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Dr. Bill Vicars: Workshops

A while back an ASL Hero wrote:

Dr. Bill,
I teach adjunct at a local community college, Genesee Community College, Batavia, NY, about 45 minutes from NTID. We offer a Deaf Studies certificate. The college website is www.genesee.edu. I'd love to discuss our curriculum and my teaching style if you are interested and able.

It's a poor, rural area.
How much for a workshop?
What workshops do you offer?
What else can you help teach my students?
I'm going to have to sit down and go through Lifeprint more in-depth. I knew I liked the site, now I know why!
Next question, because I've been focusing on my thesis and teaching.
Does the website have story videos? Classifier stories?


_______________ (Name blanked to respect the person's privacy plus minor edits)


Hello.  :)
If your local college can come up with the funds for airfare, hotel, car rental, and a per diem, I'd be happy to come out and do a one-day workshop for $_____.
(Morning & and afternoon -- from 9AM to 4pm, including a "working" lunch.)  The workshops I give generally center around:
ASL Pedagogy (the teaching of ASL, games, activities, course design, program design, and the use of Lifeprint in the classroom.)
Advanced Vocabulary
ASL  Linguistics
Plus I'm quite good at answering "Dear Dr. Bill" type questions by other ASL instructors faced with sticky, tough, or thorny situations in the classroom since I've spent so much time in front of audiences of many types and sizes.  This makes for some fun/lively Q and A sessions at workshops.
Each day that goes by I add more and more videos to the website.  Most of them are just "vocabulary" at this point, but I will be adding more "stories" including examples of classifier usage.  It takes quite a bit of time to deal with the technology, but I plug away at it and LP becomes better as the semesters go by.
Dr. Bill
William Vicars, Ed.D.
Director, ASL Online and Immersion Programs - CCE
California State University - Sacramento
6000 J St. - Eureka Hall, Room 308
Sacramento, CA 95819-6079
BillVicars@aol.com * www.Lifeprint.com * ASL.ms * ASLpah.com

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Dr. Bill's Workshop Availability:

Question:  Where are you coming from so I can estimate the cost of the airfare?

Answer:  I'm based out of: "Sacramento International Airport"  Airport Code: SMF

Question:  Do you prefer to stay one night or two?

Answer:  Two nights.  In general I arrive the evening before the workshop.  I drive over to the location to make sure I know exactly how to get to the building and room.  Then the next morning I do the morning session from 9 to 12, followed by lunch, and the afternoon session from 1 to 4.   Then 40 minutes of packing up and chatting with the participants.  Then usually a group of us head out to a restaurant to eat and chat for a few hours before I head back to the hotel to get some sleep.  Then the next morning I like to do breakfast with the organizer and/or whichever of the key people the organizer wants to invite.  Depending on when the outgoing flight is I enjoy trying to fit in a visit to at least one landmark or local attraction prior to heading to the airport.

Question:  Can students attend your workshops, or would you prefer to keep it to teachers?

Answer:  I'm flexible.  Some workshops are appropriate for students others are not.  Realistically everyone sitting in the workshop is a "student." The pertinent question is, "Does this person understand ASL well enough to comprehend and benefit from this particular workshop?"   What it comes down to is the "lowest common denominator."   You wouldn't invite an ASL 1 student to an ASL 4 class because he or she would slow down the other students.
If a student doesn't understand ASL well -- they can still benefit from via accommodations if the local organization chooses to provide:
1.  ASL to Voice interpretation.  (This can be cost prohibitive depending on interpreter fees.)
2.  A reverse CART  (Communication Access Realtime Translation) setup using an ASL fluent stenographer and special software and/or equipment to caption everything that is signed during the teleconference, etc.)
3.  A workshop with a basic topic that is presented with sufficient bilingual supports (PowerPoints, handouts, visuals, pre-readings, native-language breakout discussion groups, poster or whiteboard lists, etc.)
4.  An entertainment workshop involving a lot of mime.
5.  A discussion workshop presented in English.
6.  A skill building workshop which is the equivalent of a high-quality, fast-pasted, ASL class.

So, whether or not to invite students to a workshop depends on the environment you want to foster, the budget available for accommodations, and the level of the topic.

Question:  Do you mind if we charge a nominal fee to people not from the college who attend?

Answer:  That's fine.  Better yet, charge an arm and a leg.  That way people will realize what we are doing here as important and that the information is valuable.  Consider establishing a gate of $____ or more and then use "early bird" and "group rate" systems to make the workshop "affordable."  Provide "scholarships" for a certain number of local students so they can afford the workshop fee.  Then let people know "on the side" that the only reason why you are able to afford this "Dr. so and so guy from over 50 miles away" is because he enjoys travel and he needs to do a certain amount of "community service" to achieve tenure and promotions at his day job.  Really, think about it from the perspective of a college instructor.  For a full-time college professor it looks good in your file (retention, tenure, and promotion file) to be giving workshops and presentations to your peers.

The slow not-fun way to go about that process is to spend many hours applying and submitting papers to conference planning committees "hoping" they will pick you to present and then paying a $_____ conference fee, your own airfare, hotel, and car rental -- plus having to drop whatever you are doing so you can meet the schedule of the conference planners -- all so you can go someplace you may or may not want to go and give away your knowledge and experience (not to mention any jokes or clever tricks) for FREE?!

It is much better instead to set up win / win situations and do workshops for a modest sum plus the airfare, hotel, and car rental. 

I find that when ASL instructors learn about Lifeprint and how to use it in the classroom they almost always want to use it to enhance their own classes.  This creates a virtuous cycle by bringing more eyeballs to Lifeprint.  Thus the more I help others get what they want, the more I get what I want.  Win / win.

In a message dated [a while back], an ASL Hero writes:

Dr. Bill,
What would it take to get you to come to Texas and do an intense workshop training aimed at ASL teachers teaching at the high school level?
Again, thank you for your response.  My students will be thrilled.  And 'by the way, I truly believe I am a descriptive ASL teacher.  I try hard to help them understand that they need to learn from the Deaf
community and realize that language is living! :)
-- Lara


Hello Lara,

I'd be happy to come do a such a workshop.  The cost would depend on a few factors, but a ballpark range would be:  $3,000.00 depending on air, hotel, auto, and per diem.

I suppose it breaks down to something like this:
$200 to put on a tie.
$____ per workshop hour.

[Edit:  Those of you reading this, listing a dollar amount per workshop-hour concept is silly because flying or driving out to do a two or three-hour workshop wipes out a day and a half of productivity.  Doing a 3 hour workshop amounts to 16 to 20 hours of lost productivity / work-time. Looking up flight schedules takes time. Finding a decent car rental and hotel near the workshop site takes time.  Packing a travel bag takes time, getting to the airport takes time, airport shuttles take time, sitting in airports takes time, standing in airport security lines takes time. Heck, sometimes the emails back and forth with an event organizer take longer than the presentation itself.]

For that modest sum you get all this:
A scintillating workshop on the topic or topics of your choice.
Reproduction rights to a number of limited-edition handouts provided to you on genuine tree-based paper (and a USB stick).
The right to ask me questions while I spatter ketchup on my tie at lunch.
Wait...there's more...
An exquisitely crafted "I LOVE YOU key-chain made out of one of the most durable substances in the world!
[Update: Sorry, for those of you reading this -- the keychains are sold out. But the workshop is still pretty good.]
That's about covers it.
Dr. Bill

(contact info)

p.s.  No. I'm not willing to come do the seminar without my tie for a discount.

Lara writes:
You're funny. :)
If we cannot afford to bring you here can you share with me your workshop schedule?  Do you have one?  It would be AWESOME if you had one in TEXAS this SUMMER!!  (<--hint, hint)--I could maybe get my district to pay my expenses to travel to where YOU are already giving a workshop.

I'm not scheduled for any workshops this summer.  Mostly just working on a research project (distance education). 
But feel free to tell your district that YOU need to go to an ASL workshop at the Half Moon Beach Club in Jamaica.
 You'll be the only participant in the workshop.  When you get there contact me and I'll email you a few tips on teaching ASL.  Make sure to tell me where you want the certificate of completion sent so you can show it to your principal. 
Bring me back a souvenir.
Dr. Bill

If you want a workshop, just let me know what topics your people are interested in. 
Then I can custom design a workshop for you.

Some of my strengths and or the types of topics I can do right off the top of my head are:
1.  How to Make a Decent Living Teaching ASL: In this workshop I discuss: How to set up your own ASL business.  Advertising. Dealing with customers.  Getting free publicity. How to get a job at a college.  How to get a job at a community education program.  How to set up new programs.  How to develop a curriculum.  How to get certified.  How to get a relevant degree.  And many more topics.
2.  The future of ASL teaching and interpreter training.  In this workshop I discuss: Current trends in ASL instruction. My predictions for future trends. How technology is influencing ASL instruction.  Web-based (grass roots) student evaluation of ASL instructors. How online instruction will impact ASL teaching.  Results of research comparing online ASL instruction to traditional classroom instruction.  My experiences in radical teaching methodology including a 9-week immersion program, an 18-month interpreter preparation program, and 3-day immersion excursions. And how to tame your computer so it can help you teach ASL.
3.  I also put on a scintillatingly good ASL Linguistics workshop.  ;-)

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