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SIGN 101 - Introduction to American Sign Language - Deborah Sison

Course:Introduction to American Sign Language
Professor:Deborah Sison
  • OnlineLive
Course Length:
  • 16 Week


Hello and Welcome! I am super excited that you have decided to register for SIGN 101. I am looking forward to getting to know each of you once the semester begins. Here’s a little bit about me. I have been using American Sign Language for most of my life. I started teaching the language in 1994. I’ve taught at both the college and university levels. I’ve been a full-time professor at College of the Canyons since 2005. I enjoy teaching and assisting my students as they acquire a new language and apply conversation strategies. By the end of the semester, you will be able to use American Sign Language in order to communicate information about yourself and to engage in meaningful dialogue with others.  

Course Description

American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual-gestural-spatial language used by the majority of deaf individuals in the United States and Canada.  ASL is not English, nor is it a system of English.  It is a distinct language used by a group of people who share a common community. By enrolling in SIGN 101, students will acquire basic ASL vocabulary and grammatical structures.  Students will also be exposed to American Deaf Culture.

What to Expect in this Course

We will be utilizing 3 instructional platforms in this semester: Zoom, Canvas, and GoReact. Lecture will take place synchronously via Zoom. Attendance and participation will be required. A language class is highly interactive. American Sign Language is a visual-gestural-spatial language and not an auditory-spoken language; therefore, instruction and student-student/teacher-student interactions will be conducted in American Sign Language. While in class, you will need to have your camera on at all times. We will use Canvas for the course calendar, the syllabus, exams, quizzes, assignments, and other activities. GoReact will be utilized for signing assessments.

Types of Assessments

The class will meet synchronously twice a week. You are expected to be in attendance. Participation is required in a language class. The weekly workload will vary from week to week. The course material with be organized in unit modules on Canvas. Each unit will take 2-3 weeks to complete. Homework assignments from the textbook will be submitted weekly. A quiz will be taken on Canvas at the end of each unit. The midterm with occur after unit 3. The paper, storytelling assignment (a retell of a story you will practice), and the interactive exit interview will take place toward the end of the semester.  

Each class will be taught in American Sign Language using a natural and functional approach. You will learn by using the language with your instructor and with your classmates…you will have fun!

Textbook Information

Smith, C., Lentz, E., and Mikos, K.

Signing Naturally: Student Workbook & DVD, Units 1-6

Dawn Sign Press, 2008.

ISBN#: 978-1-58121-210-5



Other Relevant Course Information

The Zoom meeting ID Code will be announced on Canvas and emailed to your student email. You will need this information in order to access class. If you do not show up to the first class meeting, you will be dropped from the course.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

  • CanyonsID Username is your COC student email address (Ex:
  • CanyonsID Password is your COC student email password

Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


The Library provides live online and in-person research help, access to a full range of e-resources and physical materials that support the curriculum, individual and group study areas, and much more!

Last updated: 01/03/2022 Sub#: 278