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Also see: Equivalency: Classroom Contact Hours
Also see: ASLU Catalog
Also see: Certification
ASL University (ASLU) is not accredited.
ASLU is simply an online educational resource that happens to offer a few ASL courses and other resources.
At the time of this writing we are not seeking accreditation.
ASL University only provides continuing education units not college credit.
High School Homeschoolers love ASLU for providing an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.
ASLU provides signature documentation when a student can demonstrate a level of American Sign Language knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA's) --including signing, ability, culture, history, and terminology equivalent to what is expected of a typical college-level first semester ASL course. The student can then present the documentation to his school or employer to satisfy pre-determined and previously agreed to requirements.
To receive college credit from a recognized accredited educational institution students should contact the intended institution and make arrangements with them in writing.
ASL University provides documentation to registered students of having completed a certain amount of work or having demonstrated a certain level of proficiency. This documentation is not provided to non-registered non-tuition-paying students.
This documentation may or may not be used toward fulfillment of graduation or foreign language requirements at a local school. Check with your local school prior to registering for an ASLU course.
Tip: Ask the target school if they are willing to consider acceptance of a completion of a community education course offered by a private school. If the answer is no -- then this course is not for you.
Again, to be clear: ASLU doesn't offer "credit." It offers CEUs. Some students sign up under their local university or meet with an advisor who may agree to accept the ASLU courses in satisfaction of or to waive language requirements etc.
The ASLU version of various American Sign Language courses (Levels 1 through 4) are similar to the same courses I have taught at various accredited colleges for the past 30 years.
Course Description: ASL 1 is an introduction to American Sign Language. This course introduces basic vocabulary, grammatical knowledge, and cultural awareness. Students also learn fingerspellling, and basic ASL numbering. Prerequisites: None, this is an introductory class.
Course rigor: The course grade is based on the student's completed assignments and quiz scores -- including 15 lesson quizzes, 3 unit tests, a research paper, a culture and terminology test, an instructor-graded video project and an in-person proctored final exam. The course covers over 300 vocabulary concepts, 300 sentences, numerous grammar principles & cultural items as well as fingerspelling and signed numbers.
Course validity: The course was designed by Dr. Bill Vicars who holds an earned doctorate in Deaf Studies / Deaf Education from an accredited university (Lamar University, Texas), and has over 25 years of experience teaching American Sign Language, visual language linguistics, and sign language pedagogy in a wide variety of settings including internationally (Singapore, Guyana,) and online (with over 100,000 subscribers to youtube.com/billvicars). Currently Dr. Vicars is a full-time, tenured, award-winning*, professor** of American Sign Language at Sacramento State University.
(*Teacher of the Year)
(** Full professor, not just an "assistant" or "associate" professor. Has been promoted three times after peer review via a primary and secondary committee as well as the Chair, Dean, and Provost.)
Historical Fact: Back in 2004 at California State University, Sacramento, Dr. William (Bill) Harris, the Chair of a Department at CSUS, asked Dr. Bill Vicars to teach the ASLU (Lifeprint.com) course through the CSUS College of Continuing Education for credit since the Chair wanted to see the Department expand into online instruction. The course EDS 51 section 50 was taught at CSUS for college credit for over a decade via the CSUS College of Continuing Education. That specific section of EDS 51 (ASL 1) and EDS 52 (ASL 2) used the ASLU (Lifeprint.com) curriculum for over ten years (2005 through at least 2015).
In a message dated 4/16/2005 3:58:15 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, school4asl@ writes:Dear Dr. Vicars:I am interested in attaining a certificate in ASL in a short amount of time and am interested in the program. I have seen a lot of scams out on the internet. How am I to know if this is a legitimate program? I want to be able to interpret for a summer program this summer. Sign Language comes to me easily and I know if I applied myself I could learn the stuff offered through this program. I have no doubts from what I've seen through the free program offered online that the program itself is legitimate, but I question the completion/certificate.Sincerely,Liz _______
Hello Liz,Taking two levels of ASL via the internet will NOT prepare you to interpret.
A typical in-person first semester language course will generally help the students achieve an ACTFL proficiency level of "novice high" for listening/speaking, and "novice mid" for reading/writing.
A second semester language course will generally help the students achieve an ACTFL proficiency level of "intermediate low" for listening/speaking and "novice high" for reading/writing.
What about an online ASL class?
I'm finding that my students, after two semesters are achieving an ACTFL proficiency level of "intermediate low" for receptive skills and a "novice high" for expressive skills. This corresponds to the increased emphasis on receptive skills during the instruction process.
To legitimately interpret ASL, I would recommend at least a level of "Advanced-High." This would require several years of study (around 600 instructional contact hours) and many hundreds of hours of practice.
As far as the ASLU certificate of completion goes it is simply a piece of paper that states you have successfully completed an ASL course. Go here for an example: transcript.
My online courses can certainly help you in your efforts to become an interpreter but to become good enough to get certified you will most likely need to enroll in an actual Interpreter Training Program.
p.s. Don't confuse the concept of a "certificate of completion" of an ASL course versus "certification as a Certified Interpreter for the Deaf." The first takes about 75 hours. The second takes more along the lines of 7,500 hours. (600 seat-time classroom hours, 900 homework hours, and a frigging gob of observation, practicum, mentorship, and hanging out with Deaf people hours.)
Question: A student asked where they might be in regard to typical "proficiency levels" after 3 semesters of the ASLU program.
I'm finding that students, after two semesters are achieving an ACTFL proficiency level of "intermediate low" for receptive skills and a "novice high" for expressive skills. Those who complete a third semester with an "A" and who invested at least 75 contact hours with each course as well as another 75 or so hours of "practice" for each level tend to reach the "intermediate mid" for receptive skills and "intermediate low" for expressive skills.
My experience has been that some students take ASL classes because they needed "something" to fill their course schedule. Others however take my classes because they actually want to know the language. The students who are just doing the bare minimum will end up one or two proficiency jumps (low/mid/high) lower (during the same period of study) than students who are actually interested in learning the language. If a student has a practice partner and they actually practice together often -- that student will be much, much further along at the end of a course than a student without a practice partner.
A student named Garrick asked: Is ASL University Accredited?
Dr. Bill Vicars' Response: My wife tells me I'm "certifiable."
(Ahem. That's an old reference to being "certifiably crazy" for those of you too young to catch that joke.)
Um...no. ASL University is not accredited by any government agency that I know of.
I hold a doctorate from an accredited university (Lamar U, in Beaumont, TX).
Let me give you some perspective:
ASL "University" was set up in 1997 as a resource for my students. It was a website (lifeprint.com) that served as a textbook for a chatroom based ASL course offered through AOL.
Back then the idea of an "actual" university being online was so rare and new as to be silly. People saw the name "ASL University" and knew that it was just a clever name for some sort of ASL learning resource site, but they never thought, "Wow! Getting an ASL degree online! That's amazing! I wonder if they are accredited?"
Well, time marched on and before long many real universities DID start showing up on the net. These days it is expected that a University have an online presence. People started emailing me--asking how to register, asking how much tuition was, asking if ASLU was accredited.
Quite honestly, I'm not seeking "accreditation" for ASLU. Maybe someday. For now this site serves as an online curriculum resource used by various instructors. ASLU derives its credibility from me, not some outside source.
(William G. Vicars, Ed.D.)
* Want to help support ASL University? It's easy: DONATE (Thanks!)
* Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."
* Want even more ASL resources? Visit the "ASL Training Center!" (Subscription Extension of ASLU)
* Also check out Dr. Bill's channel: www.youtube.com/billvicars
You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™
ASL resources by Lifeprint.com © Dr. William Vicars