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Curriculum:  American Sign Language, online



A university division chair writes:

Subject: ASL 101 course at XYZ University running into problems

Dr. Vicars, we plan to have our first ASL course in Spring 2021. We have a person teaching the course who is certified as an instructor for deaf students and is hearing impaired herself. In a face-to-face class, she is super comfortable.

We never planned to have this online but due to Covid we will do it synchronously on zoom. Because we are moving to an online format, we are wondering if we can tap into some of your materials on ASL University.

I wanted to get your permission before we used anything you have posted, which is quite a LOT! Amazing resources.
I look forward to hearing from you.

[Name and other details removed to protect this person and school's privacy]


Dear Dr. _______.

I have online tests, thousands of video clips, hundreds of instructional videos, hundreds of expansion pages, along with course templates that can be uploaded to Canvas or Blackboard (or other SCORM compatible learning management systems) complete with dozens of quizzes that provide automated grading.

I can totally solve your problem and provide your instructor a turn-key ready to go, easy to teach online ASL curriculum perfect for spring semester.

However, here's the thing -- I worked hard for many years to build an online curriculum in ASL. It took hundreds and hundreds of hours. (Which is why your local instructor is running into problems -- it takes hundreds of hours to set up a decent online ASL course that works effectively -- and then more hours to teach it.)

Normally I charge $X,XXX per course for the right for a university or school to move my materials onto their server (for example to play my instructional videos without advertising or to move my lesson plans into their course shells).

An online school back East just sent me a check for $XX,XXX for one year's worth of using multiple levels of my curriculum. Michigan Virtual Schools just sent me a check for $XX,XXX for ASL 1 and ASL 2. ASL.TC (a subsidiary of ASLU) sends me $XX,XXX a year to use this curriculum. At my own private school I normally charge $XXX tuition per student for students who take the course from me directly via ASL University (however I'll be lowering that fee soon due to the fact that so many people right now are scrambling to create their own ASL online courses due to the pandemic).

You might not have any funding. I totally understand. If you would like to do the free version, here is my permissions page:

Your instructor can tell students to "go over to Lifeprint and study such and such lessons" for free and then your instructor can build their own tests, etc. and the semester should go fine.

Or if you have some funding I'd be happy to negotiate a full course templates, sample syllabi, full permission to use the material, ready to go quizzes, etc. One approach to consider is the fact that the ASLU curriculum removes the need for students to purchase any additional textbooks. Four sections of 30 students (a regular full-time course load for an instructor) equals 120 students. 120 x $80 textbook cost savings per student based on the Signing Naturally text = $9,600 saved per semester. Sure, it is the students who save the money and not the Department but the point remains.

Warm regards,

- Bill
William G. Vicars, Ed.D.
Full-time, tenured, full-professor of American Sign Language* (2020)
California State University, Sacramento
Director, ASL University
YouTube: 283,000 subscribers




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ASL resources by    Dr. William Vicars