Discover Sign Language

Discover Sign Language

This course offers an immersive experience in silence, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of the perspective of the Deaf community and build your confidence in signing. Through video demonstrations, you will learn not only how to make signs but also how to communicate with facial expressions effectively. By taking this course, you can develop your skills and enhance your ability to communicate with the hard of hearing community.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
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Discover Sign Language will teach you how to sign basic phrases and complete sentences and how to put it all together, allowing you to introduce yourself and start a conversation. Along the way, you will learn signs for colors, numbers, locations, family, and the activities you like to do.

Throughout the course, you will learn by watching videos that demonstrate how to make the signs and how to incorporate facial expressions to communicate in this beautiful language. This course is taught using the best practices of the industry with a minimum of audio support. Throughout it, you will be immersed in silence, which will help you gain an understanding of the perspective of Deaf people and sign language.

You will also gain an introduction to the world of the Deaf culture and explore topics such as lip reading, baby signs, and the career of interpreting. By the end of the course, when you meet a Deaf person, you will be ready to sign!

Enrollment Options:
6 Weeks Access Course Code: dsl
Start Dates*Nov 15 | Dec 13 | Jan 17 | Feb 14
*Choose start date in cart
$139.00 USD
3 Months Access Course Code: T9232
No Instructor, Start Anytime
$129.00 USD


What is sign language? Is it a real language? How did it develop? In this lesson, you will discover what sign language is and who uses it. This lesson introduces American Sign Language and a basic approach to learning it—signing the numbers 0 to 15.

Master your ABCs as you learn how to fingerspell the alphabet. You will discover how double letters are made when they're inside a word and how they're signed when they fall at the beginning and end of words. You will also learn tips on how to read fingerspelling.

How do you do? In this lesson, you will take the first steps toward having a conversation as you learn how to introduce yourself. In addition to learning the basic signs for this kind of interaction, you will also gain some more strategies for learning and understanding new signs, including the four aspects that make up each sign. While you add these skills to your signing arsenal, you will also learn more about the Deaf community, including what Deaf people expect to learn about you when you meet for the first time, and the role facial expression plays in sign language.

Next, you will build on the introduction you learned in the last lesson and see how to keep the conversation going. You will explore the different customs of conversation in the Deaf community, such as how to know when one person is finished talking and how to take turns. In addition, you will continue to navigate your introduction by adding more information about yourself. Finally, you will gain some additional vocabulary as you learn the signs for colors and numbers 16 to 30.

In this lesson, you will learn more signs to help you continue the conversation you started in the two previous lessons. You will learn about the cherished custom Deaf people have of giving name signs, so you will understand what to call yourself, your city, and your state. You will also gain more vocabulary about objects in your living environment. You will learn to sign the types of dwellings people live in and modes of transportation. In addition, you will add to your knowledge of numbers by mastering the signs for numbers 31 to 66. This lesson closes with a discussion about an important issue in the Deaf community: whether deafness is considered a disability.

Signing becomes a family affair as you learn signs for family members. You will understand how sign language categorizes the signs for each gender and communication in families with a Deaf person. This includes lip reading and other communication strategies. This lesson closes with the signs for numbers 67 to 100.

This lesson focuses on signs for extended family members. You will also learn signs to describe how you're related to them. Start to put together longer sentences to practice using your new vocabulary. You will be introduced to number systems beginning with age and telling how old family members are.

What time is it? In this lesson, you will discover how to tell time as well as sign the days of the week and other time periods such as minutes and hours. You'll learn how spoken languages handle past, present, and future tenses and then examine how sign language does it. Finally, you will discover the impact of the "Deaf President Now" movement had on the lives of Deaf people.

This lesson teaches signs for additional time frames such as yesterday, today, and tomorrow. You will learn signs for indoor and outdoor activities. Then, you will learn signs for your opinion, so you can explain which activities you like and don't like. You will also learn about CODAs—a group of hearing people unique to the Deaf community.

Now it's time to learn the signs for feelings and personality traits, and you will combine these signs with signs learned in previous lessons. You will see how to communicate how you're doing, how to ask how others are doing, and how to describe different personal attributes. You will also learn more about Deaf culture—this time, about physical contact and getting the attention of a Deaf person both nearby and across the room. Finally, you will gain tips for practicing your signs.

In the final lesson, you will learn signs for clothing and hairstyles, such as jacket and long hair. You will learn about classifiers and how to use them with the patterns such as stripes. Then you will learn signs for descriptions such as mustache and beard. You will also explore another important aspect of Deaf culture: teaching hearing babies to sign.

The course concludes with a lesson that teaches you to wish a friend happy birthday, offer a birthday treat, and talk about your favorite animal. You will start by learning to sign the months of the year and how to say, "Happy birthday!" You will also learn some signs for food and animals. This lesson will cover how English is translated into sign language and the role of the professional sign language interpreter. You will even get some tips on using an interpreter with a Deaf person.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Erin Trimble

Erin Trimble holds a Bachelor of Science in American Sign Language/English Interpreting from William Woods University and a Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies degree from Western Oregon University. Since 2003, Trimble has been professionally interpreting across a variety of settings including education, community, and medical. She has been both a staff interpreter and a freelance interpreter.

Instructor Interaction: The instructor looks forward to interacting with learners in the online moderated discussion area to share their expertise and answer any questions you may have on the course content.


This course was excellent for a total beginner. I knew no signs before this class. Jennifer is an outstanding instructor. I couldn't wait to start each one of my lessons. She made it fun and I looked forwarded to it.

Such a great course for the relevant content needed to understand the basics of sign language! The instructor was fantastic and knowledgable in this area. She gave us variations to signs that we may see, which is super helpful. Overall, this was a great course.

What a wonderful course! Over eight short weeks, I've learned enough to have a basic conversation in American Sign Language. The teacher's writing and videos are fantastic and lead students through a logical progression of sign language skills acquisition.

As someone who has done an entire college diploma through distance education online, I have to say that this is one of the best online courses I have ever taken. It was fun and challenging. The instructor was great and always quick to respond. I learned more than I had even hoped I would. I will definitely recommend this course to friends and colleagues.

I appreciated the diversity of information provided, including insights into deaf culture and communities. I feel more confident in my ability to interact with someone who is deaf simply because I understand a bit more. This course is a great beginner course and I find myself wanting to learn more--preferably from the same instructor.

This course and its instructor is fabulous. I learned so much more than I thought I would. It is well constructed, and thoughtfully led. I would like to see more courses available along this line. A "next level" to build on the skills learned, and information. As a language course of study, this is the best taught I have encountered.

This was the best online training I have ever worked through!

This was a great class, I really learned a lot about the Deaf Community, and signing and I feel very comfortable signing simple conversations. I loved this class, thank you for making it interesting. I highly recommend this course.

Jennifer Carmean is an excellent teacher. I learned so much valuable information that will help me to communicate with the deaf students on my caseload. If she offered a follow-up class, I would definitely take it. The course material and the supplementary material that she provided was relevant and interesting.

I absolutely loved this course. I learned so much in so little time!