Note: This syllabus is currently under construction, but you are welcome to use it and/or adapt it to your needs. - Dr. Bill

Syllabus “American Sign Language 1”  [Self-Study / Homeschool / Proctored]

Student name: 


Course description:  An introduction to American Sign Language. Topics include: basic vocabulary, grammar, history, fingerspelling, numbers, terminology, and Deaf culture. Special note: This course will require 45 to 60 online contact-hours.

Materials The course makes extensive use of lessons 1-15 at the website:
Optional materials You may wish to order the "superdisk."


should go through the lessons sequentially starting with lesson one.  Go to the website and find the "Lessons" link and click on it.  Then open up lesson 1.  Read through lesson one and click on the links to the vocabulary.  For each vocabulary link you should read the whole page and do the sign until you have it memorized. Then sign all of the practice sentences and read any of the other material in the lesson. After you have studied the vocabulary and sentences for the lesson, find the "quiz" link and take the quiz for that lesson.

Total points possible:  1400.  Scale:  100-95%=A, 90 = A-, 87=B+, 83=B, 80=B-, 77=C+,73=C, 70=C-, 67=D+, 63=D, 60=D-, 59=E.




Research Paper


15 Quizzes




Make ups:
This class is self-paced and you can submit your assignments to your proctor via email. That means there is really no reason for missing an assignment. If you turn in your quizzes or research paper late your proctor may decide to give you zero.  If your computer is prone to crashing, save your work often and submit it early. 


Instructions for how to write a paper that gets you an "F" for the course:

1.  Browse the internet and cut and paste until you have 500 words worth of plagiarized information. 
2.  Change a word here and  there. Rearrange the information. 
3.  Format it really nice.
4.  Put your name on it and send it in. 

Instructions on how to write a "D" paper:  

1. Pick an ASL topic that looks easy.
2. Get a few transient references from the net.
3. Write 500 words the night before it is due.

Instructions on how to write an "A" paper:


  Is the topic an ASL topic? (Don't hand in a paper on "cochlear implants curing deafness.")

  Is my report 500 words or more?

  Did I do a research paper rather than a “book report?”  (Book reports are fine if that is the assignment you are supposed to be doing. This checklist is for "research papers" --not book reports.)

  Did I document where I got my information?  Did I cite at least 3 enduring, traceable sources of information in my references?

  Even if I have changed "every word" in the sentence-- if I've borrowed someone else's idea--did I provide a reference?

  Did I use parenthetical expressions (citations) at the end of ideas that I've gotten from other people? Do these citations correspond to full references at the end of the paper?  Citations in the body of my paper use an opening parenthesis, author's last name, comma, year of publication and a closing parenthesis.  For example (Vicars, 2001).

  At the end of my document I have provided a list of references that include the author's last name and first initial, the publication date, the name of the article, book, or journal, the publisher and the place of publication.  [Dr. Bill recommends "APA style" references.] 

  I have avoided quoting directly out of books or articles, but when it was absolutely necessary to do so I have made sure to cite the exact page number in my reference entry at the end of my research paper.

  Any time I used an author’s ideas word for word; did I put those words in quote marks?  
  Did I limit the number of direct quotes in my paper?  Did I limit the length of the quotes? (No paragraph-long quotes.)

  I have used online references only if I've been able to ascertain the actual author's name, date of publication, title of the document, and name of the publisher. Even so, I’ve still provided at least three other references that are more permanent in nature.
  If I’ve needed to write less than 500 words I secured permission from the instructor.

  I have grammar checked my document.

  Does my paper contain fewer than three misspellings? (Preferably none.)
  I know the deadline for when this paper is due.
I have submitted my report in electronic format prior to the due date.
I know that this paper might be published by Lifeprint and I give them permission.

Acceptable references at ASL University:

In the body of your document just use the last name of the author and the year, for example, (Vicars, 2001). Then at the end of your document you put the word "references"  followed by a list of the books and articles which influenced your writing. 

If reference is a book:
Author's last name, first initial. (year). Title of book-- underline it. Place of publication: Name of publisher. 
Vicars, W. (1998). Sign Me Up! Salt Lake City, Utah: Lifeprint Institute.

If reference is a Journal:
Author's last name, first name. (year). Title of journal article only capitalize the first letter. Name of journal underline it. Volume number, starting page number-ending page number.
Vicars, William. (1999). Teaching ASL online. Journal of ASL. 7, 139-156.

If you find an online source that specifies the actual author's name, date of publication, title of the document, and name of the publisher--(good luck)--I'll accept the reference.  Note, this must be from an original source document on the web, do not quote someone else's research paper.

If reference is a web page:
Author's last name, first name. (Year, Mo. day). Title of the article or web page goes here, underline it and only capitalize the first letter and words that are always capitalized.  Title of the journal, general website, or book goes here . Name of the publisher or the sponsoring organization goes here. Retrieved day Mo. Year: <full web address>.

Vicars, William. (2001, Jan. 4). Nonlinguistic communication. ASL University Library. Lifeprint Institute. Retrieved 12, Feb. 2001: <>.






Date Due



Lesson 1

Quiz 1



Lesson 2

Quiz 2



Lesson 3

Quiz 3



Lesson 4

Quiz 4



Lesson 5

Quiz 5



Lesson 6

Quiz 6



Lesson 7

Quiz 7



Lesson 8

Quiz 8



Lesson 9

Quiz 9



Lesson 10

Quiz 10



Lesson 11

Quiz 11



Lesson 12

Quiz 12



Lesson 13

Quiz 13



Lesson 14

Quiz 14



Lesson 15

Quiz 15