Online Sign Language Lessons, Classes and Courses

Online sign language courses explore the history and culture of the deaf community and teach individuals the skills needed to use sign language as an interpreter, teacher or counselor. This article discusses some of the most common online sign language courses.

Essential Information

Online courses in sign language teach students to express themselves and develop conversational skills by using gestures with their fingers, hands and arms. Students may also explore the literature used by the deaf community and investigate how it compares to English. Online sign language courses can be taken fully online and may be offered as a single class or as part of a certificate program.

Course Requirements

Sign language courses require access to a DVD player and recorder so students can review lessons and submit videos of themselves performing sign language for testing, which may also be done at an off-campus testing site. Students must demonstrate their skill in sign language by communicating a story, poem or lecture in sign language, which is evaluated against the English version.

List of Online Sign Language Courses

The most commonly offered online sign language courses are profiled below.

Fundamentals of American Sign Language Course

Students learn the fundamental skills needed to become competent in sign language, including fingerspelling, syntax, vocabulary and other signals. They learn gesturing and the application of these skills to communicate stories, dialogues and narratives at the basic level. This course serves as a foundation for additional sign language courses that are part of a certificate program.

ASL as a Second Language Course

Students are introduced to the deaf community in the U.S., and they explore the problems faced by adults when learning ASL as a second language. Students examine the differences in literature and language. They learn how to use non-verbal communication and visual gestures to communicate with deaf people.

Culture of the Deaf Community Course

This course examines the human ear and the causes, types and affects of hearing loss. Students gain perspectives on deafness and an understanding of how the educational system deals with deaf children. They learn terminology used by the deaf community.

History of Deaf People Course

Students in an online sign language course explore the history and issues facing the deaf community. They examine legal and educational issues and the role the Americans with Disabilities Act has had on them. Students participate in online discussions and attend events where sign language is the primary form of communication.

Comparative Linguistics: ASL and English Course

Students compare and explore spoken English and American Sign Language on five different levels of linguistics. This advance course reviews the general similarities and structures between the two languages and illustrates how sign language can be considered a natural language when compared with spoken English.

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