Mari Klassen signing “Communication”

EDST 498 C (3): Introduction to American Sign Language

July 5 – July 22 (Monday to Thursday)   |   9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


This course provides an introduction to ASL for individuals who have little or no prior knowledge of ASL. Course content includes vocabulary development, manual alphabet, numeral systems, simple structures and grammatical forms of ASL, as well as insight into the culture and community of Deaf people. Through laboratory, group practice, drills, exercises and dialogue students will develop the grammatical forms and syntax of ASL. This course follows the Signing Naturally curriculum and provides an immersive experience. Students learn through demonstration and extensive practice in order to recognize various visual grammatical features and develop beginning-level vocabulary.

At the end of this course, the student will acquire the following basic skills:

  • Introduce themselves and exchange basic personal and family information
  • Identify others by describing visual features
  • Describe simple shapes and indicate the placement of objects
  • Comprehend short or familiar fingerspelled names/words
  • Respond to information using appropriate visual interactive behaviours
  • Give basic commands and instructions
  • Describe daily activities
  • Narrate childhood and travel experiences from a personal perspective
  • Express simple personal needs related to immediate time and environment
  • Use number(s) for simple counting of objects/people
  • Recognize the significance of the use of non-manual signals and facial grammar
  • Summarize the key values of Deaf culture and community

Mari Klassen

Klassen is bilingual in American Sign Language (ASL) and written English. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American Sign Language and Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University, and her Master’s degree in Sign Language Education with a Deaf Studies Graduate Certification from Gallaudet University. Her educational experiences have allowed her to develop a strong foundation for teaching ASL, deaf culture and history. She has been fortunate to be part of an intellectual community consisting of many notable people, leaders and teachers. Her goals are to be more involved with the deaf community, be an advocate, partner and ally.

How to register

To register for courses, please visit the Student Information Service Centre (SISC).

Please note, this course requires third-year standing or above. Those who do not meet the requirements will be dropped from the course.

Register for Term two (July/August) courses via the Student Information Service Centre (SISC).

If you are looking to transfer a course into UBC Vancouver, or another institution, please confirm transfer credit will be approved prior to registering for a UBC Okanagan course.

*It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the course is accepted towards the completion of a program.

Register for Term two (July/August) courses via the Student Information Service Centre (SISC). You must have 2021 Summer registration eligibility. If not, please email sie.education@ubc.ca.

If you are looking to transfer a course into UBC Vancouver, or another institution, please confirm approval of transfer credit prior to registration.

*It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the course is accepted towards the completion of a program.

Apply to take select coursework as a non-degree student at through the Non-Degree Access Studies Application.

Please note: There is no option for “May 2021 – Aug. 2021 .” You will need to apply for “Sept. 2021 – Dec. 2021”, and indicate in the question “Please tell us why you are applying to take courses at UBC through Non Degree Studies” that you are applying for the Summer Institute in Education and list the course(s) and dates. If you require assistance, please email sie.education@ubc.ca

Register for Term two (July/August) courses via the  Student Information Service Centre (SISC). You must have 2021 Summer registration eligibility. If not, please email sie.education@ubc.ca.