Basic Sign Language I
I. Course Prefix/Number: SPE 125
Course Name: Basic Sign Language I
Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)
III. Course (Catalog) Description
Course introduces the fundamentals of American Sign Language. The focus is on sign language vocabulary, expressive and receptive communication, fingerspelling, and ASL grammar used by Deaf Americans. This course is designed for students with no previous experience in this area.
IV. Learning Objectives
- Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals of American Sign Language
- Be able to fingerspell and count
- Identify basic ASL vocabulary and grammatical structure
- Demonstrate understanding of certain aspects of Deaf Culture:
- Common courtesies
- Deaf people in history
- Communicate expressively and receptively in ASL at the basic level.
V. Academic Integrity and Student Conduct
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.
There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.
Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at
VI. Sequence of Topics
- Getting to Know You
- Exchange of Personal Information
- Discussing Living Situations
- Talking about Family
Detailed Outline of Topics and Assignments
|Class Information||Homework (All assignments are due the following week at the start of class)|
|Week 1: Course introduction, Deaf Culture quiz and class discussion.
Unit 1:1 – 1:4
|Week 1: Exercises 1:2-1:3
Reading 1:4 – Deaf Profile, Andrew Foster
|Week 2: Unit 1:5 – 1:8
||Week 2: Exercises 1:5-1:8|
Week 3: Unit 1:9 – 1:12 and Putting it all Together
|Week 3: Exercises 1:9, 1:11, Unit 1 Review and Self-Assessment; View 1:10 & 1:12|
|Week 4: Unit 2:1 – 2:2
|Week 4: Exercises 2:1-2:2 & View 6:1
Deaf Experience Paper
|Week 5: Unit 2:4 – 2:6
Deaf Experience Paper Due
|Week 5: Exercises 2:4-2:6 & Read Deaf Profile, Regina Olson Hughes
|Week 6: Unit 2:7, 2:9-2:10
|Week 6: Exercises 2:7, 2:9-2:10; View 6:3|
|Week 7: Units 2:11 – 2:12 and Putting it all Together
|Week 7: View 2:11 - 2:12 & 6.4; Exercises Unit 2 Review, start preparing for autobiography, self-assessment. Study for Midterm/Timber Story Due next week|
|Week 8: Midterm Chapters 1-2 and Units 3:1-3:4
Timber Story Video Due
|Week 8: Exercises 3:1-3:2, 3:4; Reading 3:3 – Deaf Profile, Douglas Tilden; Autobiographies|
|Week 9: Units 3:5-3:6 & 3:8
Autobiographies (p. 90)
|Week 9: Exercises 3:5 & 3:8; View 3:6 & 6:5; Autobiographies|
|Week 10: Units 3:9-3:12
|Week 10: Exercises 3:9-3:12; View 6:6|
|Week 11: Units 3:13 and Putting it All Together
|Week 11: Exercises 3:13 (start preparing for interview) Unit 3 Review and Self Assessment; View 6:7|
|Week 12: Units 4:1-4:4
|Week 12: Exercises 4:1 – 4:3; Reading 4:4 Deaf Profile, Marie Jean Philip; View 6:8; prepare for interviews|
|Week 13: Units 4:5-4:7
Student Interviews (p. 149)
|Week 13: Exercises 4:5-4:7; cont. interviews|
|Week 14: Units 4:8-4:11, Putting it all Together, Final Review,
|Week 14: Exercises 4:8-4:11 Unit 4 Review and Self Assessment; cont. studying for finals; Prepare Gum story study for final; Prepare Gum story|
|Week 15: Final Units 1-4
Gum Story Video Due
VII. Methods of Instruction
- Class discussion
- Interactive exercises with partner and instructor
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.
VIII. Course Practices Required
- Typed speech outlines/typed response papers
- Oral Presentations
- Critical Thinking
- Structured peer and self evaluations
IX. Instructional Materials
Signing Naturally Units 1-6 (including DVD), 2008 ed. by Smith, Lentz, and Mikos
X. Methods of Evaluating Student Progress
- Deaf Culture Experience Paper 10%
- Midterm: 25% This will be a receptive evaluation (the instructor will be signing to you)
- Expressive Projects: total - 30%
- Narrative: 10%
- Short autobiography presented in class – 10%
- Interview with a partner – 10%
- Homework Completion/Class Participation – 10%
- Final - 25%
- Engagement Policy - 1% All students enrolled in a Speech class must attend at least one event from the Performing Arts Department. Extra credit (1%) is available for those who write a 1-2 page response paper connecting what you saw to what we are doing in class.
XI. Other Course Information
Attendance is required in this class. The Speech Department maintains a formal attendance policy. Rationale: Speech 125 is a performance course, which requires a prepared, responsive audience to be effective. Hence, you must participate in this course in three areas 1) at the podium as a speaker, 2) in the audience for each speaker, 3) in class activities. You will be held responsible for your attendance; the grade will be affected negatively for absences in access of those allowed.
- You are allowed 3 absences with no penalty. “Arriving late” to and “leaving early” from class sessions will be taken into account when attendance is tabulated.
- Three late arrivals and/or leaving class early will be counted as 1 absence. Each absence in excess of the allowed number (3) will result in a reduction of the final grade by one full grade.
If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.
Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.
Resources and support for
- pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
- victims of sexual misconduct
Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.