Do you know someone who is hard of hearing or deaf? Would you like to learn how to communicate with them better? Did you know that you can hop on the Internet and find ASL classes online?
What is ASL? It stands for American Sign Language. It is defined by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) as “a complete, complex language that employs signs made by moving the hands combined with facial expressions and postures of the body. It is the primary language of many North Americans who are deaf and is one of the several communication options used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing.” Contrary to what you might think, sign language is not universal. There are different sign languages used for different countries or regions in the world. For example, British Sign Language is not the same as American Sign Language.* Learning ASL allows you to communicate more effectively with deaf and hard of hearing people.
How to Learn Sign Language
Aside from face-to-face sign language classes, there are organizations and academic institutions that offer ASL online classes through their websites. These are especially helpful for students who don’t exactly have money to spare for transportation or gasoline costs. All you need to do is simply log in to the online school’s website to access the resources you need. You can learn American Sign Language on your own time, at your own pace. Some online classes allow students to learn by themselves, others have instructors that help teach students how to do sign language.
While many online sign language schools charge fees, there are several that offer free sign language classes.
Choose an Online ASL School
- SigningOnline.com offers web-based courses that are designed to effectively teach American Sign Language from anywhere, using a computer, tablet or smartphone with an Internet connection. Students will learn to sign at their own pace from sign language courses that focus on conversational ASL and use videos to demonstrate the visual nature of signing. Participants will be able to fulfill high school graduation requirements with Signing Online curriculum, learn to communicate with family, friends, and members of the deaf/Deaf community, and earn continuing education hours. The course is ideal for Sign Communicators looking for a refresher on ASL grammar; new signers and those with a desire to explore another language; parents, Sunday School teachers, and people in service industries; those working with deaf and hard of hearing students; and, healthcare professionals, emergency first responders and law enforcement.
- Gallaudet University offers Online ASL Classes that are based on interactive teaching, learning, and communication. Students are expected to manage and direct their academic progress with support and guidance from their online instructor. The program sets deadlines to ensure that students have adequate time to complete all assignments within the current session. Students are required to actively participate in online classes. Viewings, assignments, and activities are posted online and students are required to log in to submit video assignments electronically and participate in course discussions through video. In line with this, all students must have basic computer and Internet literacy, and are responsible for obtaining their own Internet access and web camera.