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Oxford University Press Courses
Online signing course which acts as a comprehensive introduction for anybody interested in learning BSL…
Introducing British Sign Language is an introductory course that helps you learn and understand sign language, regardless of previous knowledge.
The course is set up in a sequential way which allows you to master the basics of sign language through the use of text, videos and other mediums.
The lessons are accessible whenever, meaning that there are no time constraints on when tasks can be completed.
Although the recommendation is one lesson a week or fortnight, those wishing to work at a more rapid pace can easily do so.
Each lesson is designed to be completed in the order it is set out on the site.
By using this sequential approach, knowledge and understanding of sign language is built sustainably.
Retake each assessment as often as you like to try to improve on your previous score.
The lessons are designed to take one and a half to two hours to complete but you’re not constrained. Spend as long as you need to take in all of the information before moving on to the next lesson.
Something that stands out from the outset is that Introducing British Sign Language is designed with the user in mind.
You can switch between left and right-hand preference, adjust the speed of the video demonstrations (brilliantly helpful when practising) and if you have a webcam, you can use your screen as a mirror so that you can see what you look like signing.
This is really useful because clarity of frontal communication is of such importance. The mirror function opens up another small window so you can compare your signing to an example video.
This, coupled with the slowing down function, makes figuring out dexterity so much easier. This is the kind of feature that shows that the creators of this course really know how to teach their craft.
The course boasts simple functionality which is clearly signposted. There are ‘next’ and ‘previous’ arrows on each screen and embedded videos are in a letterbox format which means you don’t have to open another tab to watch them.
Although in places there are some subject specific terms, these are clearly defined and the jargon doesn’t make the course content inaccessible.
In fact, the additional knowledge makes accessing course materials more straightforward.
What is striking about the course is that you aren’t just simply learning how to sign. You also learn about the intricacies of communicating using non-verbal methods, the science of dexterity and, most importantly, the ins and outs of another language.
You want to train staff on the basics of how to communicate using sign or are interested in developing your own knowledge and understanding of how to communicate with those with hearing difficulties.
Introducing works on a ‘Pay what you can’ scale (minimum £3; normal cost £25). Find out more at british-sign.co.uk.
Reviewed by Adam Riches