Syllabus:  ASL Level 1
[Homeschool / Proctored]
Course designed by:  William G. Vicars, EdD



Course description:  An introduction to American Sign Language. Topics include: basic vocabulary, grammar, history, fingerspelling, numbers, terminology, and Deaf culture. Special note: This course will require 45 to 60 online contact-hours.

Materials The materials for this course consist of four quiz CDs (Units 1 - 3).  These CDs are contained in the "Course Pack" available from the ASL University bookstore at


Website:  The course makes extensive use of lessons 1-15 at the website: This syllabus and any later email communication from the course designer supersedes whatever information you may find at the general website.


Instructions to Proctors:  The CDs contain a video file, an answer file, a blank answer sheet, and a study sheet. You might want to copy the video file, the blank answer sheet, and the study sheet (but not the answer file) onto your student's computer where the files can be opened by double clicking.  After studying from the website, the student can copy the answer he thinks is correct from the study sheet and paste it into the answer sheet.  You can use the "answer file" to correct your student's quiz submissions. 

Below you will also find a research paper checklist.  You can use this checklist to grade your student's paper. Additionally, if you would like, you may submit your student's paper to the library for further review and possible publication.


Instructions to the Student:

You should go through the lessons sequentially starting with lesson one.  Go to the website and enter the main campus.  Find the "Lessons" link and click on it.  Then open up lesson 1.  Read through lesson one and click on the links to the vocabulary.  For each vocabulary link you should read the whole page and do the sign until you have it memorized. Then sign all of the practice sentences and read any of the other material in the lesson. At or near the bottom of the lesson find the "quiz" link which will take you to that lessons' quiz page.  Your quizzes are based on the Unit 1- Unit 3 CDs, in your course pack of materials.  Do not mistake the practice quizzes at the end of the lessons for your assigned quizzes. Go through the practice quiz if you'd like, but the goal is to take the "real" quiz from the video on the CD. 

I've created blank "answer sheets" with the numbers already typed out for you to put your answers. I've put these blank answer sheets in two places to make it easy to find. They are on the CD and also at the bottom of the online quiz pages.  Look for the numbered list of answer blanks.  You can copy and paste these your word processor.  For example, on quiz #1 at the website if you scroll down you will see:

Lesson 1: Receptive ASL Quiz #1: Unit 1 CD Numbers 1-48.

Followed by some instructions and the numbers 1-48.

You can either type the numbers out by hand or you can copy and paste the numbers into your word processor program and save it as "lesson1yourfirstandlastname."  It is a good idea to use these blank answer sheets because they sometimes have clues or "giveaway" answers.

Then put in the Unit 1 CD.  If the CD doesn't open up on its own (within a few minutes) go ahead and browse to the CD by clicking and open up the video file by double clicking on it.  If it doesn't open on your machine or gives you an error, contact me and I'll send you more info on how to upgrade your system or solve the problem..

You should see me on the video file. Not pretty, I know--but functional. The file will jump from sign to sign as I press stop and record on my camcorder  in-between each question.  In the first five or lesson quizzes I show the sign 3 or so times, but later on I just show it once.  Feel free to pause and rewind the video as many times as you need while taking the quiz.

You can adjust the size of the display via your media player's configuration settings. (The bigger you make it, the fuzzier it gets.)  You can also pause the file by pressing pause. (Also you might want to try right clicking and look for the menu options.) In the video file I show a number and then show a sign or a sentence.  Pay attention to the numbers so you don't get off track. Type the answer onto your answer sheet.  Make sure to save your answers periodically so as  to avoid losing your work in the event of a crash or power outage.

Only do the number of questions that correspond to that lesson.  You can see a list in the schedule below of which numbers go with which lessons.  For example the Unit 1 CD has 321 questions numbered 1 to 321.  You only do the first 48 questions for lesson one.  Then for lesson 2 you do questions 49 through 113.  Save your document in your word processor.  Then select your answers and copy and paste into the body of an email. Put at subject line of "Lesson 1 Jane Doe." Then send your answers to your proctor.  Your proctor can use the  "master list" of right answers to check your answers.

Here is a hint for how to do well:  Copy and paste your answers from the study sheet.  This makes it almost like a "matching" test.

Make sure you keep a backup copy of your answers until the end of the course.

All quizzes are cumulative. After choosing your start date you and your proctor should set up a schedule of due dates. For full credit, the research paper, and the quiz answers should be submitted to your proctor on or before each due date. Note: an easy way to do this is to just paste or type your answers and/or information into the body of the email, you do not need to include them as an attached document. Your might want to do your work in a normal word processor and save your work frequently.  Then when your work is ready to submit just copy and paste it into an email and send it to your proctor.


Total points possible:  1400.  Scale:  100-95%=A, 90 = A-, 87=B+, 83=B, 80=B-, 77=C+,73=C, 70=C-, 67=D+, 63=D, 60=D-, 59=E.




Research Paper


15 Quizzes




Make ups:
This class is self-paced and you can submit your assignments to your proctor via email. That means there is really no reason for missing an assignment. If you turn in your quizzes or research paper late your proctor may decide to give you zero.  If your computer is prone to crashing, save your work often and submit it early. 


Instructions for how to write a paper that gets you an "F" for the course:

1.  Browse the internet and cut and paste until you have 500 words worth of plagiarized information. 
2.  Change a word here and  there. Rearrange the information. 
3.  Format it really nice.
4.  Put your name on it and send it in. 

Instructions on how to write a "D" paper:  

1. Pick an ASL topic that looks easy.
2. Get a few transient references from the net.
3. Write 500 words the night before it is due.

Instructions on how to write an "A" paper:


  Is the topic an ASL topic? (Don't hand in a paper on "cochlear implants curing deafness.")

  Is my report 500 words or more?

  Did I do a research paper rather than a “book report?”  (Book reports are fine if that is the assignment you are supposed to be doing. This checklist is for "research papers" --not book reports.)

  Did I document where I got my information?  Did I cite at least 3 enduring, traceable sources of information in my references?

  Even if I have changed "every word" in the sentence-- if I've borrowed someone else's idea--did I provide a reference?

  Did I use parenthetical expressions (citations) at the end of ideas that I've gotten from other people? Do these citations correspond to full references at the end of the paper?  Citations in the body of my paper use an opening parenthesis, author's last name, comma, year of publication and a closing parenthesis.  For example (Vicars, 2001).

  At the end of my document I have provided a list of references that include the author's last name and first initial, the publication date, the name of the article, book, or journal, the publisher and the place of publication.  [Dr. Bill recommends "APA style" references.] 

  I have avoided quoting directly out of books or articles, but when it was absolutely necessary to do so I have made sure to cite the exact page number in my reference entry at the end of my research paper.

  Any time I used an author’s ideas word for word; did I put those words in quote marks?  
  Did I limit the number of direct quotes in my paper?  Did I limit the length of the quotes? (No paragraph-long quotes.)

  I have used online references only if I've been able to ascertain the actual author's name, date of publication, title of the document, and name of the publisher. Even so, I’ve still provided at least three other references that are more permanent in nature.
  If I’ve needed to write less than 500 words I secured permission from the instructor.

  I have grammar checked my document.

  Does my paper contain fewer than three misspellings? (Preferably none.)
  I know the deadline for when this paper is due.
  I have submitted my report in electronic format prior to the due date.
I know that this paper might be published by Lifeprint and I give them permission.

Acceptable references at ASL University:

In the body of your document just use the last name of the author and the year, for example, (Vicars, 2001). Then at the end of your document you put the word "references"  followed by a list of the books and articles which influenced your writing. 

If reference is a book:
Author's last name, first initial. (year). Title of book-- underline it. Place of publication: Name of publisher. 
Vicars, W. (1998). Sign Me Up! Salt Lake City, Utah: Lifeprint Institute.

If reference is a Journal:
Author's last name, first name. (year). Title of journal article only capitalize the first letter. Name of journal underline it. Volume number, starting page number-ending page number.
Vicars, William. (1999). Teaching ASL online. Journal of ASL. 7, 139-156.

If you find an online source that specifies the actual author's name, date of publication, title of the document, and name of the publisher--(good luck)--I'll accept the reference.  Note, this must be from an original source document on the web, do not quote someone else's research paper.

If reference is a web page:
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>.

Vicars, William. (2001, Jan. 4). Nonlinguistic communication. ASL University Library. Lifeprint Institute. Retrieved 12, Feb. 2001: <>.








Date Due



Lesson 1

ASL 101 CD

Numbers 1-48.

Quiz 1



Lesson 2

ASL 101 CD

Numbers 49-113

Quiz 2



Lesson 3

ASL 101 CD

Numbers 114–172

Quiz 3



Lesson 4

ASL 101 CD

Numbers 173-232

Quiz 4



Lesson 5

ASL 101 CD

Numbers 233-321

Quiz 5



Lesson 6

ASL 102 CD

Numbers 1-58

Quiz 6



Lesson 7

ASL 102 CD

Numbers 59-100

Quiz 7



Lesson 8

ASL 102 CD

Numbers 101-144

Quiz 8



Lesson 9

ASL 102 CD

Numbers 145-198

Quiz 9



Lesson 10

ASL 102 CD

Numbers 199–250

Quiz 10



Lesson 11

ASL 103 CD

Numbers 1-51

Quiz 11



Lesson 12

ASL 103 CD

Numbers 51-102

Quiz 12



Lesson 13

ASL 103 CD

Numbers 103-149

Quiz 13



Lesson 14

ASL 103 CD

Numbers 150-193

Quiz 14



Lesson 15

ASL 103 CD

Numbers 194-250

Quiz 15