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CCOG for ASL 101 archive revision 201403

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Effective Term:
Summer 2014 through Winter 2020
Course Number:
ASL 101
Course Title:
First Year American Sign Language I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduction to ASL stressing the development of expressive skill, receptive skill, and cultural awareness through a communication approach. Primary emphasis on the student's active use of the language. Emphasizes active conversational competence in ASL. Includes visual readiness skills, vocabulary, culture and grammar used for meeting communication needs. Proficiency target level: Novice high. For beginners.

Addendum to Course Description

 ASL 101 is the first term of a three-term sequence in First Year American Sign Language at the college level. Communicative proficiency is the main objective of the sequence.

This course utilizes the Functional/Notional approach in learning grammar in the context of communicative activities. It is designed to help the students build their receptive skills, learn vocabulary through context, and develop strategies for figuring out meaning and to build upon that foundation. This course uses curriculum from, Signing Naturally, Units 1-6. This course covers Unit 1, Unit 2 plus “Timber” story from Unit 6, Unit 3 plus “ The Gum Story”. In additional, the DVD See What I Mean: Differences Between Deaf and Hearing: Cultures – 2nd Edition will be shown and discussed as part of the course.  Signing Naturally, Units 1-6 curriculum’s first and foremost goal of language teaching is to bring a person unable to communicate in ASL to a basic level of communicative competency. The curriculum and the lessons are designed to help the class and the program meet the five areas of Communication, Cultures, Connections, Comparisons and Communities outlined by American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). In addition, students will gain cultural awareness and appreciation.

Due to the design of the curriculum and the lessons, instructors and students will be required to have access to computers to use CD-Rom as part of teaching and to do the assignments.  In addition, ASL is a visual language so it is critical that the classrooms are of appropriate sized (square not long and narrow) so the students can sit in a semi-circle and be able to see everyone in order to participate in the dialogues and develop their receptive skill by viewing other students and instructor’s dialogues.  This is critical for a maximum learning environment.

ASL 101 is offered for 5 hours of transferable credit. It satisfies part of the foreign language requirement for the B.A. degree, counts as an elective for the A.A. degree, and contributes to the general education requirement for other Association Degrees.

ASL 101 is a course for beginners, so there are no prerequisites. Students whose skill level in ASL is more advanced than that of ASL 101 will not be admitted. 

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of this course students will be able to:

  • participate in simple conversations using expressive ASL skills, basic vocabulary, grammar, facial markers, and non-manual signals to engage in common interactions with Deaf people.
  • apply language-learning skills to interactions in the Deaf community
  • appreciate the linguistic and cultural diversity of Deaf people and behave with respect and understanding
  • meet the skills required for Novice High (ACTFL guideline)

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

Course Activities and Design

Uses activities and materials from Signing Naturally, Units 1-6; and DVD See What I Mean: Differences Between Deaf and Hearing: Cultures – 2nd Edition.

Students are expected to attend all classes, participate actively in classroom activities, and prepare expressive homework assignments. Students may video record their work in the classroom or Lab or at home (as indicated by the instructor).  ASL will be used in the classroom at all times. No spoken language or voice will be permitted in the classroom. Students should plan to spend at least one hour in preparation and practice outside of class for each class hour. 

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment strategies include observation of students' in-class receptive and expressive use of ASL, written quizzes on cultural knowledge and on receptive skills, and videotaping of students' expressive use of ASL. Students will be assessed in their competence in using the language as demonstrated by the quality of receptive and expressive preparation and participation and assignments. Attendance is an important factor but it is not used as assessment tool. As part of this course, the students will also take quizzes online through Cyber ASL. 

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

 The course focuses on the acquisition and correct use of parameters, non-manual signals, grammatical markers, grammatical structures, functional vocabulary, and cultural concepts for the purpose of successful communication in ASL. Successful students have practiced, and will be able to use the following communication topics and structures:

                  Manages introductions and basic getting-to know conversations, greets and says goodbye in culturally appropriate manner

                  Getting To Know You

                  Exchanging Personal Information

                  Telling Where One Lives

                  Cardinal Numbers 1-10, 11-15, 16-19, 20-29, 30-36

                  Fingerspelling: Fist Letters, Up Letters, Double Letters, Moving Letter Z, Down Letters P, Q, Y

                  Same or Different 1, 2

                  Introducing Oneself, Asking Who, Asking What Is the Sign, 

                  Specifying Where

                  Giving Commands: Objects in the Classroom, Locations,

                  Following Instructions

                  Culture: Getting Attention

                  Putting It All Together

Identifying Locations: Tic-Tac-Toe, Identifying People, Identifying Which Square 1

                  Narrating Experience with Languages

                  Talking about Leisure Activities, about surroundings, where you

                  Live, about activities, how long, Roommates

                  And Pets

                  Describing Three Types of Shapes

                  Culture: Negotiating a Signing Environment, Getting Attention

                  Putting It All Together

   Communicating with the Face

Giving Basic Directions: Discussing One’s Residence, Around the Classroom; Expressing Needs, Negotiating the environment

                  Traveling/Transportation to work or school

Non-manual Signals (conversational behaviors), Grammatical markers, Grammatical Structures

                  Sentence types


                  Wh-questions: what, who, where, how-many, which, when, how come, how long

                  Yes/No questions – affirm/negate

                  Contrastive structures

                  Narrative structures

                  Transitions: topicalization


Appropriate form, movement, palm orientation, hand position for fingerspelling words and numbers


                  Verbs – noun- verb pairs, action verbs, spatial agreement, modify the verb

                  Real world orientation – using IX-loc, directions, shapes, establish reference point, identify sequences, Signer’s perspective, describe physical and personality,  characteristics, environment , time line   

            Facial markers (non-manual signals) – “Cha”, “mm”, “oo”, etc.

            One-person role shift, Two-person role shift

                  Eye gaze to indicating distances and sizes


Weak hand as reference point, weak hand functioning as a dominant hand

                  Pauses, engaging the audience

  Tell a cohesion story, retell story, setting up of a story