Distance Learning Mentor (for foreign languages)

Location: Arlington, VA
Date Posted: 07-26-2017
About the Employer:  The Washington Language Center is a Small, Veteran Owned Business that provides US Government, military, and multi-national corporations with high quality language and cultural training, testing, translation and interpreting services. WLC operates over 80 global and minority languages. WLC delivers tailored and cost-effective language training to client needs through agile practices. Training services are adaptable to one-on-one, small to large group learning, as well as virtual distance learning. WLC instructors and cultural presenters are native speakers who are highly trained in communicative teaching methods, multi-lingual, and multi-culturally competent. We match client training needs with our instructors’ expertise so that complex subject matter can be covered with confidence.

Applications submitted for this position are placed in a ready pool of qualified applicants or the Department of State Foreign Service Institute (FSI).  Your application will be reviewed when there is a requirement for your specialty and qualifications at FSI

Job Summary:  The Distance Learning Mentor will work remotely the majority of the time but will be required to attend mentor meetings at the School of Language Studies (SLS) at the US Department of State’s (DOS) Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in Arlington, VA.  FSI provides foreign language training, testing and other language support services to DOS employees and other government agencies in over 70 foreign languages.  Enrollments in the school surpass 2000 students annually including up to 1000 distance learning enrollments. 

SLS consists of approximately 450 technical and professional personnel with expertise in the field of foreign language teaching, culture, and applied linguistics. Successful candidates for the posted position may join existing teaching, testing, or program management staff composed of government employees and contractors.
DLL mentors are required to attend orientation hosted by DLL admin staff before each semester start (we have fall, spring, and summer semesters).  For those in the D.C. metro area, orientation is held onsite at FSI and is one full 8 hour day.  For those outside the D.C. metro area, training is held virtually via Adobe Connect and is usually 3-4 hours in length.   Throughout each semester, mentors are also required to attend biweekly mentor meetings (these are held on staff development Wednesdays).   For those in the D.C. metro area, these meetings are held 11am-12pm onsite at FSI.  For those outside the D.C. metro area, the meetings are held virtually via Adobe Connect at 2-3pm.   Mentors who are working on development projects may also be required to attend additional meetings either onsite or virtually at various times as determined by DLL admin staff. 
Otherwise, DLL contract mentors telework offsite, usually from home, on a full-time basis.   If they need temporary workspace at FSI (on days when meetings are held, for example, or if their home is undergoing some kind of construction that impedes their ability to conduct virtual sessions with students) then DLL admin staff can reserve a workspace for them either in F2630 on the main campus or in W617 at the Rosslyn campus.  Workspace is limited, so stations are reserved on a first-come-first serve basis.   
DLL mentors have flexible work hours to accommodate students in various time zones (as 80% or more of our student audience is overseas).  It is common for mentors to conduct sessions with students outside of FSI’s normal business hours, including early mornings, evenings, and weekends. 
Mentors track their hours worked and submit their timesheets for approval by their GTM through the Mentor Activity Log found on the FSI LearnCenter website.  
DLL mentors are each provided with a RSA token and use GO to access OpenNet while teleworking.  DLL mentors to not have or require access to FSINet or the FAN.  They only use and require OpenNet access.  Mentors use the FSI LearnCenter website, Adobe Connect, SharePoint, email, and telephone to communicate with DLL admin staff and students.  In addition, some mentors may use video conferencing applications like Skype, Google Hangouts, and Facetime as backups when Adobe Connect is not an option. 
General Mentor Duties
  • Attend pre-semester orientations, mentor meetings, and staff development sessions as required by the program.
  • Obtain necessary computer system access, including to the FSI LearnCenter and Distance Learning SharePoint sites.
  • Use established training materials or, as directed, create supplementary lesson content.
  • Send communications to students about the course at the beginning of the semester, end of the semester, and as needed during the semester.
  • Conduct weekly mentoring one-on-one sessions with each assigned distance learning student wither via video conference or telephone. Some courses may also require small group mentoring sessions. During these sessions, mentors assess student progress, answer student questions, comment on homework assignments, and provide speaking practice in the target language.
  • Provide students with verbal and written feedback on their progress on a weekly basis.
  • Track information on student training goals, attendance, completion of course objectives, completion of homework assignments, and feedback in the FSI LearnCenter website.
  • Monitor online discussion boards and maintain eHomeroom pages with relevant information.
  • Notify Distance Learning staff of student attendance issues, such as no-shows and students requesting withdrawal from the program.
  • Report any technical problems with systems used in Distance Learning courses, including the FSI LearnCenter, to Distance Learning staff.
  • Provide supplementary materials to students as needed or requested. These materials should be based on sound teaching methods and the needs of distance learning students.
  • Develop language training materials or SLS-relevant reference materials, including but not limited to text, audio, video, and technology-based media. 
Additional Preferred Qualifications:
  • BS/BA or MS/MA, or foreign equivalent degree in relevant language education field preferred.
  • Experience teaching foreign language(s) to adult learners in an online setting preferred.
  • Experience developing foreign language instructional materials and/or curricula preferred.
  • Experience teaching with the communicative approach preferred.
  • Experience incorporating a variety of educational technology in teaching preferred.
  • Experience teaching blending learning activities valued.
  • Experience integrating social media applications for educational purposes valued.
  • Experience teaching with task-based learning materials valued.
  • Experience administering proficiency-based assessments valued.
  • Experience teaching with vocabulary-based language learning materials valued.
  • Experience delivering training targeted to needs of diplomatic community valued.
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