Freelance opportunity: providing lectures for the Listening Comprehension section of the TOEFL iBT® test

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Freelance opportunity: providing lectures for the Listening Comprehension section of the TOEFL iBT® test

Paull, Emily B

* Freelance Opportunity *

The Outside Guest Lecturer (OGL) Program at Educational Testing Service (ETS) is seeking academics to produce audio recordings of themselves giving short academic lectures on topics appropriate for first-year university students. Candidates can be professors or advanced postgraduate students with teaching experience, but must have U.S. work authorization.

 

* Payment *

ETS pays $1000 USD for every accepted lecture. Payment will be disbursed in check form or by direct deposit.

 

* Background *

The lectures produced for the OGL Program will serve as a basis for scripts prepared for the Listening Comprehension section of the TOEFL iBT® test. The purpose of the TOEFL® test is to provide a measure of the academic English language ability of non-native English speakers who wish to study at an English-medium university. Accordingly, the language in the TOEFL test needs to be representative of that which is encountered in academic settings. In the Listening Comprehension section of TOEFL test, for example, we ask test takers to listen to excerpts of academic lectures and then answer questions about those lectures. To help us create authentic materials, we have professors record themselves talking on subjects in their fields of expertise then we use the transcripts as a basis for our lecture scripts.

 

* The Tryout Process *

Candidates may send a CV and any relevant teaching syllabi to Emily Paull at [hidden email] by Friday, March 2. If selected to try out, candidates will receive a training packet and will be asked to produce a work sample. The work sample will be a list of 4-6 potential lecture topics. The candidate will write one or two paragraphs (called a “kernel”) per topic, giving the main idea and key points for each potential lecture. In considering lecture topics, please be aware that the final lecture will be 5 to 10 minutes in length; therefore, each project might more accurately be thought of not as a full lecture, but as a self-contained portion excerpted from a larger lecture.


If selected for a second round,
candidates will be asked to submit an outline based on one of their approved kernels, along with source materials. Sources should be marked to indicate what information from them is relevant to the project.

 

If the outline is accepted, candidates will produce a 5- to 10-minute recorded lecture based on the approved outline. Lectures should reflect natural speech patterns and must not be, or sound like, recorded versions of lectures that have been written out in their entirety.

ETS may request revisions to the project at the kernel stage, the outline stage, or the lecture stage. The tryout process generally takes around 4 to 8 weeks.


If ETS accepts the lecture, the lecturer will be offered a contract to continue submitting work regularly. Once the contract is signed, the lecturer will be paid for the accepted tryout lecture. The process for submitting subsequent work is the same as the tryout process. We can accept up to 12 lectures per lecturer per year.

 

* Lecture Topics *

 

Though the OGL Program is looking for material that would be taught to first- or second-year university students, we cannot use material that is common knowledge or that would be the central part of a core lesson in an introductory course. Such material would unfairly advantage test takers who have even a basic level of background knowledge.

 

We are interested in projects that do one or more of the following:

 

* introduce a novel topic and its significance

* cover a common topic in an uncommon way

* cover an extended example

* describe a complex process or procedure

* compare and/or contrast two methods, objects, or situations

 

In addition, projects for our program must avoid:

 

* sensitive topics such as war, serious illness, disaster, human evolution, abortion, religion, etc.

* topics that people in a particular non-U.S. culture would likely have much more familiarity with than people in other cultures (e.g., modern Chinese characters)

 

An example of the type of kernel that would be appropriate for a work sample is as follows:

 

* The Nature of Archaeological Interpretation *

The Neolithic site of Dimini (Greece) was excavated by Christos Tsountas in 1903. Based on the works of Homer, which say that the early Greek palaces were built around a large central throne-room, Tsountas interpreted the large central structure at Dimini as a palace where the rulers of Dimini lived, with their subjects occupying the dwellings around and below this throne room. Dimini was re-excavated by George Chourmouziadis in 1977. His interpretation was that the settlement at Dimini was a cooperative system of households all contributing to the welfare of the community... that is, it was essentially a commune; and at some point, someone with substantial personal wealth built the large structure in the middle of the settlement, thus breaking with communal tradition by instituting the notion of private property. It is no accident that Tsountas’ 1903 interpretation incorporates a monarchical model, while Chourmouziadis’ 1977 interpretation incorporates a socialist/capitalist model: when archaeologists interpret the past, they invariably do so through the lens of the era in which they themselves live. This is something to keep in mind whenever you read or listen to what archaeologists have to say about ancient societies.

 

* Where to Send Tryout Materials *

Candidates may send a CV and any relevant teaching syllabi to Emily Paull at [hidden email] by Friday, March 2. It may take our team up to 4 weeks to respond after we receive your materials.

 

Thank you for your interest in working with ETS!

 



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