officer