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ASL Connect is intended to be a central resource for learning ASL and about Deaf Studies online, with all content created by Deaf ASL-fluent scholars. We offer ways to learn some basic ASL online to get you started, and then we offer highly engaging and interactive ASL and Deaf Studies courses online.
Students must refer to their academic institution for authorizing credit transfers. While these courses are offered as a part of Gallaudet University’s Center for Continuing and Online Education unit, academic credits may be transferred to other colleges and universities.
ASL is now the third most taught language in higher education according to the Modern Language Association (2013). Community colleges and four year colleges and universities throughout the nation do accept ASL as foreign language credit. Students are encouraged to check their school’s catalog to see if their university accepts ASL as foreign language credit. The online and onsite courses offered by ASL Connect are frequently transferred to satisfy students’ foreign language requirement.

While ASL Connect is housed in Gallaudet University’s Department of ASL and Deaf Studies, developed in collaboration with Deaf contractors and businesses listed below:

ASL Connect: Business can help businesses practice inclusion for Deaf clients, employees and collaborators by providing training on how to bridge cultural perspectives, how to procure accessible technologies and qualified ASL interpreters. Currently, our service area is in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. We plan to expand beyond this area to support the great need for ASL inclusion among enterprises.
ASL stands for American Sign Language. This is the most commonly used sign language among the Deaf community in the United States as well as parts of Canada. Because sign languages are not invented languages, nor are they the signed counterparts of the spoken languages of their region, the grammatical structure of sign languages is clearly distinct from spoken languages. While spoken languages are made up of a combination of sounds (phonemes), sign languages are made of a combination of handshapes, palm orientations, locations, movements, and non-manual markers, such as facial expressions. Students who enroll in our ASL courses online will learn more about the grammatical features of ASL.

Just as there is no universal spoken language, there is also no universal sign language. American Sign Language, for example, is completely distinct from British Sign Language, but bears more resemblance to French Sign Language based on the history of the emergence of ASL. (More on this is included in our online course, “Introduction to Deaf Studies“). While there is no universal sign language, Deaf individuals have created an International Sign code to facilitate communication in international conferences and cultural gatherings.

With the rise of Deaf Studies in the 1970s, the usage the capitalization of (D)eaf became commonly used in order to distinguish between those who identify as belonging to a cultural and linguistic minority, in contrast to “(d)eaf”, which refers to an audiological condition. Some authors have opted to use the combined “d/Deaf” as a more inclusive term. There is an ongoing dialogue within Deaf Studies about the merits and complexities of using (d)eaf and (D)eaf, while remaining inclusive.” Students taking Introduction to Deaf Studies and Deaf Culture classes will engage in further discussion of the complex issues involved.
While there are no exact statistics, research shows that about 1 out of every 300 people in the United States are “functionally deaf.” Though more than half became deaf later in life; fewer than 1 out of every 1,000 people in the United States became deaf before 18 years of age. (National Institute of Health, 2005)


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Hearing Undergraduate