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 ASL program is designed for people interested in learning sign language, professionals in contact with the deaf community in their jobs, and friends and family members of a deaf person.

Learn a comprehensive understanding of ASL from the alphabet to basic words and concepts, recognizing facial expressions all the way to describing objects and full conversations. 

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.


There are no application requirements for this program.

English is the language of instruction at Assiniboine. All applicants educated outside of Canada or in a country not on the test exempt list are expected to meet the English language proficiency requirement. See assiniboine.net/elp for more information.

If you don’t meet these admission requirements please visit our adult learning page for more information on assessment of special circumstances.

Next Step

This program does not require an application. Courses for this program are not offered this term. Sign-up and be informed when courses are available.


Careers & Connections

Individuals who are employed or seeking employment with public and private schools, rehabilitation centres, centres for people with development disabilities, hospitals, etc. would find this program beneficial.



Tools & Supplies

Course Name

Course Number Textbook Author
American Sign Language 101, 102, 103
Signing Naturally Student Workbook Level 1
Lentz and Mikos Smith
American Sign Language 201, 202, 203
Signing Naturally Student Workbook Level 2
Lentz and Mikos Smith

Visit the Bookstore website to learn more.


Courses & Costs

To receive an American Sign Language document of achievement, students must successfully complete 120 academic hours. To graduate with an American Sign Language Certificate of Achievement, students must successfully complete 240 academic hours.

Tuition, fees and Student Association fees total approximately $1,300 for the document of achievement and approximately $2,600 for the certificate of achievement. All fees are estimated and are subject to change without notice.

American Sign Language ASL101 (COMM-0047) | 40 Hours

This course is an introduction to the American deaf culture. Students gain knowledge and understanding of the unique culture of deaf people. This course is beneficial to those who are interested in working with the deaf.

American Sign Language ASL102 (COMM-0048) | 40 Hours

Prerequisite: COMM-0047 American Sign Language ASL101

This course is designed for those who are interested in increasing their comprehension, practicing literacy analysis and gaining cultural appreciation. 

American Sign Language ASL103 (COMM-0049) | 40 Hours

Prerequisite: COMM-0048 American Sign Language ASL102

Students at this level are able to increase their fluency and critically self-evaluate their conversation with additional practice in confirming and clarifying conversation strategies. They also practice descriptive and locative classifiers along with the correct specialization and eye gaze. 

American Sign Language ASL201 (COMM-0050) | 40 Hours

Prerequisite: COMM-0049 American Sign Language ASL103

This course teaches students to use the structures of American Sign Language along with the use of topic-comment structure, ordinal numbers, reference point marking locations of non-present objects, locative classifiers, semantic classifiers, temporal aspect of time signs, inflecting verbs, role shifting and conditional sentences. There are cultural behaviours and conversation strategies in the conversation.

American Sign Language ASL202 (COMM-0051) | 40 Hours

Prerequisite: comm-0050 American Sign Language ASL201

In this level, the students practice non-manual markers as references. They describe unusual objects using descriptive and instrument classifiers. They also develop language fluency in the context of cooperative group discussion. 

American Sign Language ASL203 (COMM-0052) | 40 Hours

Prerequisite: COMM-0051 American Sign Language ASL202

Students practice sequencing activities by using proper clauses. At this level, they also practice element classifiers and focus on deaf cultural behaviours, values and norms. They practice sharing information to make connections between people and promote continuity in role-playing.


Courses for this program are not offered this term. Sign-up and be informed when courses are available.


Fast Facts

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are courses not offered every term for this program?

Courses in a program are offered based on several considerations such as, but not limited to, instructor availability, seasonality, demand, etc.

I've successfully completed the required courses for this program. How do I receive my credential?

Students that have successfully completed all the program requirements can complete an Application to Graduate form and email to registration@assiniboine.net to receive their credential.