Deaf, American Sign Language, ASL, COVID, COVID-19, online learning, second language acquisition, Communities of Practice, native language users


Engagement with native language models is essential for second language acquisition. Social distancing mandates made this interaction nearly impossible for students learning American Sign Language (ASL), at a small rural university in western Oregon. COVID-19 brought with it many challenges, not the least of which was a hurried transition from face-to-face to online learning. The author found that some courses degraded in content and instruction when shifting to an online platform. Without access to community events where native language models were present, ASL students had less opportunities for incidental learning, legitimate peripheral participation, and connection within Deaf communities of practice.



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