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Foundations of American Sign Language / Columbia College Chicago …

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Foundations of American Sign Language

Course Sessions


Fall 2 Term Begins
Oct 22

Overview

American Sign Language (ASL) is the native language of deaf people in the U.S. and Canada. In this introductory ASL course, you’ll build your conversational skills to better communicate with the deaf individuals you encounter throughout your personal and professional life. Learn a vital skill that will open doors to a career as an ASL interpreter and help you advocate for the Deaf community.
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  • Interact with an internationally known deaf instructor with extensive experience teaching ASL in the arts community.
  • Gain exposure to the cultural and societal norms of the Deaf community.
  • Explore a blend of practical interpreter training and opportunities for creative application.
  • Develop your ASL skills online and on your schedule.
  • Enhance your resume and career.

Learning a new language is a great way to meet new people, familiarize yourself with new cultures and communicate with others. Our flexible, online courses are 8-weeks long and asynchronous to accommodate your busy schedule.


What will you learn in Foundations of American Sign Language?  

Week One:
-History of ASL and the Deaf Community
-Conversation Strategies
-Nonverbal Communication
-Fingerspelling
-Assignments: Gestures and Tracing

Week Two:
-ASL Grammar: Statements and Questions
-Vocabulary and Numbers
-Active Listening
-Cultural Corner
-Assignments: Gesture Review, Sign the Numbers, What’s the Number and Role Shifting
-Tutoring Meeting

Week Three:
-How Did You Get There?
-Knowing Your Locations
-Stories, Numbers and Fingerspelling
-Assignments: Cardinal Numbers 30-66, Spatial Agreement and “Down” Letters
-Quiz: Vocabulary

Week Four:
-Reference Space, Pronouns and Negative Responses
-Proper Syntax
-Asking for Personal Information
-Assignments: Dialogue and Write the Signs
-Tutoring Meeting

Week Five:
-Midterm Preparation and Exam

Week Six:
-Days of the Week
-Daily Activities
-Day/Time & When Questions
-Opinions About Chores
-Assignments: Sign the Months, Time and Fingerspelling G & H
-Tutoring Meeting

Week Seven:
-Classifier Categories
-Subject/Object Pronouns
-Family Member Descriptions
-Assignments: Building a Fire: Using Classifiers, Family Members & Mini Dialogues

Week Eight:
-Final Preparation and Exam
-Tutoring Meeting

Required Materials (Not to register for until first day of class):

GoReact
DawnSign

Peter Cook Photo

Peter Cook

Peter Cook is Associate Professor in the Department of ASL-English Interpretation and an internationally known Deaf performing artist. Using American Sign Language, pantomime, storytelling, acting and movement, Cook has performed at numerous festivals across the country – the Jonesboro National Storytelling Festival, The Deaf Way II and at the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

Cook has an MA in Storytelling from East Tennessee State University (2011) and a BFA in Graphic Design from Rochester Institute of Technology (1986).

Courses: Foundations of American Sign Language, Intermediate Sign Language



Taking ASL 1 will be an exciting, new territory for you! (Hands waving instead of clapping.) You are about to learn one of the fastest growing foreign languages. Yes, I said foreign language, you will soon realize that American Sign Language (ASL) is a language on its own. This course is designed to guide you in the clearest yet, challenging ways, and your instructor will help you to achieve this level of ASL.

Why ASL from Peter

K. Crom Saunders Photo

K. Crom Saunders

K. Crom Saunders is an Associate Professor in the ASL Department at Colombia College Chicago where he teaches a number of ASL Linguistics, Deaf Studies and Interpreting courses. Saunders began working at Columbia in the Fall of 2009. He holds an MA degree in Creative Writing from California State University, Sacramento (2002). He earned his BA in English from California State University, Northridge (1996). Saunders is actively developing a body of research based on the representation of Deaf people in the media and how this ties in with the history and current development of ASL and Deaf culture.

Prior to joining the ASL Department at Columbia, Saunders taught a variety of ASL and ASL-English Interpretation courses at the University of Pittsburgh (2007-2009) and at the University of San Francisco (2007). Since joining Columbia College Chicago, he has helped to further develop the curriculum in the ASL Department and ASL-English Interpretation BA Program so students have a stronger foundation for not only their capstone courses, but also their careers as interpreters. Saunders also co-developed the foundation of the Deaf Studies BA Program and currently is the Director of the Deaf Studies BA Program.

Courses: Foundations of American Sign Language, Intermediate Sign Language



Need more info?

Contact our advising team at [email protected] or call 312-369-5646 (JOIN) to learn more and enroll.

Contact an Advisor

Learn How to Converse Comfortably and Correctly in True ASL

How One Class Let Her Finally Connect With Her Best Friend

Michelle Jay was thirteen years old when she met a Deaf person for the first time. The girl was a new student at Michelle’s school and Michelle was just completely awestruck with the beautiful way the girl communicated. 

But when the girl’s teacher finally introduced them, Michelle had no idea what to do! All she could do was shake her hand and slowly say her name. Michelle felt terrible that she couldn’t tell the girl it was nice to meet her and that she would be glad to be her friend. 

Eventually, they began writing back and forth to each other, but the two of them got along so well that Michelle wanted to truly be able to communicate with her. 

She decided to take an after-school ASL class, but quickly realized that just learning signs like “dog,” “cat,” “hamburger,” and “hotdog” was not going to be enough to actually have real conversations with her new friend. 

So, she searched online for ASL classes and found some good resources, but no complete options for learning the language. Michelle ended up having to take classes at the local college because it was the only option she could find. Unfortunately, being only thirteen years old, these classes were expensive with both her time and her family’s money, so this option was definitely not ideal, but it did allow her to learn and fall in love with the language. 

After completing her first ASL course, Michelle was finally able to truly connect with her Deaf friend and they became very close during their years in school. They no longer needed their little notebook to write back and forth and it was such a fantastic feeling. No other students put in the effort that Michelle did to communicate with her and we believe they all missed out on getting to know this wonderful person at their school who went on to become a very talented dancer. 

Are you in a similar position? 

Do you long to connect, but are not quite there yet? For most people, trying to learn ASL can feel very overwhelming and disorganized – even futile at times. Maybe you’re learning some signs like “dog” and “cat,” but are wondering when you’ll actually be able to have a real conversation. Maybe you’re signing to yourself in the mirror wishing your reflection could tell you if you signed “house” correctly or not. Or maybe you’ve already taken an ASL class, but don’t feel like you really got a good grip on the language

Imagine the time you’d save and the uncertainty you’d avoid if you knew exactly what ASL to learn and when to learn it. Imagine being able to learn ASL whenever you want and wherever you are at that moment. Imagine having the confidence to join a conversation in ASL knowing that your signing is completely accurate. 

What if we told you that Michelle (yes, that once-thirteen year old who fell in love with ASL) eventually brought a team together to create the perfect solution that they’ve always wanted? 

It’s True – We Did It!

With 10 years experience, Michelle Jay graduated from one of the nation’s premier programs with a degree in Deaf Studies with an emphasis in teaching and dreamed of teaching ASL and sharing this beautiful language and culture with anyone who wants to learn.  

Start ASL is now approaching its 10 year anniversary and is still the ASL resource that Michelle always wanted, but was never able to find. She brought together a fantastic team and with her deep knowledge of what it is like to learn ASL as a hearing person, we know exactly what students need in order to become comfortably fluent and over several years we have created the most comprehensive course available online for learning ASL.

The Start ASL Team

Michelle Jay is the founder of StartASL.com. She graduated from one of the nation’s premier programs at California State University, Northridge with a degree in Deaf Studies teaching and has over 15 years of experience with American Sign Language and linguistic research. Michelle is a published author and has contributed thought-provoking articles to academic publishers such as Greenhaven Press. Her unique articles have done much to support Deaf Culture, and have been printed in resource publications such as American Chronicle and Perspectives on Diseases & Disorders: Deafness & Hearing Impairments.

Amee Sevrie

Amee Sevrie is Start ASL’s Lead Education Coordinator. Amee is Deaf and is bilingual in ASL and English. Originally from Alabama, she has traveled to over 20 countries and loves to experience new things. She has completed an MA in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University and an MA in Teaching ASL from University of Northern Colorado, and she has a strong passion for teaching ASL and Deaf History. She has extensive experience in working with students as a tutor and as an educator and believes that learning can be both fun and meaningful.

Start ASL Jared DeBusk

Jared DeBusk is a Deaf actor and model. He was born in a small country town called Brooksville, Florida. He is of Dutch, German, French, and Irish descent. DeBusk began acting as a child and he knew that he wanted to be an actor. He trained at several schools and he has performed in various plays. He is a recent graduate from University of South Florida with a BA in Communication Performance Studies.

Crystal Lott is an EIPA and NIC Advanced certified ASL interpreter. She first started learning ASL in 2000 at Glendale Community College. She graduated from the Interpreter Training Program (ITP) at Phoenix College and currently holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performances from Arizona State University West. Crystal was involved with the AZ Deaf Theatre for many years and is now getting plugged into the Deaf Community in Los Angeles. She aspires to work with Deaf West theatre.

Mark Loyd is an RID certified ASL interpreter. Mark comes from a theatrical background and first started learning ASL in 1993 after meeting a Deaf person for the first time and falling in love with the language. He learned ASL primarily through the Deaf community and Interpreter Training Programs (ITP) in Kansas. For the past 16 years, Mark has worked in a variety of settings–mental health, medical, educational, theatre, and video relay services (VRS). He has also appeared on the popular television show Switched at Birth.

Darcy French-Myerson is an interpreter with Bachelor’s degrees in English-ASL Interpreting and Theatre from Columbia College in Chicago. Darcy has interpreted in schools from the elementary to collegiate level, hospitals, big corporations, and in the non-profit sector and the Arts. Darcy has also taught English and Math to Deaf adults seeking their GEDs. Currently, Darcy works as a freelance interpreter throughout Los Angeles and continues to be involved in performance and the Arts.

Mando Garza is an aspiring Deaf actor, business professional, and jack of all trades. Mando has a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) and a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He has been involved with the theatre at the National Technical Institute of the Deaf (NTID) and is now currently working as a CDI and studying paralegal & accounting.

Christine Jones is an ITP (Interpreter Training Program) graduate and Deaf Studies student at California State University, Northridge. She is a volunteer interpreter and is currently looking to start a steady interpreting career.

Deborah Kanter is Deaf and comes from a primarily hearing family, except for one of her brothers who is Deaf. Deborah was introduced to American Sign Language when she was 5 years old. Deborah is currently attending college and majoring in nursing.

Cristian Tun is hard of hearing and started learning ASL when he was 13 years old. He is currently attending college and majoring in acting.

We are passionate about American Sign Language and we want to share this beautiful language with you.

The Truth About Sign Language Resources 

With the growing popularity of sign language, there are a lot of ASL learning resources available at your disposal – websites, books, software, videos, flashcards, and more! But what many people don’t know is that most ASL resources are unreliable and they actually make learning true ASL extremely difficult

The truth is: 

  • Most resources teach a very limited amount of ASL. Most ASL resources only focus on one aspect of the language: Vocabulary. One of the biggest myths about ASL is that it is just “English on the hands.” This is simply not true. ASL is a true language with its own grammar and syntax – something that most ASL resources (even classes!) simply do not teach. For this reason, a staggering number of signers end up signing what is called Pidgin Signed English (or PSE) – which is just ASL signs in English word order – thinking that it is true ASL. 
  • What many resources teach is often incorrect. Sadly, a simple search on Youtube will bring up a number of ASL videos with over one million views and hundreds of comments about how incorrect the signs are. Most ASL videos online are made by signers who are students themselves and have only taken a class or two. These videos are often used as examples of what not to do and are, unfortunately, how a lot of people are trying to learn ASL. 
  • These resources end up being very expensive with both time and money. Because most resources do not teach you everything you need to know, many ASL learners find themselves buying and pouring over book after book in addition to software, videos, and flashcards just trying to learn all of the information they think they need. And even worse, if they are using free resources, many find that searching through all of the information out there in addition to constantly wondering whether or not it is even accurate takes an astronomical amount of time. 

It’s true – we’re always very sad to hear that someone gave up on learning ASL because it was just simply too difficult and they never felt like they were really learning anything. 

So, what should you do? 

Finally Learn ASL With A Complete Online Course 

After over a decade of being unable to find a comprehensive way to learn ASL online, the Start ASL team created a full online course that includes everything you need to learn the language completely and with total flexibility. 

No more buying a bunch of resources that only teach you part of the language and no more endlessly searching online to try to piece together your own lessons. 

Everything you need is right here, and even better – a complete course will quickly give you the results you’ve been waiting to see. 

Start ASL Online Classroom

I took all 3 classes and was amazed at the attention to detail taken to design this course. This course is organized, well-thought out, and fun. I learned a lot! The videos were my favorite part. Since I already had quite a bit of vocabulary under my belt, I wanted practice reading a variety of signers while learning ASL grammar. This course gave me just that. I highly recommend it for anyone learning ASL. THANK YOU, Start ASL!

Jeff

Jeff Gordon

SAN JOSE, CA

I have thoroughly enjoyed this site. This site has helped my husband and I understand and pick up ASL so quickly. I’m hard of hearing, and my husband and I love the ability to learn together. We now are able to better communicate to the fullest we have ever been able to do. Thank you so much.

Cortnie

Cortnie

PHOENIX, AZ

I’ve been wanting to learn ASL for quite some time. This is EXACTLY what I have been looking for. I love how clear the videos are and that I can do it at my own pace. I also love that there are quizzes to keep me on track. I like going back and watching some of the videos over and over again so that I can really get it. I’m so very impressed and grateful for the hard work that has gone into the class. I’ve only completed the first two units and can’t believe how much I’ve already learned. GREAT JOB!!! Thanks so much!

Brenda

ATLANTA, GA

The whole set up of the site is perfect! There are many different ways to practice and it gives you everything you need, seriously. I didn’t think I would learn as much as I have in ASL 1 but I learn a lot! This site has taught me the most out of any other site. Trust me I’ve been to many sites and they only give you half the info you need. This is a great site and I recommend it to everyone!

Kimmie

FLORIDA

I give this site 5 stars! I am a stay-at-home mom of twin 3-year old boys. They are my little handfuls, and I don’t have a lot of personal time. I found this site after realizing that I wanted to learn a lot more than what I was learning on YouTube. I am on ASL 1 / Unit 2 and loving every second of it. It’s very addicting, and I would recommend this site to anybody.

Janell

CALIFORNIA

The Start ASL Online Course 

With Start ASL’s complete online course you will learn true American Sign Language so you can join any signed conversation with complete confidence. Unlike most ASL classes, we don’t just go over a bunch of random, boring little signs – we get you communicating right away. We will carefully guide you through not only learning essential vocabulary, but also dig deep into proper ASL grammar and the vibrant Deaf community. Our lessons build on each other in a way where you can see immediate progress and learn not only correctly, but quickly

When You Sign Up For Our Course, You Will Get… 

The BEST way to learn ASL with our comprehensive, systematic approach. 

If you’ve found that learning ASL on your own has been a little haphazard, you will love our progressive format where every lesson smoothly flows into the next. Instead of being overwhelmed with an entire course curriculum all at once, we have broken down each class level into manageable, easy to digest “chunks” or Units – you can just take it one lesson at a time. Our course is set up like a true in-person ASL course. Most ASL websites only have the basics and are not in “class form” where ours is a real course full of fantastic material that you will find both challenging and enjoyable. We use real life situations and conversations in our course. While most basic ASL lessons start you off with little signs like “dog” or “cat,” we get you started with conversations and activities right away. We get you involved in the learning. We don’t want to teach “at” you, we want you to be involved in the learning process. Each lesson builds on the next in a way that just makes sense so you can see tangible progress with each unit you complete. There is so much more to learn than you may have realized – and you will love every minute of it! 

The Most Organized and easy to use Online Classroom available for learning ASL. 

All you need to do is click My Courses at the top to view all of your currently enrolled courses as well as your progress. You can then click the course you are currently working on and you will immediately see where you left off. While most ASL sites are outdated and the material is either crowded, scattered, or downright hard to find – you’ll love how our website is simple, clean, organized, and very easy to use. 

Three years of ASL in one Complete Course! 

After joining, you will get immediate access to all three levels of our ASL course – ASL 1, 2, and 3 – and you can get started learning right away! Each level of our course is packed full of material and is roughly equivalent to one year of a foreign language in high school and one semester in college – that’s three years of high school classes or three semesters of college classes packed into one complete easy-to-use online course. 

Start ASL 1

Our ASL 1 course is the best class for beginners or refreshing your skills and will get you conversing right away. 

This course is packed full of information and includes 13 units covering: 

  • Fingerspelling, 
  • Numbers, 
  • The five sign parameters, 
  • Word order, 
  • Sentence types, 
  • Pronouns and indexing, 
  • Verbs, 
  • Identifying people, 
  • As well as lessons on Deaf culture, Deaf history, and more! 

ASL 1 also includes: 

  • Over 550 vocabulary and phrase videos, 
  • 60 lesson videos, 
  • 30 activities and quizzes, 
  • 9 Reading Assignments from the DJSC! Student Guides, 
  • And 1 writing and 3 Deaf event assignments. 

Start ASL 2

Our ASL 2 course is full of advanced lessons that will target your grammar skills and help make you a more confident signer. 

This course is full of great grammar examples and includes 12 units covering: 

  • Sentence types, 
  • Time,
  • Duration, 
  • Regularity, 
  • Temporal aspect, 
  • Classifiers, 
  • Pluralization, 
  • Distance, 
  • Inflection, 
  • Describing rooms, objects, and locations, 
  • And more! 

 

ASL 2 also includes: 

  • Over 350 vocabulary and phrase videos, 
  • Over 30 lesson videos, 
  • Over 15 advanced activities and quizzes, 
  • And 3 signing assignments for which you can receive instructor feedback with a Gold subscription. 

Start ASL 3

Our ASL 3 course is our most advanced course and will teach you how to sign more abstract ideas – including popular stories! 

This course is full of fun signing and storytelling examples and includes 11 units covering more advanced signing like: 

  • Role shifting, 
  • Narratives, 
  • Giving information, 
  • Sign language games, 
  • Literature, 
  • Storytelling, 
  • And interpreting songs. 

ASL 3 also includes over: 

  • 200 vocabulary and phrase videos, 
  • 20 advanced lesson videos, 
  • 17 advanced activities and quizzes, 
  • And 5 signing assignments for which you can receive instructor feedback with a Gold subscription. 

The MUST-Know ASL grammar rules you were never taught. 

If you’ve ever taken an ASL class before and felt like they left it to you to figure out how to use correct grammar or worse, let you get away with signing in English word order – you are not alone. Many signers find themselves defaulting to English grammar or just kind of winging it when signing and hoping nobody notices. This is unfortunately extremely common and our course will teach you everything you’ve missed in explicit detail. We have ASL word order and sentence structure all laid out for you – easily explained in a way that will allow you to practice the grammar correctly and effortlessly apply it to any sentence or conversation. If you want to be more than just an “ok” signer – if you want to have command of the language and know what you’re talking about – then this course is for you. 

The Priceless Assurance that you are learning the vocabulary you need and learning it right! 

Did you know there is a lot of incorrect ASL vocabulary floating around the internet? If you’ve ever tried learning ASL from Youtube, then you know exactly what we mean. When you’re learning on your own it’s difficult to know if what you’re learning is correct or not. And sometimes, especially with books, even if the vocabulary is correct, it’s difficult to replicate it accurately and remember what you learned. For this reason, you will love our “popup” vocabulary videos and our interactive activities that test everything you’ve learned. This helps your memory to reinforce what you’re learning so you can always have the right vocabulary ready for any conversation. 

To Learn along with an entire ASL community! 

At Start ASL, you’re joining a community of students who are all learning together. If you don’t know anyone in your community who’s deaf or anyone else who is learning ASL – you are not alone! Most of our students who practice together found each other in the Forums. And many choose to practice with our ASL tutors as well. Our courses may be self-study, but you’re not by yourself! You may have poured over ASL books or surfed ASL dictionaries alone in the past, but that can end here when you join our community!

The Valuable ASL signing feedback you’ve been looking for! 

Have you been learning ASL on your own and are frustrated that you don’t have anyone to tell you, “No, that’s not right”? Well, you no longer need to wonder if you’re communicating well or not. You can submit your signing assignments for student feedback or receive solid instructor feedback with the Gold membership. We also have tutors available for your use whenever you need with the Start ASL Tutoring Program. They will tutor you, for a separate fee, via Skype to provide help with any topics you may need help with. Having a conversation with a deaf person doesn’t need to be a daunting or intimidating task – you can practice here, in a safe place, and confidently ace your next interaction.

Access to Our Professional ASL Instructors to support you throughout your course. 

We really care about your success and we don’t want to leave you hanging. If you are having trouble finding something, we want to help you find it – so we’re just a click away with a “Contact the Instructor” button found in each course. And for Gold members – you’re paying a premium for our time and we will make it worth it – we are here to give you the support you need if you need help with our curriculum, the language, the community or anything else! We really do care, and you’ll see it with your first message – we promise!

The Absolute most Flexible way to learn ASL – wherever and whenever you want. 

Our online courses are extremely flexible – they are completely mobile-friendly, self-study, and at your own pace. If you think you will struggle to find the time to learn, you will love how flexible our program is. You can learn for a few hours every day or one hour a week – it’s all up to you! You can learn from your new iPad while waiting at the doctor’s office or from your old computer in the next state over after you move next month. We’re here for you whenever you want, wherever you are, for as long as you need!

The Secret to Mastering ASL from nine different signers. 

Signs in ASL are sometimes signed differently in other areas of the country and, like with accents in English, are usually slightly different from signer to signer. With Start ASL, you are learning from nine different signers which gives you a unique advantage to be able to practice seeing the same signs done by different signers. This may be a little frustrating at first, but after having your first conversation in ASL, you will quickly realize how powerful this learning tool really is. 

To Experience Fast results and track your progress with interactive activities and quizzes! 

Are you asking yourself right now, “Will I be able to do this?” “Am I going to be able to successfully learn this online?” You’re definitely not alone, but more importantly – you absolutely can! We promise that after completing just three units you will already begin to see progress. After completing each activity or quiz, you will see your results right after clicking “Submit.” You will even get to compete with scores for the student Leaderboard! You can also review each question to see what you got correct or incorrect to further improve your progress. You also have the ability to slow down or speed up any of our videos. This is a great way to catch any sign you might have missed or give yourself an extra challenge.

The Most Helpful resource to keep you on track while learning ASL online. 

Do you think you struggle with discipline or are wondering if you will be able to stick to it? Then our exclusive Start ASL Student Newsletter was made for you! Packed with great tips, resources, and gentle reminders about your progress, you will be supported throughout your entire journey. Did your momentum start strong with other resources in the past and then just kind of fizzle out? We want to make sure that doesn’t happen. We want you to succeed and you’ll see that we’re here for you the whole way!

A Certificate of Completion for each level to mark your outstanding achievement! 

If you’re learning to earn credit for school, to gain a promotion at work, or to just check this item off your “bucket list” – this is your seal of approval! Print your certificates with pride as you have successfully completed a full ASL class and can now communicate in ASL – something not everyone can say they have done. With the Gold membership, you can receive a verified completion certificate and support if your school or employer requires additional verification of course completion – we will work with you to make sure you get what you need.

After completing this course, you can: 

  • Be more desirable for employment
  • Communicate with your Deaf friend or family member, 
  • Communicate as you or a loved one lose your hearing
  • Worship in church, 
  • Teach sign language to your child
  • Move on to eventually become an ASL interpreter
  • Ask the Deaf woman in line next to you how her day is going
  • Show off to your friends or family, 
  • Volunteer in Deaf ministry, 
  • Sign songs at the next concert you attend (or to yourself while singing in the shower), 
  • Practice what you will say if you ever meet Marlee Matlin, 
  • Or whatever your heart desires

The opportunities are truly endless and, as you will find, so very fulfilling. All of these things are totally achievable sooner than you think. And you can most definitely achieve them with our course

I have always been intrigued with the beauty of sign language, but I never made time to study the language. However, the more I thought about it, the stronger the desire became to just try it. As I searched the web, I came across Start ASL and decided to register. I began the courses and was amazed with the progress I was making after only a few lessons. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn. During the first two weeks of my membership I traveled to Dallas to visit my sister. While there, we attended church and I sat in the deaf and hard of hearing section so I could watch the interpreter. The interpreter signed and asked me if I was deaf. I signed that I’m a student. She instructed me to sit in the third row where a deaf gentleman was sitting. Before I took my seat, I signed to the man that my name was Denise. He began to sign his name but he was going way too fast for me. I was able to sign to him, “Please sign slow.” Upon my request, he slowed down. I understood that his name is Jerry and I signed, “Nice to meet you” and he signed it back. I felt so good inside – I couldn’t believe I was communicating after only a few lessons. And now I’m teaching my 12 month old granddaughter ASL and it’s all thanks to Start ASL.

Denise Blackshear

Denise Blackshear

VIRGINIA

NEW Bonuses Included!

Start ASL Vocabulary Sign Worksheets

Bonus #7 – Start ASL Vocabulary Study Sheets and Sign Worksheets

Our Vocabulary Study Sheets and Sign Worksheets are a great way to help you learn and retain the vocabulary you learn throughout this course.

Bonus #6 – Start ASL Practice Sentence Worksheets

And our Practice Sentence Worksheets are a great way to help you think critically about how to apply what you’ve learned to potential translation situations – which is especially useful if you wish to one day have a career in ASL interpreting.

Start ASL Bonus Practice Sentence Worksheets
Start ASL Interactive Syllabus

Bonus #5 – The Start ASL Interactive Official Syllabus and Gradebook

Our interactive course syllabus is our official syllabus where you can see all of your lessons, assignments, and grades at a glance. Our syllabus also includes an interactive gradebook where you can enter and track your grades with your final grade calculated for you at all times. For students taking this course for credit, this is the perfect sheet to provide to your school and paces your learning by week so you can accurately finish during your school semester.

Bonus #4 – Custom Start ASL Anki Digital Vocabulary Flashcards

Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it’s a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn. And we’ve created video-based digital flashcards for the Anki program that will help you better learn and retain the vocabulary you learn in our course. Not only that – it’s a super fun way to study!
 

Start ASL Anki Flashcards
DJSC! A Student's Guide to Deaf Community Terminology

Bonus #3 – A Student’s Guide to Deaf Community Terminology

This pocket-size e-book is a fantastic collection of terms commonly used in the Deaf Community and allows you to:  

  • Quickly and easily find the meaning of a community term.  
  • Study terminology whenever you have a spare moment.  
  • Ensure that you’re participating correctly in conversations.  
  • Build confidence for signing and communicating.  
  • Study with a quick and convenient method no matter where you are.  
  • And more!  

Bonus #2 – A Student’s Guide to the Deaf Experience

This eye-opening e-book will ignite your senses and eliminate any misconceptions you may have about the deaf community.  

Delve into this informative and entertaining collection of personal stories culled from the writings of talented Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing, and late-deafened people.  

Experience the world from their perspectives and learn what questions and comments are best avoided and what common courtesies are most appreciated. By reading this book, you can immerse yourself in the textured world of the deaf community.

This book is meant as a guide to equip ASL students, but it is so much more… It is a book for the masses – to be read and reread, to be savored – for it will resonate with you long after the last page is turned.

DJSC! A Student's Guide to the Deaf Experience

AND

Bonus #1 – The Don’t Just “Sign”… Communicate Course Books

Now also included with the Start ASL Online Course are your own downloadable copies of the Don’t Just “Sign”… Communicate! Student Guide PDF e-books that are used for the course Reading Assignments. These essential guides are your key to success!

DJSC! A Student's Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community

A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community

This Guide Gives You EVERYTHING You Need…and More.  

One of the biggest benefits of Don’t Just “Sign”…Communicate!: A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community is that we provide you with information you need but didn’t know to ask for. The package is absolutely jam-packed with benefits:  

  • You’ll quickly learn the best ways to learn ASL so that you can begin communicating quickly. 
  • You’ll receive the most essential Deaf culture and Deaf history information available.  
  • Information about careers in ASL from the professionals.  
  • Common terminology used in the Deaf community.  
  • The number one ASL resources available today.  
  • And so much more! 

This guide was created specifically to help you understand ASL more effectively. The perfect companion for our ASL course, this guide supplements the course and offers up the best possible information to help you better understand everything involved while learning ASL.  

Without a doubt, it is the best student’s guide to ASL and the Deaf community in existence, and provides numerous benefits for individuals who are taking ASL classes.  

“This book is a real gem! Informative, intriguing, and an easy read — it is your ticket to a new world of friendships and cultural understanding! When it’s time to step out of the classroom and into the Deaf Community–Michelle Jay’s advice and insights are just what you need! Remember what you learned from this book and you’ll do great!”

William G. Vicars, Ed.D. Associate Professor of ASL and Deaf Studies, Also known as “Dr. Bill” of, Lifeprint.com

Bill Vicars
DJSC! A Student's Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar

A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar

The Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar provides the fundamentals of perfect ASL grammar so you can sign confidently  

Students taking ASL classes are often expected to pick up on the grammar rules themselves, by being a part of the deaf community, or by immersing themselves in sign language from the beginning. If you’re learning on your own or you’re unable to sign with others often, it can be extremely difficult to pick up these rules. This guide will help you:  

  • Make sure you’re learning American Sign Language.  
  • Learn ASL signs and vocabulary concepts you won’t find in most ASL dictionaries.  
  • Learn ASL phonology and how signs are formed.  
  • Learn ASL morphology and how to inflect signs to create meaning.  
  • Learn ASL syntax and how to form correct sentences.  
  • And so much more!

This incredible guide provides you with the confidence you need to communicate fluently and correctly. Unfortunately, many signers go years without picking up the proper grammar, even when they’re conversing with other signers regularly. You don’t have to let this happen to you! 

“There is so much more to signing than just learning the hand shapes and movements. ASL is all about its own syntax, phonology and grammar. This book does a great job of exploring what makes ASL its own unique language. Start ASL has done it again!”

John Miller Co-Founder, Educator, Signing Savvy LLC

John Miller

Is the Start ASL Online Course Right for Me?

YES – If you’ve always wanted to learn ASL and can’t wait to finally get started! 

YES – If you want to reach a comfortable conversational level of ASL and see progress right away. 

YES – If you want to refresh your ASL skills and perfect your ASL grammar. 

YES – If you enjoy learning online and don’t have the time or money to sit in a classroom or spend on expensive tuition. 

YES – If you want to learn ASL as your foreign language. We have had many students use Start ASL for credit – be sure to check with your school for their requirements! 

YES – If you eventually want to become an ASL interpreter – Our course will more than prepare you to take that step. 

Now is the perfect time to learn this beautiful language and it’s never too late to start! 

WHICH STUDENT LEVEL IS BEST FOR YOU?

BEST FOR THE HOBBYIST

If you are just learning for fun and don’t need extra vocabulary practice or instructor support with mastering your expressive signing skills, then this is a great option for you.


  • Start ASL 1, 2, and 3 Online Course Access
  • Student Community Interaction and Student Feedback on Assignment Submissions  
  • Flexible Mobile-Friendly Course Completed at Your Own Pace  
  • Over 170 Lesson and Activity Videos by 9 Different Signers 
  • Over 1100 ASL Vocabulary and Phrase Videos
  • Interactive Activities and Quizzes with Question Review
  • Slow Motion Video  
  • Exclusive Start ASL Student Newsletter 
  • Full Subscription Control 
  • Course Progress Tracking 
  • A Certificate of Completion for each course level
  • Instructor Support: We’re here to support you on your journey! Contact us with any curriculum or ASL related questions!
  • Bonus #1 – DJSC! A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community and A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar PDF e-books

DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Valuable Instructor Feedback: Receive detailed instructor feedback on all of your signing assignments so you can master your expressive ASL skills.  
  • Priority Email Support: Receive priority email support with any and all questions you have as a student. 
  • Verified Completion Certificate: Receive an official completion certificate and support if your school or employer requires additional verification of course completion.  
  • Bonus #2DJSC! A Student’s Guide to the Deaf Experience 
  • Bonus #3DJSC! A Student’s Guide to Deaf Community Terminology 
  • Bonus #4 – Start ASL Anki Digital Vocabulary Flashcards  
  • Bonus #5 – Start ASL Interactive Course Syllabus and Gradebook 
  • Bonus #6 – Start ASL Bonus Practice Sentences Worksheet 
  • Bonus #7 – Start ASL Vocabulary Study Sheets and Sign Worksheets

Start ASL Online Course Silver Level

$19.95

PAID MONTHLY

SIGN UP

$149

FOR ONE YEAR

Buy One Year and Save $90!

BEST FOR ACHIEVING FLUENCY

If you are taking this course for foreign language credit, to prepare for a career in ASL, or want instructor support with mastering your expressive signing skills, then this is the best option for you. 


  • Start ASL 1, 2, and 3 Online Course Access
  • Student Community Interaction and Student Feedback on Assignment Submissions  
  • Flexible Mobile-Friendly Course Completed at Your Own Pace 
  • Over 170 Lesson and Activity Videos by 9 Different Signers 
  • Over 1100 ASL Vocabulary and Phrase Videos
  • Interactive Activities and Quizzes with Question Review
  • Slow Motion Video  
  • Exclusive Start ASL Student Newsletter 
  • Full Subscription Control 
  • Course Progress Tracking 
  • A Certificate of Completion for each course level
  • Instructor Support: We’re here to support you on your journey! Contact us with any curriculum or ASL related questions!
  • Bonus #1 DJSC! A Student’s Guide to ASL and the Deaf Community and A Student’s Guide to Mastering ASL Grammar PDF e-books

ALSO INCLUDES:

  • Valuable Instructor Feedback: Receive detailed instructor feedback on all of your signing assignments so you can master your expressive ASL skills. 
  • Priority Email Support: Receive priority email support with any and all questions you have as a student. 
  • Verified Completion Certificate: Receive an official completion certificate and support if your school or employer requires additional verification of course completion.  
  • Bonus #2DJSC! A Student’s Guide to the Deaf Experience
  • Bonus #3DJSC! A Student’s Guide to Deaf Community Terminology
  • Bonus #4 – Start ASL Anki Digital Vocabulary Flashcards  
  • Bonus #5 – Start ASL Interactive Course Syllabus and Gradebook
  • Bonus #6 – Start ASL Bonus Practice Sentences Worksheet
  • Bonus #7 – Start ASL Vocabulary Study Sheets and Sign Worksheets  

Start ASL Online Course Gold Level

$49.95

PAID MONTHLY

SIGN UP

$499

FOR ONE YEAR

Buy One Year and Save $100!

 You Will See Progress – We Guarantee It!

Does your college tuition guarantee that you will learn? Well, we do. Give us just 14 days and we guarantee that you will see progress with your ASL skills. When you enroll in Start ASL Online today, you have a FULL 14 days to go through the course 100% risk free. If you find that the course isn’t for you or that you just don’t have the time or motivation you thought you had to learn ASL – just contact us at http://support.startasl.com, let us know, and we’ll issue you a prompt and courteous refund. 

I am a single mom and unfortunately there are not a lot of affordable options in which I can be with my daughter and still learn ASL. Thank you for making this option available to those who may be not be able to learn in an adult classroom environment and are also hearing. I love this site. I just went through the first three units as a refresher and not sure why I ever left the site. Keep up the awesome work!

Jaeda

Jaeda Raines

CHICAGO, IL

I am learing a great deal and enjoying the class. I am a 70% disabled veteran from Operation Iraqi Freedom and have lost a large amount of my hearing. I have become very reliant on reading lips as well as having to ask people to repeat themselves numerous times. It is truly due to the nature of my injuries that I am interested in learning ASL. I thank you for the opportunity to learn.

Kristine

Kristine

SAN DIEGO, CA

This class has really helped me so far. I started ASL a few weeks ago and I was having a hard time being able to get the language down. Then a friend told me about this site and I have been picking it up much easier since. I am starting to have some better experiences with some of the people I know that have ASL down very well. It’s really a great experience to learn all of it and be able to communicate with them without even speaking. Thank you for providing this site, it’s been a huge help.

Justin

Justin

CALIFORNIA

I’ve been infatuated with American Sign Language for the longest time, but have just recently started to teach myself. The lessons on this website have been a tremendous help and I’m learning very quickly. Thank you so much, I’m really enjoying the experience.

Jade

Jade

FT. WAYNE, IN

This class has enhanced my relationship with my daughter. We have conversations online now with Skype. The conversations I watch online help me see the nuances of conversation and the useful techniques of facial and other expressions. After the first few times I signed with my daughter, I started to feel more at ease. Trying to read the signs seems to be the most fun for me. I am learning what I set out to do with the motivation of sharing this with my little girl. Stick with it and you will feel the success through your conversations. Thank you for the opportunity.

Frank

Frank Cassianna

MYRTLE POINT, OR

I want to say that I am learning pretty quick! My favorite part is the video challenge, it gives me a little of the adrenaline feeling, and I love it! Thank you so much, I’m really enjoying my lessons!

Dulce

Dulce Lopez

MILWAUKEE, WI

Frequently Asked Questions 

How long does it take to complete one course level? 

How long it takes to complete each level depends on the student since the courses are completely self-paced. On average, driven self-study students are able to complete one level in three to four months and students who are taking the course for credit are usually able to complete one level in nine to twelve months.  

How are the Bonuses delivered?

Your bonuses are available to download in your account immediately after purchase. 

Can I earn credit for school by taking this course? 

We have had many students use our courses for foreign language credits, but it is up to your school whether or not they will accept our courses for credit.

Can I be an interpreter after completing this course? 

While you won’t be able to interpret professionally after taking our course, our course will more than prepare you to move on to a professional interpreting program. 

Can I upgrade or downgrade my subscription to a different level? 

Yes! You can upgrade or downgrade your subscription level at any time from your My Account page.

How do I manage my monthly subscription? 

Just click My Account to view your Subscriptions and change your payment method or cancel, put on hold, or upgrade/downgrade your subscription at any time. Even when you cancel you will get access to the courses for as long as you have already paid. If you’ve never taken an online class, it can be a little intimidating to get started. But rest assured that we completely understand and have made it easy for you to control your own subscription and we’re always here to help if you need it! 

Do you have options for teachers to use your curriculum?  

Yes! Our Start ASL Teacher’s Curriculum can be found on this page: http://teachers.startasl.com .

Are subscriptions fees charged automatically? 

Our monthly course subscriptions are charged automatically every month for your convenience until you cancel. One-year access purchases are a one-time payment and your access expires after one year.

Are there any system requirements?

Our Online Course works on any device, but for the best experience we recommend using either the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browser.

All set? It’s time to choose your level! 

^ START LEARNING ASL TODAY! ^

© 2018 | Start ASL