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Accredited Online ASL Course / American Sign Language / Homeschooling:

How to take an online ASL course from an accredited school:

How can I take an accredited online "ASL 1" and/or ASL 2" course that can be used for high school or college credit?

Answer:  The College of Continuing Education at California State University Sacramento (also known as "Sacramento State University") offers online American Sign Language classes.

The classes are:
DEAF 51 [section 50] "American Sign Language 1"
DEAF 52 [section 50] "American SIgn Language 2"

Those classes belong to the "Deaf Studies Program" in the "Department of Undergraduate Studies" in the "College of Education" at Sacramento State.  The "online" version of the classes is hosted by the College of Continuing Education at Sacramento State.

To review: The level one course is:
"DEAF 051 American Sign Language 1" and is typically listed as section 50.
The zero "0" may or may not show up in the course number: "DEAF 51" or "DEAF 051" depending on where it is listed.

The level two course is:
"DEAF 052 American Sign Language 2" and is typically listed as section 50.

The "section 50" designation tends to apply to the College of Continuing Education offerings of courses that belong to other colleges within Sacramento State University.

The online versions of these two courses are not usually listed in the main course schedule of offerings at  Instead these online versions are usually listed at the CSUS College of Continuing Education's website.

The general website is at:

At the time of this writing, the way to register for those courses is to contact (or visit) the College of Continuing Education at
Napa Hall or call (916-278-4433 or (916) 278-6984) and let them know that you want to take "DEAF 51" (ASL 1) or "DEAF 52" (ASL 2) online through the College of Continuing Education. Ask them for registration information, tuition information, and payment information. If those numbers change, just do an online search and you can find the College of Continuing Education at CSUS fairly easily.  (Make sure that it is "California" not "Colorado" though.)


Who teaches these two online courses?

While individual teachers may vary you can be assured that whomever teaches it is a qualified ASL instructor.  Originally the courses were pioneered and taught by Dr. Bill Vicars.  For quite a few years now these two courses have been taught by his wife, Belinda Vicars.  She is Deaf, holds a masters degree, and has over 20 years experience teaching ASL.


How much does each course cost?

As a 3-unit college credit course it used to cost around a thousand dollars.  Paperwork has been submitted to increase the units to 4-units.  So, for the most recent (and accurate) pricing information it is best to call (916) 278-4433 or (916) 278-6984.  Call them regarding ANY tuition or registration related questions. Or try emailing: or call (916) 278-4813.

How does the course work?  What about the curriculum? Do I have to attend any classes?

The instructor for several years now has used the curriculum as well as her own materials and an online course management system (based on "Blackboard").  Classroom attendance is not required and the whole course can be completed online. Students must have access to video recording equipment such as a webcam or video recorder.  Students study the lessons online and take quizzes online. Near completion of the course you must take a receptive final exam with an approved proctor watching (to make sure you do not cheat). Your instructor will provide guidelines to help you locate a suitable proctor.


Before registering, can I contact the instructor and ask questions or get a copy of the syllabus ahead of time?

Yes you can contact the College of Continuing Education and ask for a copy of a previous semester's syllabus. That syllabus typically has contact information for the most recent instructor.  Please keep in mind that it is very important to identify who you are and what program or course you are interested in or referring to.  For example, if you
email an inquiry use a subject line such as: 
Mary Smith, CSUS CCE DEAF 51 Section 50 "ASL 1" (online)



Can I start the course at any time?

No.  The courses are offered in the Fall and the Spring within the regular Sacramento State semester time frame.

The CSUS CCE web page says that the course is not currently offered.  Has it been canceled?

What that usually means is that the time of year is not close enough to Fall or Spring semester for the college to post the course.  Call the CSUS College of Continuing Education directly (916) 278-6984 and ask to speak to the person who coordinates the American Sign Language classes. This has been the case for over 10 years. 



Is the program live or something that I can do on my own schedule?

Answer: The online ASL courses as offered via the College of Continuing Education are for the most part, self-paced and can be done whenever is convenient for the student to access the internet. However there are certain deadlines that must be met and the whole course must be completed in approximately 3 months. See the official CSUS schedule and/or the course syllabus for specifics.

Is your course fully captioned?

No.  The course uses no audio and thus uses no captioning.  If you are a student with a disability and need an accommodation you can contact the University's Department of Services to Students With Disabilities for assistance.

My daughter is in high school and has never taken a signing course. She does have some basic skills from signing books that we have purchased as well as many songs she has learned signing through her music program, but it is very remedial. Would this be a good starting place for a beginner?

The DEAF 51 "ASL 1" course is intended for beginners.

How do you do the grading?

Answer: Grading has typically been based on completion of online quizzes, a video project, and a proctored receptive final evaluation.  However the individual instructor for a particular semester may add or change individual assignments and grading processes. See the course syllabus. The courses provide letter (A, A-, B+, B...) type grades.

Do we need to have access to Skype?

As of this writing Skype isn't needed, but that may change so be prepared to invest in a relatively good web cam and make sure you have access to broadband internet. The student will need certainly need access to video recording equipment and be able to upload a video or transfer it to disk and send.



For all student administration questions, please contact Emelina Logan at 278-7770 or logane(at)  For all Summer Session contract and pay questions, contact: Andrea Speir speira(at)



I am a student at Sacramento State already.  I can't seem to register for section 50 of the ASL 1 or ASL 2 courses offered online by the College of Continuing Education. Why not?

Some courses (such as some of those offered by the College of Continuing Education) are only open to non-matriculated students.  A non-matriculated student is one that has not enrolled at a college or university as a candidate for a degree.  That means if you are a regular student at Sacramento State already you may not be able to take certain classes such as those offered by
the College of Continuing Education.  If "every" on-campus ASL 1 and/or ASL 2 course is full and you need ASL to graduate then you can petition the Department to allow you to take a course though the College of Continuing Education as an "exception" to the rule so that you can graduate in a timely manner.  Expect to pay a lot of money beyond your regular tuition for the privilege since classes offered by the College of Continuing Education are generally not subsidized by State (taxpayer) money.

My high schooler has taken ASL I and ASL II through the junior college that come to her high school and teaches for the appropriate state and college foreign language requirements. She needs to take ASL III and I am unable to find it either online or offered during summer. Do you know where she can find ASL III?

If a person needs actual college credit, the Sacramento State College of Continuing Education representative can sometimes list an ASL 3 course and put a student in it and award credit for successful completion of an individually offered online ASL course. BUT that requires paying a course material and access fee of $483 AND the non-state-funded tuition for the course which is in the $1,200 range. So you are looking at approximately $1,683.00 for an online accredited ASL 3 course and that is IF the instructor is available the semester you want it.



What:  ASL University / Sacramento State University / Community Partnership Program: "American Sign Language Online"
"American Sign Language 1"  (High School: First Year Language Course equivalency) (College: 3-semester-credit-hours accredited California State University system credit).
"American Sign Language 2"  (High School: Second Year Language Course equivalency) (College: 3-semester-credit-hours accredited California State University system credit).

Who:  High School Students

Why:  Many high school students would like to take American Sign Language (ASL) to fill second language requirements.  The Sacramento State University College of Continuing Education has partnered with Lifeprint Institute's "American Sign Language University (ASLU)" to provide convenient online ASL courses with an option to register for college credit via Sacramento State.

How:  Students register for and complete around 75 hours per course of online instruction, assignments, and testing via ASL University.  Upon successful completion of the ASL University program students register for "DEAF 51" (ASL 1) and/or "DEAF 52" (ASL 2) via the Sacramento State College of Continuing Education.

How much:  Tuition:
ASLU "ASL 1" $483 Payable
ASLU "ASL 2" $483
Payable via:
CSUS CCE: "DEAF 51" Section 50" Call number: TBA Tuition: $195 (subject to change)
CSUS CCE: "DEAF 52" Section 50" Call number: TBA Tuition: $195 (subject to change)



CSUS CCE: Contact: Liz Arellanes, Senior Program Coordinator, College of Continuing Education, Sacramento State, 3000 State University Drive, Sacramento, CA 95819, 916.278.6249 (p), 916.278.3685 (fax),, Email:

ASLU is open entry open exit with a deadline of 9-months (one HS year).
CSUS CCE: Fall, Spring, and Summer Semester schedule followed.

Questions and Answers:

Question: Why register twice?  Isn't that more expensive? Why not just register directly for the Sacramento State version of the course?

Answer:  Actually it is less expensive and more convenient to use the combined approach.  ASLU courses are not directly transferrable to Sacramento State since ASLU is a "Community Education" institution whereas Sacramento State is an accredited university in a state university system. Thus in order to receive college credit for ASLU courses students need to register for both programs. Many students find this a more convenient and cost effective solution for several reasons:  The ASLU
courses are open entrance and can be started any time whereas the Sacramento State courses are offered only at certain times during the year.  The ASLU courses do not involve additional "student fees' which tend to add hundreds of dollars to the cost of even a single course.  The regular semester offerings of courses at Sacramento State tend to cost approximately $300 per unit thus a 3-unit course such as ASL 1 typically costs around $900 (or more when you include several hundred dollars of additional student fees).   An online approach using community-based instruction involves much less overhead expense for Sacramento State (no classroom space required, no heating, no air conditioning, no janitorial services, etc).  Additionally using community-based instructional online partnerships means there is no risk to the College of Continuing Education of reserving the classroom space and having to cancel the course due to insufficient enrollment (which would result in a classroom being underused or sitting empty for a semester. All of this results in considerable savings for the University which can be passed on to the students who only need to pay $195 to cover administrative overhead (such as transcript generation and maintenance).


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