An American Sign Language (ASL) class is offered once a semester by UWG. The ASL course is a five-week series that caters not only to UWG students but also faculty and community members alike.
The course is made possible through UWG’s Department of Continuing Education which holds several classes, seminars, and workshops that are not available for academic credit but are meant to enrich personal development. This course is exclusive to the Carrollton community.
“One semester we’ll have it at UWG Carrollton and then one semester we’ll have it at UWG Newnan,” said Tiffany Powers, a Program Coordinator in the Department of Continuing Education.
The ASL class comes in twos. First, there is ASL I followed by a second course, ASL II. The Department of Continuing Education also offers other classes such as English as a second language among others. These classes vary in price, ranging anywhere from $35 to $500, but are usually inexpensive.
The class in Carrollton is taught by Aleah Brock, M.Ed. who has been instructing students in this program for the past three years. Brock is also an instructor at UWG in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. She teaches Intro to Manual Communication.
Even though this class is not an official UWG course, it is similar to the University’s foreign language courses because it teaches students not only the language but also teaches them the culture of that language. In this case, students learn about deaf culture.
“Aleah teaches manual communications, and that includes the signs that we all think we understand ASL, but then also grammar structure and then some etiquette, and then a good bit about deaf culture,” said Powers.
With the exception of there not being any grades or any formalities, the class can seem very similar to any other course. Although there is no required text for the course, students are encouraged to pick up a copy of the 3rd Edition of The American Sign Language Phrase Book to help them learn. Brock also incorporates the use of slide show presentations and online resources into her class.
The cost to take the class is $99. But according to Powers, the cost is more than reasonable.
“We pay Aleah for her valuable time… that is kind of how continuing education works; so we’re a revenue-generating entity and part of the University, so all of our classes come with some sort of fee.” Powers expressed why this course might be a great opportunity for students.
“Maybe we’re not always like, proficient or fluent to interpret but, good to have like a basis where you can do some basic communication with someone,” Powers said. “It’s just a good component of diversity and inclusion.”