ASL students continue learning online


Dinah Deats

A screenshot from one of Deats’ recent assignments

Distance learning has presented challenges to students and teachers alike. Many language classes require interactions between students and instructors that are difficult to achieve in an online environment.

One language department in particular that has been presented with and overcome these challenges is American Sign Language.

In ASL 1, students are assigned about 2 assignments due on different days throughout the week (usually Wednesdays and Thursdays). According to Dinah Deats, “Some of [the assignments] are video quizzes where we watch someone signing and we answer questions based on what they’re saying. We have to study the vocab for each chapter through videos [Mrs. VT] posts and quizlet flashcards”.

Although this is something the students typically do, there are adjustments made to fit the online format. Deats shared, “With the signing assignments we are doing, we have to video them instead of performing them” (as pictured).

Other assignments that the students have continued doing are, “…notes quizzes on the grammar and history of the deaf community. Also, we used to fingerspell for 10 minutes at the beginning of every class. So there’s a website [Mrs. VT is] having us use to practice,.” she said.

For the most part, Deats says, “Some of it is different, but a lot of it is the same with little tweaks because it’s online”.

Dinah Deats is confident these assignments will effectively prepare her for the next level. “I’m an overachiever and I love sign language. So I sign every day during conversation to get practice”.

Deats says there are certain aspects that she misses about being in the classroom, “I miss signing with my friends. It’s okay by myself but I don’t get to read their signing like I would in class. I can sign well but I’m not sure how well I can read someone else’s signing anymore.”

As far as making changes upon returning to school, Deats says, “I don’t think [I’ll do anything differently]. COVID hasn’t really affected me other than locking me in my house. I might be more attentive to due dates.”

As many have come to learn, even in the toughest situations, students and teachers will overcome challenges to ensure that students can keep learning and moving forward together.