ASL-131: Elementary American Sign Language I

Liberal Arts
Language Studies
American Sign Language
Academic Level
Course Subject
American Sign Language
Course Number
Course Title
Elementary American Sign Language I
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
ENG-094/ENG-095E eligible or instructor permission
Catalog Course Description

Introduces the basic American Sign Language (ASL) skills, focusing on communication in a cultural context. Covers fingerspelling, basic vocabulary and grammatical structures, and the development of visual receptive and gestural expressive skills. Designed for students with little or no previous knowledge of ASL.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

ASL-131 is designed to enable students to reach the Novice Mid level on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) proficiency scale, focusing on language learning through communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities.

Core Course Topics
  1. ASL structure
  2. Vocabulary (a core vocabulary of approximately 300 signs)
  3. Fingerspelling
  4. Numbers
  5. Facial expressions/body language
  6. Grammar/conversation: simple statements, commands, wh-questions, yes/no questions; affirmative and negative statements
  7. Communication strategies: attention-getting; beginning and ending conversations; maintaining eye contact; signer’s perspective
  8. Deaf history
  9. Deaf culture
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)
  1. Recognize differences and similarities between spoken languages and the visual/conceptual structure of American Sign Language, including inflections, questions, negatives, statements, etc.
  2. Identify and use approximately 300 signs
  3. Fingerspell the names of classmates and commonly fingerspelled words of three to four letters at a moderate to normal rate of speed within a conversational context
  4. Understand and express the numbers 1 – 100
  5. Use appropriate facial expressions/body language
  6. Initiate and respond to simple statements and questions, and be able to engage in basic face-to-face conversation
  7. Demonstrate comprehension and production of regulating behaviors (i.e. attention-getting techniques, greeting, turn-taking signals, leaving, and others)
  8. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the historical and contemporary issues that impact Deaf culture and the Deaf community
  9. Analyze aspects of Deaf culture that differ from the student’s own culture, giving specific examples that illustrate these differences
General Information

Note: A grade of C- is not transferrable and is not accepted by some programs at HFC.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Assessment of academic achievement will be identified and implemented by the class instructor. Methods will include, but not be limited to:

  • Participation
  • Weekly/regular quizzes
  • Homework assignments
  • Chapter/unit tests
  • Oral/receptive-expressive exam(s)
  • Departmental expressive assessment
  • Midterm/final exam

All sections of this level will use a textbook (and any accompanying materials) selected by the course coordinator and approved by the World Languages Committee.


General Education Categories
  • Humanities and Fine Arts
Institutional Outcomes
  • Humanities
MTA Categories
  • Category 5: Humanities and Fine Arts
Satisfies Wellness Requirement

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2024
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date
Review Semester
Fall 2024