American Sign Language | Assiniboine Community College

American Sign Language

Duration/Start: Part Time Evening

Credential: Certificate of Achievement

Have you watched someone use sign language and wished you could understand? American Sign Language, or ASL as it is commonly known, is a complete language using signs, hand shapes and facial expressions.

The Vista Signing Naturally program prepares students to converse in American Sign Language (ASL). This is a standardized curriculum that not only teaches signs but also grammar and deaf culture. This program consists of two levels, each level is made up of three 40-hour courses. Each level is progressively more demanding and requires increasing degrees of skill. 

The deaf community is a group of deaf people who find cohesiveness in this shared language as well as other cultural values. Ideally, students of ASL should be students of deaf culture as well. The ASL class is designed for:

People interested in learning a sign language. 

  • Professionals in contact with the deaf community in their jobs. 
  • Workers, friends or neighbours of deaf people. 
  • Parents or family members of a deaf person. 


The Vista Program

The Vista Signing Naturally approach offers a standardized curriculum to learning ASL. Created and developed at Vista Community College in Berkley, California, it not only teaches signs, but also grammar and deaf culture. The Vista approach stresses natural communication.

The Vista program was conceived and developed by three native signers of ASL, two of whom are deaf and one hearing. They used the following three premises when creating Vista. Languages are learned best when presented in context. Language is retained best when activities are meaningful and/or related to experiences. Comprehensive skills are developed more quickly than expressive skills.

Older methods of teaching sign language used Manually Coded English (MCE). This system substitutes words for signs in English word orders. MCE was used in schools with deaf children to reinforce their English skills, but this is changing in Manitoba and elsewhere. The Vista method has been field-tested over the last few years by ten colleges and elsewhere. Compared to other sign programs, Vista was found to be easier, more enjoyable and more practical. Vista allows students to learn ASL more gradually and comfortably, and has improved the overall quality of instruction.

The Signing Naturally approach to acquiring ASL allows people, with no knowledge of sign language, to communicate comfortably in a variety of situations with the Deaf. As well as classroom instruction, Vista offers input via video, text and workbook. Because of the interactive nature of instruction, enrollment is limited. Classroom instruction is supplemented by the accompanying videotape and workbook, which allow students to review, practice and retain what is learned.


Completion Requirements

Students require a C in each course to successfully complete the program.


Documents / Certificates of Achievement

Once you have completed each of the first level (ASL101/102/103) you are eligible to apply for a Document of Achievement.  Upon completion of the second level of the ASL program (ASL201/202/203), you are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Achievement.

To apply for either a Document of Achievement or Certificate of Achievement, you must submit an Application to Graduate to the Centre of Continuing Studies, stating which document you are applying for with a list of the courses you have completed. Please note that at least two of the above-mentioned courses must be completed through the Centre of Continuing Studies at ACC in order to be granted a Document of Achievement from this program; consideration for credit transfers from other recognized institutions may be transferred upon provision of the necessary documentation.

Note: You will receive an official transcript of your marks after completing the certificate.

Fast Facts

Duration/Start Part Time Evening

Credential Certificate of Achievement

Credits 18.00

Optional Exit Yes

Optional Exit Credits 0

Co-op Work Placement No

Distance Delivery No

International Students No

Study Options
Continuing Studies