Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2005-2006 (archived)




Type Open Level 2 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2005/06 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • British Sign Language I (LANG1431) or CACDP Level 1 and internal pre-assessment


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module provides students with the opportunity to further develop their use and knowledge of BSL.
  • The module will extend the students' BSL comprehension and production skills, knowledge of sign linguistics and understanding of the UK's Deaf community and its culture.
  • It will provide students with information on a visual language which does not have a conventional written form.


  • The course will cover key linguistic aspects of British Sign Language: sign order, productive and frozen lexicon.
  • tense and aspectual markers.
  • visually modivated signs
  • non-manual features.
  • classifiers.
  • location.
  • role shift.
  • interrogative, affirmative and negative forms.
  • regional variation.
  • The course will provide students with an understanding of the conventions associated with communicating in BSL and issues relating to language use in the Deaf community.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • At the end of the module students will have developed their knowledge of key linguistic aspects of British Sign Language. These will include:
  • role-shift.
  • tense and aspectual markers.
  • non-manual features.
  • classifiers.
  • multi-channel signs.
  • interrogative, affirmative and negative forms.
  • location.
  • sign order.
  • regional variation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • be able to participate in and maintain one-to-one and short group discussions in BSL in which the student is understood by native BSL users and is able to comprehend their use of BSL.
  • be able to understand short, signed narratives in BSL.
  • be able to sign short, prepared presentations in BSL.
  • have increased their knowledge of the Deaf community in the UK.
  • be in a position, should they wish, to apply to take an external, nationally recognised intermediate examination in BSL administered by the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People or the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters.
Key Skills:
  • independent language learning
  • targeted academic reading
  • cross-cultural communication

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • The module uses a communication/functional approach to achieve the above objectives, together with a number of formal lectures.
  • The module will be taught in British Sign Language with occasional interpretation into English as necessary.
  • The students are therefore placed in the position of using and developing their comprehension and production skills at all times during the course.
  • Students will work in pairs and groups (communicating in BSL) and participate in signed debates, and interact with Deaf guest module participants.
  • Videos and television programmes presented in BSL will also be used to develop the students' comprehension skills and they will be required to present signed presentations (some of which will be signed to camera) to develop their production skills.
  • The presentations signed to camera will be used in tutorial sessions to identify students' strengths and weaknesses.
  • Formal lectures will be given on linguistic features of the language and language issues relating to the Deaf community
  • Students will be required to watch specific television programmes produced for the Deaf community and read publications of national Deaf organisations.
  • Topics for comprehension and production exercises will be drawn from these publications.
  • The forms of assessment used (conversations with Deaf native users, comprehension and production assignments) directly relate to the learning outcomes.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 6 Once a month 1 hour 6
Tutorials 3 Per term 0.5 hours 1.5
Language Classes 20 Weekly 3 hours 60
Preparation and Reading 132.5
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Assessments Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Comprehension I 20%
Conversation 20%
Comprehension II 30%
Production 30%

Formative Assessment:

One five minute presentation in BSL to the class each term.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University