Image of upraised hands

A short introduction for beginners in communicating through this fascinating language

At a glance

  • Live online course
  • 1 hour a week
  • Tuesdays 12:00 - 13:00
  • 10 weeks: October to December
  • Tutor: Angel Louis
  • Fees from £60 to £105
  • Imperial College Attendance Certificate (T&Cs apply)
Booking link

British Sign Language is a unique and fascinating language. According to the 2011 census, it is used by an estimated 150,000 people in the UK, giving it a similar number of known speakers in the country as Arabic and French.

British Sign Language is also a key means of communication for a significant section of the deaf and hearing-impaired communities. In this short introductory course, aimed at hearing people who want to start to learn British Sign Language, we will discover the basics of communicating in British Sign Language, in a practical, enjoyable and engaging way. A selection of topics will be covered in the classes, and we will also learn about the British deaf community, looking at aspects of its diverse cultures and use of the language.

For improved proficiency in the language you will be asked to practice signing outside of the taught sessions.

No previous knowledge of sign language or other language study is necessary.

Course delivery

This is a live-taught online course which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you will need a suitably equipped and internet-enabled device. Please find full details and instructions below under 'Course delivery'.

Attendance certificate

Those who attend at least 80% of the course sessions will receive an attendance certificate from Imperial College London upon completion of the course.

Course Information

Course Programme

Topics will include:

  • Basic linguistic features of BSL
  • Greeting, numbers, times and dates, weather, people and activities
  • Personal introductions
  • Very basic everyday situations, incl. directions, telling the time and date
  • The history and culture of the British Deaf community

 Programme listed is indicative only and may be subject to modification.

Additional Reading

Suggested reading to be announced.

The course is designed as a basic introduction to BSL for complete beginners and is not intended to offer a formal qualification in British Sign Language, although once completed participants in the class might progress to other courses offering more formal accreditation.

Your Tutor

British Sign Language 1 is taught by Ms Angel Louis.

An experienced BSL teacher, Angel also teaches on the undergraduate programme at Imperial College London.

Angel is also a talented artist who has exhibited her works of art widely.

Course Delivery

All our online courses are taught live which means you will be taught alongside other students on the course by a tutor at a specific time. To take part in the course you must be able to attend the online session at the time stated for the course description.

All times stated are British Standard Time.

To take part you will need a computer, or laptop, or tablet computer, connected to the Internet. The device you use will also need to have a camera, microphone and speakers. Most devices now have these built in, but if not you might have to buy them from a computer shop and to connect them to your device.

Zoom

This course will use Zoom as its online delivery method. Zoom is very easy to use and you do not need to set up a Zoom account to use it. Near the date of your first online session you will be sent an email with a web address (or URL) that will allow you to access the course. This is called the Course Link. All you need do is click on the Course Link in the email and you will be asked to enter your name. This is the name that will be seen by your tutor and other students in the class.

Once you have entered your name you might be asked to enter a password to enter the class. The password will be included in the email sent to you. Once you enter the password you will either be taken directly into the class, or asked to wait in a virtual waiting room until the tutor is ready to let you into the class.

We have also produced a Handy Guide to Zoom [pdf] which gives you basic information on how to use it.

All courses lasting two hours have a 10 minute break in the middle.  For one hour courses there is no break.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 20  10  £205    (Early Bird Rate: £185*)
£120    (Early Bird Rate: £110*) £160    (Early Bird Rate: £145*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October


Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • South London Botanical Institute Members
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language Coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the  before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer termSummer School
 20  10 12 Oct - 18 Dec 2020 (10 weeks)* n/a n/a n/a
* This is a 1-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 15 August

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. Please click on the blue booking link on the relevant course page noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on the course page and your applicable rate category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details after your course choice and applicant details are collected via an in-built questionnnaire
  • The following email notifications are sent:
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working daysPlease treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

  • Questions regarding the content and teaching of your course should be sent to the course tutor, Ms Angel Louis at louis467@hotmail.com
  • Questions about your enrolment and payment should be sent to the Programme Administrator, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk