Interpreter preparation program

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Course: American Sign Language I (ASL I) INED 1363

Section #: 25341 Call #: 203 Room: 1505
Day(s) and Time(s): M 5:30 p.m. to 9:20 p.m. Start and end dates: Jan 12 to May 4
Course Delivery Method: Traditional Course format: Traditional
Instructor: Rhonda Wilhite Office Phone: 918-894-5689

Office Hours: M-F 8 to 5 Email:

By appointment


Division: Communications

Associate Dean: Jocelyn Whitney

Office: NEC 2391

Phone Number: (918) 595-7496


Director: Michael J. Limas, PhD

Office: NEC A151

Phone: (918) 595-7493

COURSE PREREQUISITE: None. INT 1413 Deaf Culture and History is recommended for concurrent enrollment.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: An introduction to American Sign Language which includes the development of receptive and expressive skills in authentic situations and an introduction to Deaf Culture. This introductory course in American Sign Language (ASL) uses a natural language approach to introduce culturally appropriate signed concepts related to the immediate environment. Common communicative events and interactions are utilized to acquire a basic working vocabulary and grammar. Includes development of appropriate linguistic/cultural behaviors and awareness of respect for Deaf Culture. Receptive and expressive skills are fostered though interactive ASL lessons without voice. Lecture 3 hours. Laboratory 1 hour.

NEXT COURSE(S) IN SEQUENCE: INT 1373, American Sign Language II

Vista American Sign Language Series: Signing Naturally, Student Workbook Unit 1-6 , by Ella M. Lentz, Ken Mikos & Cheri Smith. Dawn Sign Press, San Diego, CA


Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to -

  1. Engage in one-to-one conversation in ASL and share basic information related to specific instructor-led common topics.*

  2. Comprehend message in one-to-one conversation and through electronic means.*

  3. Express oneself in ASL one-to-one and through electronic means.*

  4. Identify the beliefs, values and attitudes within Deaf culture

  5. Engage in one-to-one conversation comparing and contrasting ASL with English or another language.*

  6. Engage in one-to-one conversation comparing Deaf culture with one’s own culture and other cultures.*

  7. Acquire and expand visual memory skills.

*Title: Learning Outcomes for American Sign Language Skills Levels 1-4, Authors: Kim Brown Kurz, Ph.D. and Marty M. Taylor, Ph.D. Publisher: National Technical institute for the Deaf, June 2008.


The curriculum parallels what we know about language development and second language learning. We focus on introducing language in context and reinforcing what is learned by engaging you into various interactive activities. A conversational curriculum requires you to be an active learner. You need to come prepared to sign with me and other classmates. Our classes are conducted in American Sign Language (ASL) from the very first day. You are immersed in the language for four hours a week to maximize your language learning. The teacher will use gestures, signs, drawings and act out situations to get the point across and your job is to keep trying. This may sound daunting at first, but trust me, it works!


We insist on maintaining a signing environment at all times in the classroom for two reasons:

  • It is considered rude and insulting to talk in front of a Deaf person and not make the information passing between you and the other person accessible. Since a good number of your teachers will be Deaf and your goal is to get to know Deaf people in the community. It is imperative that you develop the habit of signing when Deaf people are present.

  • This is an immersion class, which means only the target language is used. Using only ASL helps you to develop both your comprehension skills quickly and effectively.

  • Talking disrupts this process and delays your language development

  • If a fellow student asks you for help, feel free to help by using signs you have learned or by writing back and forth. In this way, I can see what is being said and can join in to help, if needed be.


  • Neither the instructor nor the student will be permitted to use voice, except at Instructor’s designated times. The sign/voice ratio in class will be 95% sign, 5% voice.

  • Students may write questions or comments on the blackboard or on paper for the document reader.

  • Vocabulary will be taught through meaningful use of conversation, interaction techniques, pictures, dialogues, games, etc.

  • Students will use the video camera for both expressive and receptive development

of ASL in the Facet Center when available.
Evaluation will be focused on the student’s ability to communicate in ASL receptively and expressively. The evaluation will be determined by the following methods:

  1. Student signed stories, skits, dialogues, and demonstrations in front of class.

  2. Instructor/student interaction of signed vocabulary, dialogues and stories.

  3. Performance on video assignments, written/online quizzes and examination

Academic ASL Video Format Requirements:  

  In order to deliver a successful video assignment, students must adhere to the

following Academic ASL Video Format Requirements:

1. Video camera:  Select the video camera that has the highest quality video production.

2. Lighting: Check the lighting that one can see your signs clearly.

3. Space: Set up the space frame to display your full hands and body from top of your

head to your waist.
4. Background:  Use a solid color wall or cloth

5. Clothing:  Wear a solid color shirt that contrasts with your skin color and the

background color.
For more specific details and examples, check the “Academic ASL Video Format
Requirement” file in your Blackboard.


Students are expected to prepare thoroughly outside of class in order to keep up with the demanding pace of the course.

1. Getting to Know You Paper (5 points bonus)

Students will write a paper giving basic information about themselves. The completion of this paper is worth 5 points. This shows that you understand how to submit the assignment on the blackboard. Full typed page should be uploaded on your blackboard.

Include the following information in your paper:

  • Major/minor

  • Student status

  • Reason for taking sign language class

  • Any previous experience or interaction with Deaf individuals
  • Hopes/expectations for this class

2. Lab Assignments (2 x 25 = 50 points)
Your instructor will select videotapes for you to view in the Facet Center during the semester. One set of videotapes will be due during the first eight weeks of the semester and the second set of tapes will be due prior to the final (check your tentative calendar in the syllabus for exact dates

3. Camera Demonstrations (25 points)
Students will perform one camera assignment in class worth 25 points each. Students watch the stories in their videotext, pick one, and practice the story until s/he can tell the story from memory. Emphasis is placed on correct articulation of signs, facial markers, role shifting, and the use of space. You may choose one story:

Camera Demo 1- Timber, pages 310-318

Camera Demo 1- The Gum Story, pages 319-328

4. Homework Demonstration (25 points)
Students will perform two homework assignments on camera worth 25 points each. The lowest grade will be dropped. There is no make-up on homework demonstrations, if a student misses an assignment that can be one of the dropped grades.

Homework Demo 1- Your Autobiography, page 90

Homework Demo 2- Your Story, pages 360-371

5. Community Interaction Papers (2 x 25 points = 50 points)

The only way to really learn a language is to interact with native users, and in this case, deaf adults in the Tulsa community. Students will interact with two times with members of the Deaf Community and then write a reaction paper worth 25 points each.

1. The first Interaction must be a tutoring session with the ASLSpecialist (Facet Center) or the deaf community events.

2. The second interaction must be a community event, i.e. Silent Dinner, Deaf Coffee, deaf church. If you are uncertain, talk to your instructor for approval.

Silent Dinner at Woodland Hills Mall – 6:00 p.m.

Deaf Chat Coffee Starbucks Utica Square – 2nd Friday of each month at 7:00 p.m.
Check with ASL Specialist or go to Blackboard’s ASL Lab site for all approved deaf-related events, deaf churches, and programs.
After participating in each event you must write a paper. The paper should be typed using size 12 font, double spaced, and a minimum of 1 page. Your attendance at the event and completion of the paper is worth 25 points/each.

Include the following information in your paper:

Opening Paragraph:

  • Name of the event

  • Where it was held

  • Date

  • Times you were there

  • First names of deaf individuals with whom you interacted

  • Description of how you began the conversations

Answer these questions:

  • What differences between Deaf and hearing cultures did you observe?

  • What new vocabulary or concepts did you learn?

  • Overall, what was your reaction to the interaction?

You are always free and encouraged to attend more events for your own personal benefit;

6. Quizzes (4 x 25 points = 100 points)

Five quizzes of 25 points each will be administered throughout the semester. The quizzes will test the student's receptive ability and expressive ability on material covered in class, in the text, and from videotapes. One lowest grade will be dropped. There is no make- up on quizzes, if a student misses a quiz that can be one of the dropped grades.

7. Final Exam (200 points)

You will have a final examination worth 200 points. Exams will consist of two parts included receptive and written cumulative. The written parts will be on the Blackboard and it will be released one week before the final exam date. The receptive part will be conducted in the classroom during the finals week.

1. Getting to Know You Paper 1 recorded 5 points Bonus

2. Lab Assignments 2 recorded 25 points 50
3. Camera Demonstration 1 recorded 25 points 25
4. Homework Demonstration 1 recorded 25 points 25
5. Community Interaction 2 recorded 25 points 50

6. Quizzes 4 recorded 25 points 100

7. Final Exam 1 recorded 200 points 200

Total Points Possible 450

450 - 418 = A 93% - 100%
417 - 387 = B 86%- 92%
386 - 355 = C 79%- 85%
354 - 324 = D 72% - 78%
323 - 0 = F Below 72%

Grading scale percentages are used in all interpreter education program courses.
Class attendance and participation may be used to determine borderline grades. A grade of AW may be assigned for any student who stops attending class.


Tutoring in American Sign Language is available the Facet Center, located in the Enterprise Building. Tutoring is encouraged and is available by appointment with the ASL Specialist in the Facet Center. You can contact Lab Specialist, Rhonda Wilhite, at for an appointment to get free tutoring time to help with your assignment or study for your quizzes.

We will use the Blackboard site for this class, located at the following
URL: If you lose the syllabus or other handouts, you will find copies at the above address.

Participation in class activities is crucial to your success in this class. The class forms a small community and your effort or lack of impacts the success of the group. Please make every effort to come to every class with homework done and ready to learn and participate. If you come late or leave early this will be considered a missed class. . If you know you will be absent from class make arrangements for a classmate to take notes and collect handouts for you. I do not always bring extra copies with me to the next class.

This course is based upon group learning and interaction; therefore, the learning is enriched by each individual’s attendance. Recognizing that adults do have conflicts that occasionally interrupt your commitment to this course, the courtesy of contact is appreciated. Students are responsible for material covered during missed classes. Three absences will be allowed for illnesses and extenuating circumstances. Each absence, beyond three, will result in a five-point reduction per absence in your final grade.


If a student is considering withdrawing from class, s/he is encouraged to meet with the instructor before initiating a withdrawal. There may be a solution besides withdrawal. 
The deadline to withdraw from a course shall not exceed 3/4 the duration of any class. Check the TCC Academic Calendar for the deadline that applies to the course(s). Begin the process with a discussion with the faculty member assigned to the course.

Contact the Advisement Office at any TCC campus to initiate withdrawal from a course ('W' grade) or to change from Credit to Audit.

Withdrawal and/or change to an audit from a course after the drop/add period can alter the financial aid award for the current and future semesters. Students may receive an outstanding bill from TCC if the recalculation leaves a balance due to TCC.

Students who stop participating in the course and fail to withdraw may receive a course grade of “F,” which may have financial aid consequences for the student


Camera, lab and socialization assignments will be accepted up to one week past the deadline for submission with a 10% penalty by previous arrangement. Students are responsible for taping late video assignments by arranging an appointment to use the camera in the Facet Center. No make-up is available for receptive portions of quizzes, examinations, camera, lab and socialization assignments without contacting the instructor prior to the scheduled test/due date.

Students may request approval for make-up in writing by e-mail or by phone (a message left on voice-mail is acceptable) by the scheduled due date. If approved, the assignment must be completed one week after the due date with aforementioned 10% penalty. The instructor may use discretion to alter the test or assignment given as make-up.

E-MAIL: All TCC students receive a designated “MyTCC” e-mail address

(ex: All communications to you about TCC and course assignments will be sent to your MyTCC e-mail address. You must use MyTCC e-mail to send e-mail to, and receive e-mail from, the instructor regarding this course.


TCC rarely closes. If extreme weather conditions or emergency situations arise, TCC always gives cancellation notices to radio and television stations. This information is also posted on the TCC website (

For emergencies, please give your family or daycare center the following number:

595-7562, NEC Campus Police. If you are needed because of an emergency, Campus Police will come to our classroom to locate you.


General Education courses at TCC ensure that our graduates gain skills, knowledge, and abilities that comprise a common foundation for their higher education and a backdrop for their work and personal lives. TCC’s General Education goals are: Critical Thinking, Effective Communication, Engaged Learning, and Technological Proficiency.

Open and mutually respectful communication of varied opinions, beliefs, and perspectives during classroom or online discussion encourages the free exchange of ideas that is essential to higher learning and to the ability to learn from each other. During class, please turn off anything that beeps or rings and place it on top of your desk.

Occasionally, changes to the syllabus may be necessary. Students will be notified of any changes to the syllabus in writing.

DISABILITY RESOURCES: It is the policy and practice of Tulsa Community College to create inclusive learning environments. Accommodations for qualifying students in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act are available. To request accommodations, contact the Education Access Center (EAC) at or call (918) 595-7115 (Voice). Deaf and hard of hearing students may text (918) 809-1864.

Academic dishonesty (cheating) is defined as the deception of others about one’s own work or about the work of another. Academic dishonesty or misconduct is not condoned or tolerated at campuses within the Tulsa Community College system. Tulsa Community College adopts a policy delegating certain forms of authority for disciplinary action to the faculty. Such disciplinary actions delegated to the faculty include, but are not limited to, the dismissal of disrespectful or disorderly students from classes. In the case of academic dishonesty a faculty member may:

  • ♣  Require the student to redo an assignment or test, or require the student to complete a substitute assignment or test;

  • ♣  Record a "zero" for the assignment or test in question;

  • ♣  Recommend to the student that the student withdraw from the class, or administratively withdraw the student from the class;

  • ♣  Record a grade of "F" for the student at the end of the semester. Faculty may request that disciplinary action be taken against a student at the administrative level by 
submitting such a request to the Dean of Student Services. 

  • INSTITUTIONAL STATEMENT: Each student is responsible for being aware of the information contained in the TCC Catalog, TCC Student Handbook, Student Code of Conduct Policy Handbook, and semester information listed in the class schedule. All information may be viewed on the TCC website


Plagiarism is claiming, indicating or implying that the ideas, sentences or words of another writer are your own. It includes having another writer do work claimed to be your own, copying the work of another and presenting it as your own or following the work of another as a guide to ideas and expression that are then presented as your own. You should review the relevant sections of the TCC Student Code of Conduct Policy Handbook.


Access to computing resources is a privilege granted to all TCC faculty, staff and students. Use of TCC computing resources is limited to purposes relating to TCC’s

mission of education, research and community service. Student use of technology is governed by the Computer Services Acceptable Use Statements/ Standards found in the TCC Student Code of Conduct Policy Handbook. These handbooks may be obtained by contacting any Student Activities or Dean of Student Services office.


Each student is responsible for being aware of the information contained in the TCC Catalog, TCC Student Handbook, TCC Student Code of Conduct Policy Handbook and semester information listed in the Class Schedule.

SPECIAL NOTE: Please make the instructor aware of any factors that need to be considered in order to ensure the optimal learning environment for you. Students

should inform the instructor of special circumstances or needs that may affect learning in the classroom. Appropriate referral or consideration will be made as needed.

TENTATIVE CLASS AGENDA The class agenda is a general guideline for the course and is subject to announced changes at the discretion of the instructor. This schedule is subject to change due to the rate at which students acquire the content of the course.






Week 1

Jan 12

Unit #1 – Introducing Oneself



Week 2

Jan 26

Unit #1 – Introducing Oneself

GTKU (Getting to Know You)  


Week 3


Unit #2 – Exchanging Personal information

Unit #1 Quiz


Week 4

Feb 9

Unit #2 – Exchanging Personal Information


Week 5

Feb 16

Unit #3 – Discussing Living Situations

Unit #2 Quiz


Week 6

Feb 23

Unit #3 – Discussing Living Situations


Week 7

Mar 2

Unit #3 – Discussing Living Situations

Cam Demo -
(Gum Story/Timber)


Week 8

Mar 9

Unit #4 Talking About Family

Lab #1
Unit #3 Quiz


Week 9

Mar 16

Closed – Spring Break


Week 10

Mar 23

Unit #4 Talking About Family

Community Interaction Report #1


Week 11

Mar 30

Unit #4 Talking About Family

Homework Demo #1


Week 12

Apr 6

Unit #4 Talking About Family


Week 13

Apr 13

Unit #5 Telling About Activities

Unit #4 Quiz


Week 14

Apr 20

Unit #5 Telling About Activities

Homework Demo #2


Week 15

Apr 27

Unit #6 Storytelling
Review Unit 1-5

Unit #5 Quiz Community Interaction Report #2


Week 16 Finals

May 4


Lab #2



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