Question: Is ASL University really free?
Answer: The website is free.
You can self-study for free. Some students buy additional materials from the
bookstore so they can test their own progress, but you don't need to do that
to benefit from the lessons.
If you want documentation, that requires
registration and payment of
I'm sorry to be so frank about this, but how does one know that this university is a credible source for a
college education? Do the courses that you offer give you a degree in asl in the end? If one is not going to
receive a degree in asl when the courses are finished with good grades why would one spend nearly $500 every six
months on the program? This would be an awesome idea if one was able to obtain a degree after completion.
Thank you for your time.
Actually I encourage people NOT to register for the Lifeprint.com ASLU program.
Don't do it.
If you don't need testing and documentation
I recommend you save your money and study
for free on your own
using the lessons at the Lifeprint.com website.
But some people need documentation of having participated in an
organized continuing education experience, under responsible
sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction.
Since it takes us a lot of extra work and extra
time to document a student's progress and review their receptive
final exam, video project, and research paper, we
charge tuition. The tuition is our payment for making sure
that such individuals are serious students and have put forth the effort to complete
the quizzes and assignments required for the registered program.
It takes about $90,000 and quite a few years of attendance
at accredited undergraduate and graduate institutions of higher
education to receive an advanced degree such as a doctorate. (Such
as an "EdD" = Doctorate of Education).
Participants registering for ASLU classes prearrange with their local
school to accept my piece of paper
(documentation) and grant college credit and/or satisfy
credit or language requirements having to do with their
For a college student, that generally means registering at his or
her local college for an "independent study" class under a local
instructor or advisor and then completing the Lifeprint course and
then having the Lifeprint instructor send to student's local
instructor documentation of the student's having completed the
Lifeprint ASL course. At that point the local instructor is able to
award the student "independent study" college credit for their
participation in this program.
So those individuals are indeed
getting a degree. They get it from their local school.
If Lifeprint can help with that process, I'm glad. If not, then students
should save their money and enjoy the self-study aspect of the lessons for free.
(William Vicars, EdD)
p.s. For more details see my bio
How do I register for
Answer: If you just want to "self-study" you don't need to register. You
don't want to register for this program. Registration
costs money. I suggest you just self-study.
If you decide you must have documentation of participation -- you can learn about
the registration process by going to:
So, the website is free unless I want documentation.
What is required to receive documentation of my
Answer: What it boils down to is: Quizzes, a research paper, a
proctored receptive final, and a
video of you signing.
Seat time means nothing. I have determined that
15 quizzes, three unit tests, a
research paper, a receptive final and an expressive final are worth
four (3) semester-credit hours for college-transfer purposes. If a student can pass the quizzes,
the finals and turns in a decent research paper I'll document that
in my professional opinion that this student has earned the equivalent of three
semester-hours of credit.. This documentation may or may not be accepted by your
"local university" as transfer credit or as independent study credit. If "college credit" or "employer recognized continuing education units" are your goal, you should first
make sure that your college or employer will accept your work at ASL University.
(If I were you, I'd get it in writing.)
If a student can prove to me that he or she:
* Has developed an appropriate understanding of ASL grammar
* Knows approximately
300 (three hundred) ASL vocabulary concepts
* Is able to express those
300 concepts using ASL grammar (facial expressions / syntax)
* Has a basic understanding of the history of ASL
* Has a basic understanding of Deaf Culture
* Knows basic ASL fingerspelling and numbers
--I'll document that
the student has demonstrated knowledge skills and abilities
equivalent to that of a Level-1 ASL course. This would be equal to a
4-semester-credit hour undergraduate-level college course or a
half-year high school course.
A student can demonstrate the above knowledge by completing:
Twenty quizzes (cumulative)
2. A 500-word research papers (one per level).
A receptive final exam
4. An expressive video project
How much of that is ready? It is ready to go.
Of the first 40 students
to go through this program when it was offered for college credit at
Lamar University as part of my dissertation: Three failed it. Most got B's. A couple
and D's and a fair number got A's. Since then over 30 different
colleges and/or high school districts have awarded students college
or district credit based on participation in this program. I've also
set up a requirement that you have to pass the final exam and video
project with at least 70% accuracy in order to pass the class.
Can I start any time?
Answer: Yes, you can start studying
on your own any time. Registered
students choose their own schedule (up to one year) to complete each level.
Where do I start?
Answer: I'd go to the
Start with lesson 1 and work your way through the
Another great place to start is the first 100
Or if you are seeking credit, visit the
catalog page and read through the information there.
fun, visit the
and just browse.
How do I contact you?
Answer: By email or snail mail. See:
In a message dated 3/21/2006 7:50:38 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, Michelle
from New York writes:
Hi Dr. Vicars.
I would like to speak with you regarding the online classes for
accreditation. I am not one to just read something and sign up without
verbally speaking with someone. I am a teacher who would like to become
fluent in ASL so as to teach deaf kids or be an interpreter. I would rather
take an online course than having to go back to the traditional classroom. I
have absolutely no patience for that.
Please email me your number so we can talk further, thanks.
Michelle from NY
I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have via email. Due to my hearing loss I avoid talking on the phone.
I do understand that you are not the type of person who just signs up for
something without talking to someone. And I respect that. Thus feel free to
not sign up. (heh) You might think, gosh "I guess he doesn't want my money."
Oh, sure, I like money and could always use more of it, but I'm not doing
the online classes for the money.
I used to teach computer classes and earned gobs of money, but it was high
stress trying to understand the voices of my students in a noisy computer
So, now I teach ASL full-time at a local university and began offering the
online courses as a way to help out parents of deaf children who live in
rural areas and were physically unable to attend an in-person class. I'm
much happier now being cash-poor but doing something I love--that fits my
teaching and communication style.
Many people started wanting documentation for having participated in the
online class. That meant I'd have to insure that they actually learned
something. To do so meant I'd have to personally review their quizzes, final exam and
a video submission--thus requiring a substantial investment of my time. So I
charge money for that to keep me interested and the student committed.
Now, from what you say, you want to learn ASL so you can teach Deaf
If you don't need any documentation, I suggest you NOT register, NOT pay,
and just self-study online for free (at Lifeprint.com), use resources from
your local library and attend local Deaf events. Eventually you
should find a college that offers a four-year degree in Deaf
Education and then go on to pursue a Masters in Deaf Education.
On the other hand, if you feel you need documentation from me
for having participated in the ASLU course and you have questions, (after
reading the FAQs) feel free
to email them to me.
William Vicars, Ed.D.
How many levels are there?
Answer: Currently, (as I type this) there are two. But
as I add new courses I'll post them to the
In a message dated 6/18/2002 2:23:08 PM Pacific Daylight Time, a speech
Does your on-line course go beyond [the first year credit]? If so, can a student obtain dual credit
for both high school and college credit? I am trying to get one of my high school
students high school credit for ASL as we can't meet his needs under our current
foreign language curriculum.
Thank you for your reply.
An individual high school or college may award credit based on
the documentation I supply. It happens all the time. I simply provide
documentation that the student took my course. The documentation is a certificate of completion
and a statement of performance (grade/explanation). At this time I just have
the first and second semester programs.
Have a nice day.
Can I Instant Message
Answer: No (sorry, thanks).
In the old days I used to do IMs. But it got to the point where I
couldn't work more than a couple minutes without someone IMing me.
So I had to cut off IM and (video phone) VP. Now I interact
with the public via email.
But hey, for what it is worth, below is an example of a typical IM
conversation. This girl's questions could have been answered
had she taken the time to do a bit of reading in the Frequently
Asked Questions page and elsewhere in the site.
KeenaGirl: hi, if
i am not a registered student does that mean i shouldn't IM you?
Dr.Vicars: Well...I'll make an exception heh. Go ahead. :)
Dr.Vicars: What's on your mind?
KeenaGirl: well i sent you a e-mail with a question
Dr.Vicars: Yah...I see it: << Hi Bill, I have a question. I am in
lesson 2 on vocabulary. Do i need to learn all of the words that are
listed on the "GIRL" page...like LITTLE GIRL, WOMEN, LADY. or do i
just need to learn GIRL? Thanks a lot I am having a blast!>>
Dr.Vicars: Depends on your goal.
KeenaGirl: oh ok
Dr.Vicars: Why are you going through the lessons?
KeenaGirl: umm because i like ASL a lot and i wanted to learn more
and i think that's it.
Dr.Vicars: Well then, I think it is totally up to you if you want to
study deeply and understand it. If it were ME going through the
lessons I'd do so very carefully.
KeenaGirl: what do u mean so very carefully?
Dr.Vicars: I mean learn all the little signs associated with the
KeenaGirl: o ok i get it.
Dr.Vicars: Good. :)
KeenaGirl: o what do u mean about the
research paper, i don't think i have ever done one
Dr.Vicars: It is explained on the website. Just read more and it
should be clear. As a self-study student you don't need to do one.
KeenaGirl: i don't?
Dr.Vicars: That is for students who are studying for a class either
at home or in an official school program.
KeenaGirl: oh but does that mean it wont go towards college if i
don't do it?
Dr.Vicars: It won't go toward college even if you do do it unless
you first contact your college and make sure they are willing to
give you independent study credit or some other type of credit.
Also, most colleges will want documentation of your involvement in
the course. If you want me to document your participation in the
course you will need to register and pay tuition..
KeenaGirl: ok i understand
KeenaGirl: thanx i think that is all for now
Dr.Vicars: You are welcome. Have a nice day.
Where's the chatroom?
about three years I taught a "live" course via AOL using a chatroom and a
website. Many of the best moments of those chats were compiled into
my book, "Sign Me Up!" (Much of which has been saved to the
archives pages.) Eventually I'll go back to doing live sessions,
but for now I'm focusing on developing the online lessons at ASL University. As a progressive
instructor of American Sign Language, I frequently receive e-mail asking all
kinds of questions related to who I am and the courses I teach both online
and in person. I am grateful that most of the questions are from polite
individuals who are genuinely curious, open-minded, and/or actually
interested in learning ASL.
Can I really learn ASL online?
Answer: There are many aspects to a decent introductory course in
American Sign Language.
Some, (but not necessarily all) of the components to
consider in such a course might include:
Grammar, (including non-manual behavior or "body language")
Resources: Bibliographies, Library access, videos, practice
There are many tools or methods a person can use as they go about
the process of learning ASL. For example:
One-on-one interaction with Deaf people
Those of you who are in the process of learning ASL will no doubt
become familiar with one or more ASL texts for sale at your local bookstore.
It is not wrong to call such a book an "ASL" text--even though it
is limited by the medium, (words on paper). The book is not able to
"give feedback." It is not able to provide interactive practice
for the self-learner. But, still the book does describe facial expressions
and body language. It discusses ASL grammar. It presents ASL lexicon,
syntax, and usage guidelines. It would NOT be appropriate to label such a
text as a PSE or SEE text just because it is not interactive.
Video disks and streaming video provide a vastly improved medium
for presenting ASL lessons, yet the instruction is
Of course, face to face interactive instruction from a native ASL
signer is certainly to be preferred over textbooks and video. I'm sure most of us would also prefer such instruction to
take place in a natural environment. For example, if I were learning how to
discuss "FOOD" in ASL, I would like to do it in a restaurant,
while being served by a Deaf waiter, and surrounded by Deaf friends!
Even though personal instruction and interaction with Deaf people is arguably the
"best" method for learning ASL, certainly nobody in his or her
right mind would condemn the value of ASL videos and
textbooks--especially considering the fact that not everyone has access to a
"d/Deaf" person. People tend though to do the best they can with
what they have.
Technology now makes it possible to
actually provide a live video ASL course on the web.
That technology will eventually become commonplace.
On an old 56Kbps line the video quality just wasn't good
enough for point to multipoint use. If everybody involved has broadband
online full-motion video is a great resource. It all takes time and money, but any worthwhile effort has to start
It is my hope that in my own small way I am benefiting my
community. I try my best to be tolerant and respectful of everyone.
Can I get certified?
Answer: Registered students can receive a certificate of completion. That is
different from being "certified." If you want to become
"certified" you should talk to your state's division of
occupational licensing, a local school
program advisor, or look up the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf using
your favorite internet search engine. If you want to receive college credit for this
course you will need to speak with the academic advisor at your college
Credit, or "Continuing Education Units" (CEUs) could be
defined a number of ways.
Some organizations (including ASLU / Lifeprint) say that one Continuing Education Unit is equal to ten
contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education
experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified
You can receive "CEUs" from Lifeprint Institute
(Lifeprint.com). Depending on your situation this may or may not count toward whatever goal
it is you are seeking, (school district lane change credit, employment
training, community service hours, etc.).
The best way to approach the situation of "getting
credit" is to get pre-approval from your organization to accept this course
as filling their requirements for College credit or Continuing Education
Units credits (CEUs).
Will there be advanced courses offered?
I'm focusing on ASL 1 and ASL 2 for now. I will post
additional lessons for those who wish to self study beyond ASL 2 but
I'm not offering ASL 3 as an actual course. I did experiment
with ASL 3 online but I've found that for ASL instruction to be
effective at higher levels it is best to have a substantial amount
of live interaction.
What payment options
You can pay with a credit card or PayPal by visiting the "PAYMENT"
You can pay via check or money order by sending it to the name and
address on the "CONTACT" page.
In any case, before paying I suggest you read the "REGISTRATION"
What kind of hardware
do I need?
Answer: You will need a computer that is capable of accessing the
World Wide Web, viewing basic graphics, and has a CD player. Newer
Apple Mac computers seem to be able to play the CDs, but older Macs can't.
Is there a required book?
Answer: A book? No.
Students who are doing self-study and do not want documentation
don't need to buy anything.
Visit the ADVISOR page to learn
about various options.
If you plan on
becoming fluent in ASL, I strongly recommend you get yourself an ASL
dictionary or two. If money is a problem, go to your local library
and check out a few. You may notice differences in signs between
authors. That's okay. There is a lot of variety out there.
Do I need broadband?
Answer: I notice on a broadband connection the site
seems to load and work just fine. It also loads pretty good early in the
morning (like 4 a.m. heh). But if you have a slow connection you might
want to order the "ASLU CD" (Note: While it is currently a CD, I
will eventually upgrade it to a DVD or whatever the latest
technology becomes). I have downloaded the website onto that CD so
that it can be run from a person's CD player for very fast loading without
an internet connection. You can
purchase that CD from the ASL University
Is there a payment plan?
I don't do payment plans at this time, (sorry). Right now
I'm focusing my time on developing the content of the site rather than
trying to make money off of it. Really, there is no need to register
and pay tuition unless you need proof of having taken the course
(documentation). If that is the case, pay with a credit card
and voilà "instant payment plan."
Permission to use
Many people write in asking for permission to use ASL University
For a discussion of my copyright policies, see the
I was wondering if i could use the
information on this site lifeprint.com for a research project i am working
on it is for my high school, it is called i search it is where i pick a
topic and i do the research on that topic and i think your site provides
quite a bit of information for my project and i would really appreciate t if
you would give me the okay to just your information in my project so that
way my teacher doesn't think that i stole the information from you. i would
really appreciate if you would reply to this email.
You are welcome to use information from my site in your research paper.
Actually you are welcome to use information from ANY website in your
research paper. You just have to state it in your own words and give it
You give proper credit by putting the author's last name and the year he or
she wrote the information in parentheses at the end of the sentence or
paragraph you wrote that contains his or her ideas. Like this, (Vicars,
2003). Then at the end you your paper you put a reference list. For
references like one of my web pages you use this format:
Vicars, William. (2000, Jan.). Comparatives and Superlatives. ASL University
Library. Lifeprint Institute. Retrieved 3, April. 2003: <http://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/nonlinguisticcommunication.htm>.
You include the following information--or as much of it as you
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>.
For examples of other references, check out:
Question: Does taking both
ASL 1 and ASL 2 from ASLU meet the national standard requirement of
2 credits in a foreign language?
Response: The ASLU Level 1 and Level 2 courses are each
equivalent to 4 semester units of college for a total of 8 semester
This is equivalent to Public School K-12: First-Year Language and
Second-Year Language. Thus the two ASLU courses combined have
been used by students to fill the "2 high school credits in a
foreign language" requirement. Remember, ASLU does not provide college credit. We simply
provide continuing education units and documentation. Look at the
details listed in the national requirements to see how many contact
hours they require or any other details. Each ASLU course requires
approximately 75 contact hours. (150 total for both courses).
One of the best explanations of "college semester" = "high school
year" equivalency I've seen is at the Regent University website
where they explain:
1 Carnegie Unit = 1 hour of
instruction or 2 hours of practice (Instruction = guided
120 Carnegie Units = a regular high school class. 150
Carnegie Units = advanced or college prep high school
If you define a high school class as 120 Carnegie Units then
a 3 credit hour college course can be counted as 1 high
school credit. (ENG 101 = 3 college credits = 1 high school
unit, Spanish 101 = 4 college credits = 1.25 high school
If you define a high school class as 150 Carnegie units,
then a 4 credit hour college course can be counted as 1 high
school unit. (ENG 101 = 3 college credits = .75 high school
units, Spanish 101 = 4 college credits = 1 high school unit)
Question: We want to use used the ASLU online course for our
charter school. Our state requires that our local school use only
certified teachers for our courses. If we signed up for the ASLU
courses while using a local proctor for our students (for example; a
CODA that wasn't certified in ASL and who doesn't possess a
teacher's certificate) would that meet the requirement for a
Response: (from Dr. Vicars) Most states allow for
something called "Professional Educator License Reciprocity."
A while back a high school
(Utah Electronic High School) invited me to teach an online ASL
course for them (which I did). I asked the principal if I was
allowed to teach at the High School level in regard to "teacher
certification" rules. He replied, (and I quote) "Since you teach at
the university -- reciprocity agreements take care of it."
I graduated with an EdD (Doctorate
of Education / Deaf Studies) from an accredited university (Lamar University,
Beaumont TX) in 2003 and have taught full-time at an accredited
university (California State University - Sacramento) since August
of 2003. To be certain that the ASLU course and my credentials
would satisfy your needs you should get acceptance in writing from
whomever makes the decision regarding course acceptability /
transferability in your district prior to registering for any ASLU
Question: Who usually studies ASL?
- Future interpreters
- Future Educators of the Deaf
- People who like studying new and interesting things for the fun of
- People who find themselves losing their hearing
- People who plan on working in a profession wherein they will
encounter the public
- Students who want to have an edge over others in their field
- People who are have a relationship of some kind with an individual
who is Deaf
Question: Is there an ongoing and steady demand for individuals with
Answer: Certified interpreters are in relatively high demand,
especially if you are willing to relocate. The same goes for
certified Teachers of the Deaf (again, relocation is a strong
likelihood.) Knowing sign language is a general "plus" on most
Question: Does ASL continue to work well with lip reading and new
technologies (whatever they may be, email, texting etc)? Is there a
need for members of the Hearing community to act as an
interface/interpreter for the Deaf community? Do you know where this
need is most likely to exist?
Answer: For the foreseeable future skilled ASL interpreters will
still be "in demand." Technology influences things yes, but it
doesn't replace interpreters. Actually, in the case of video relay
interpreting technology provides the opportunity for "remote
interpreting" for communication events for which traditional
in-person interpreting might not have been feasible. Interpreters
mainly gravitate to large metropolitan areas where they can find
steady freelance work. Other than that they scan the online "Want
Ads" for full-time positions with schools or agencies and then move
to where they can find such a position.
Question: What does your student population look like? What do most
students do after ASL 1 and 2?
Answer: Most of my students (at the local state university) are
taking ASL 1 and ASL 2 to fulfill a language credit. Most go away
and never really use it again. About 4 out of 100 go on to become
interpreters or Educators of the Deaf or work in Deaf-related fields
(Vocational Rehabilitation, Speech Pathology, Audiology, etc.).
Question: Do you know of any summer ASL immersion programs?
Answer: I used to run such a program. But these days I am focusing
on Web Development. Your best bet is to "google around" using
keywords such as: "ASL immersion register registration deadline"
(without the quotes).
More questions and answers: |
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