Frequently Asked Questions
Learning a new language can present some unique challenges, but for the not-so-unique stuff we’ve got our frequently asked questions listed below to help you answer any questions you’ve got about the world of ASL.
ASL is an acronym for American Sign Language. In ASL, the hands communicate by forming signs. These signs have meaning just like spoken words in English have meaning. When you learn to sign in ASL, you are learning a new way to say things. Learning ASL also means learning how to express yourself using your eyes, face, head movements, and body movements. Along with the hands, these features make ASL an exciting language to learn and use.
ASL was created by a community of deaf people who wanted to communicate with one another. It is its own unique language specifically for deaf individuals as it has a unique vocabulary and grammar that differs from any other languages.
ASL (American Sign Language) is different from PSE (Pidgin Signed English) as ASL is its own distinct language. It’s common that many ASL signs don’t translate perfectly to English. PSE is a mixture of ASL and English where some signs can translate directly into English.
Signed English is a system that helps someone communicate English through different signs and fingerspelling. However, this is different from ASL as it does not have its very own language. You use English grammar for signed English.
Signing Online was created for people who wish to learn ASL but have little or no access to instructors or for those students who require curriculum for ASL classes. Learning ASL can be especially beneficial to those who regularly interact with the deaf community or the hard of hearing as sign language can bridge the gap of communication for them.
Signing Online has been offering web-based courses, designed with nationally and internationally recognized curriculum developed by Dr. David Stewart. You will learn American Sign Language (ASL) at your own pace from anywhere using your computer, tablet or smartphone. These online ASL courses focus on conversational ASL and use videos to demonstrate the visual nature of signing designed to help you learn sign language. The courses are perfect for anyone wanting to learn ASL online, whether you are just starting out or if you are at a more advanced level.
If you’re interested in learning sign language, Signing Online offers a wide variety of resources and online ASL classes that have been designed for beginners to get you started on learning sign language. See all the courses we offer here.
We provide online curriculum materials accredited by schools all over the United States and Canada to teach students American Sign Language (ASL) as an elective, directed study, or foreign language.
It is up to the school to decide what is needed to receive the credit and what can be included on the high school transcript. Most schools require the student to fulfill a certain number of hours, successfully complete the exams and possibly demonstrate their signing ability. If that is the case, then signing ability assessment can be done with someone at the school or in the community with ASL expertise, or one of our ASL teachers can assess a video submission at an additional cost (see tab: Instructor Support tab).
It is up to you and your school to decide the parameters to use and what is needed to receive the credit to be included on the high school transcript.
Most schools require the student fulfill a given number of hours, demonstrate signing ability and achieve 60% or better on exams. Offline work must be recorded individually.
SigningOnline provides quiz grades, curriculum review scores, time online, and final exam grades.
Even though the curriculum is used by hundreds of schools for credit, we don’t have the authority to make a blanket statement for all schools or individuals since each school and district have different time and assignment requirements for credit.
For Students working alone.
Students working alone with just the online curriculum and no supervised supplementation will often use all four levels for one year. Depending on the students learning style and motivation each online course level with the curriculum review may take approximately 30-40 hours of online time. Without the curriculum review each course level may take approximately 15 hours.
Requests for an individuals progress report must be made to us in an email and must include that student’s USER NAME and email address.
For Groups of Students in the classroom setting.
Schools using our program for the fulfillment of a two-year foreign/ world language generally prefer to do a hybrid option for their students.
Most schools that use our curriculum in a hybrid classroom setting will use ASL101 and 102 for Year One and ASL103 and 104 for Year Two in fulfillment of a foreign language, elective, or directed study credit.
Each student has their own login.
- One lesson per week
- We suggest Students pair up and take turns signing the dialogues to each other and to the class.
- Use the curriculum review tests to solidify lesson basics before individually attempting the end-of-lesson test.
- Each student will have recorded online time, quiz grades, curriculum review results and final exams that are available to that student and the registered Administrator of their Organization.
- Use items from the downloadable Curriculum Supplement (found in the Instructor Support page).
- Class discussion of relevant issues facing the Deaf Population of America and the World.
- Signed presentations of poems, speeches, and songs.
School or organization must provide proctoring and supervision of tests and offline use of supplementary materials.
You are given six months to complete one course level. The time it takes to complete the course will vary depending on your previous experience with sign language, ASL, and your own learning style.
Each lesson without the curriculum guide or any curriculum supplement should take you about 1-2 hours of online time. Therefore, a complete course would take 10 days, taking on average around 15-20 hours total to complete.
Using our curriculum supplement and the interactive curriculum review guide will not only increase the time but also create more opportunities to learn the language and review the information.
If you enroll in more than one course at a time, the course access duration will be extended
After completion of the lessons, you can take the final exam for the course to test your newly learned ASL knowledge. Upon successfully passing the final exam, you will earn a Signing Online certificate of completion. The certificate is available online in digital form. You can print the certificate to mark your accomplishment.
- Affordable interactive courses
- Advanced web video technology
- Field-tested interactive instructional techniques
- Uses real-life situations and content
- Provides many opportunities for practice
- Always available
- Flexible scheduling. You set your own schedule and pace.
- A final word about learning ASL
American Sign Language is different from spoken languages because it is a visual language and it is difficult, if not impossible to learn ASL from a book alone. Static images on a page and text just do not convey the flow and motion of the language. Further, courses in ASL are sometimes difficult to find close to home and are occasionally expensive.
That's why Signing Online feels that the ASL web courses are an enjoyable and effective way to learn American Sign Language.
ASL has become increasingly popular as a choice for a foreign or world language in high school. Certainly, more and more colleges and universities are accepting it for admission.
Remember, you must check with your individual school to ensure whether or not they will accept Signing Online for credit.
These online courses are a good introduction to an Interpreting certification but do not provide credentials to be an Interpreter.
To become an Interpreter you would need to go to a full-time college or university program of either 2 or 4 years after which you would need to complete receptive and expressive testing to determine your competence level in the language.
We have many students who use these courses to get an understanding of basic ASL communication and a start in this most rewarding career.
Like all languages, Sign Language evolves and changes….but also like all languages the basics and original groundwork do not change. We have tried to use the most commonly known signs that a Deaf person should know or at least recognize within the context. Since this program is more for hearing students who want to learn the basics of ASL we feel that the method we have here is the best way to a full comprehension of the evolving language.
We did, however, acknowledge the declining use of TTYs in favor of video phones by editing the section on "Communicating in Signs and Other Ways” (from ASL102, Lesson 6).The TTY (TeleTYpe), TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf), and TT (Text Telephone) acronyms are used interchangeably to refer to any type of text-based telecommunications equipment used by a person who does not have enough functional hearing to understand speech, even with amplification.
The dialog introduces the use of a TTY, the technology that opened the door for deaf people to use a phone for communication with other TTYs. Although TTYs are historically very significant as the major breakthrough for Deaf Communication, VIDEOPHONES and CELL PHONES are now more commonly used. Just as with the hearing population, cell phones, smartphones, and computers work well for text messaging and face-to-face communication. A few of our teachers have decided not to emphasize the use of TTY’s but to keep the section for its historical significance. We have no plans to delete it.
Schools with no access to someone with Sign Language experience but still requiring expressive signing assessment may use our optional assessment service ($60.00/student assessed). Each student would submit a video of themselves signing a test (ASL 101, 102, 103, or 104). The completed video is sent to our ASL teacher for a written assessment. This is best completed before attempting the course-level final exam.
It is up to the student to let us know when they are ready to try the video exam. It is important that they are feeling confident that they know the coursework so that they can get useful feedback from their video assessment. Once the video assessment is complete they can complete the course level by doing the final exam. When that is finished they move on to the next level.
The password instructions are sent to the email address that you used to register and enroll. It must be functioning and payment complete. If you didn’t get it then it probably went to your junk/spam folder.
If you are still having trouble, at the login page select 'Forgot my Password' to send a password reset to your email.
Usually, a suspicious transaction (like a second identical course and card number) will not be accepted by the system. It might take a day or two for your bank or credit card to get the message that it was not accepted.
To re-set a final exam please send the request in an email with your user name and the level you want re-set.
The teacher-of-record in a school organization has the ability to re-set final exams.
Your security is important to us.
At SigningOnline we are committed to protect your privacy rights. SigningOnline guarantees you that we will not sell, rent, or share any of your personal information with any third parties without your consent, except for our personal affiliates who provide us with necessary services to process your order (such as PayPal if you choose to pay this way). General viewing of our site does not require for us to collect any personal information.
Continuing Education Credit - add to cart from drop-down menu at registration.
Continuing Education Clock Hours for Teachers- SCECH (formerly SB-CEU’s) We offer several courses for State-Board Approved Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECHs) for educators. You can earn 15 SCECH's for taking any of the Learning ASL Series, or 60 SCECHs to take all four.
Continuing Education Credit can only be given once for each course level. You must complete 15 hours online with a passing grade for each application.
American Sign Language 101, 102, 103, and 104 are sponsored by Michigan State University and approved through the Michigan Department of Education for State Board Continuing Education Units (SB CEUs). They are not academic credit courses therefore an academic transcript is not available.
Please visit the Michigan Department of Education’s website for program details at http://www.solutionwhere.com/mi_sbceu/main.asp. If you hold a teaching certificate from another state, please contact your State Department of Education to determine whether or not they will accept SB CEUs from the Michigan Department of Education.
Continuing education units or CEUs are awarded to those who complete training and education in a specified area. Continuing education allows individuals to progress in their industry, field, or profession. Some professions require CEUs to maintain certain licenses and other certifications. According to the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), a CEU is defined as 10 contact hours of participation in an organized continuing education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable direction, and qualified instruction. Although there are no official qualifications for an institution or organization to award CEUs, there are several considerations.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are not a Michigan teacher or affiliated with a Michigan school district the Michigan Department of Education no longer accepts these participants into their MOECs system. Michigan State University now grants the certificates for these participants. Please check with the accrediting agency in your State to see if they accept these hours for your certification.
Any other participants that are affiliated with a Michigan school district and/or is a Michigan teacher must give you their PIC number to enter into our system along with their name, email etc. Program information is uploaded to MDE. Once this is done these participants are required to complete MDE’s evaluation of the program. Once the evaluation is completed, they can then view their program online with MDE. MDE retains all program information for Michigan teachers and those affiliated with any Michigan school district on their site for professional development purposes.
Send your completed course forms to Prof Chris Hunter, 1773 Maple St., Holt, MI 48842. (Faxes and emailed versions will no longer be accepted). You must sign a separate form for each course level, have completed at least 15 hours per course, and include your PIC# if you have one. Signing Online will verify your information and send it to our sponsor Michigan State University, to submit to the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) through their website (Michigan Online Educator Certification System).
You will be required to:
- fill in your personal account using the same email address as for Signing Online.
- If you are affiliated with MDE in their MOECS system then include your PIC number.
- complete the MDE evaluation
- pay an additional $20.00 if you require an official transcript from MDE.(some districts do not require an "official" transcript)
"We are so impressed and glad that we were able to take advantage of this online signing program. My 9 year old wanted to learn to use sign language to communicate with an acquaintance. This program is so easy to use and has been a great after school activity to keep him busy. Just after a few lessons, our acquaintance is so impressed with what our son has already learned and picked up in the short time he's had the program. It makes my son so happy now that he can talk to his friend and is starting to understand why it is so hard on our friend when he goes somewhere and people just don't understand. The video and hand gestures are easy to follow. We have recommended the program to other classmates and acquaintances. We are hoping to continue with the course after this one is done. "
- E Sibert, Co-op Member
"Last year I used another online program (more expensive) that was a total waste of my time and money. I have learned more in 3 months of using Signing Online than I did using the other for a year."
"We ordered two subscriptions to Signing Online this fall for my two middle school boys. We absolutely love the program. Each lesson follows the same structure and includes lots of explanations about grammar and word order. My boys enjoy the quizzes and the fact that they can re-take them to improve their score. Right from the start, we ve been signing with each other based on what they've learned in the lessons which is the best indicator that this is a fun, motivating, solid program. I also appreciate the culture section of each lesson. Overall, a great program!!"
-S. Thompson, Co-op Member
"My boys are really enjoying the course and are signing to me all the time now!"
"She loves ASL and has decided to major in Communications Science and Disorders with a double minor in ASL and Dance, then to get a masters in Speech Pathology. Out of all the programs she has taken, she says this one is the best and most informative, especially the videos which are much eaiser to "see" and follow. Thank you again!
"I have been finding the lessons and your dictionary to be invaluable tools. They have opened up a whole new communication platform for me since my deafness journey began and I can’t explain what learning has meant to me over the last few years. It has changed my life for the positive in so many ways. My deafness is no longer a disability for me but it has introduced me to a whole new world of communication and it’s amazing!!
Thanks so much!"
"Dear Elizabeth, Thank you so much! They emailed my SCECHs to me today, so things look like they will go smoothly ahead for my graduation. You have been amazing and so helpful for me, and I feel a lot of gratitude to you for your kindness and your assistance! Thank you so much for everything!"
"This has been a great solution for high school foreign language credit. There are lesson plans included that will add enough work to give you a full credit. My son enjoys it and I'm glad to have found it for any of my other kids who are interested in ASL."
-L Riggs, Co-op Member
"I love the structure and organization of this curriculum. My daughter is taking it as her foreign language credit. It is very easy to use, has good repetition to help her remember, has written assignments that I print out, and online quizzes. I'm very happy with it and glad we found it on homeschoolbuyersco-op.com."
-Jod Nowell, Co-op Member
"My daughter is using the Signing Online curriculum as a high school foreign language credit. This program allows her to be independent as it is well organized, and easy to follow. She is able to see the signs in action, as the program has lots of videos as opposed to just photos of people signing. Every lesson includes many multiple choice worksheets - I appreciate this because it gives me something to put in her portfolio as proof of learning. There are also tests and quizzes, and answer keys are included. We much prefer this program to the live online sign language course she took last year (different company) as it is more complete with the option to watch the signing videos as often as you need."
-Michelle R., Co-op Member
10 reasons why you should learn ASL
- It is one of the fastest growing languages of study in the United States.
- Over 1,000,000 Deaf and Hearing people use it.
- It is the third most common language used in the United States behind English and Spanish.
- It helps many Hearing parents learn to communicate with their Deaf children.
- It can help people get jobs in the service industry.
- Learning ASL introduces you to the Deaf community and its rich cultural experiences.
- Learning ASL helps people gain an appreciation for language.
- Many people say that ASL is a lot more fun to learn than other foreign languages.
- You can teach it to your baby. Babies can learn to sign before they can learn to speak.
- It can help people with limited verbal skills develop their communication skills.
10 more reasons to learn ASL
- To have private discussions in public places.
- To talk to your child without others hearing.
- To discuss your evening plans at the dinner table without your parents overhearing.
- To carry on a conversation with a friend across a noisy room.
- To coach a talented child while he or she is out on the field playing soccer, without letting the coach know of your help. (Also useful in any other sport where you know more than the coach.)
- To have a wild yet silent discussion with a friend during a movie, opera, or at the symphony.
- To make plans for after-school fun without interrupting your teacher's monologue on the movement of ocean currents.
- Signing is more subtle than kicking someone under the table.
- Using ASL exercises a different side of the brain.
- To send your love to someone across the room.
Who is SigningOnline for?
Signing Online was created for people who wish to learn ASL but have little or no access to instructors or for those students who require curriculum for ASL classes. Learning ASL can be especially beneficial to those who regularly interact with the deaf community or the hard of hearing as sign language can bridge the gap of communication for them. Also, many parents choose to take signing online classes to teach their baby sign language to communicate with them during preverbal and toddler stages.