Using Zoom Features for Tax Courses
I am at the end of my California 60-Hour Qualifying Education course this training season. We are taking a short break this week because we finally had an in-person partnership and corporation class. We have about 40 students, and it looks like this year is the return to what used to be “the normal.”
This year I am teaching a hybrid course. I have three students in the classroom and 15 virtual students. I love teaching this way because it sharpens all my senses. I know I must keep track of virtual students’ questions and comments. I understand live students can ask direct questions; the process is a bit longer for virtual students. They hear my lecture; they process the information, type their questions, and submit them in the Q&A box. By the time I read their question or comment, I am probably three or four slides ahead. Sometimes, they do not type complete questions, and I must quickly figure out what they are asking me. That keeps my mind focused on what I am teaching and what I say or comment on. I love it!
Now, think about this for a while and tell me, what other skills have you improved by teaching virtual courses? Let me tell you about my experience. I taught two virtual college courses as meetings in 2020 and 2021. I had four two-and-a-half-hour sessions—Monday to Thursday, from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. My tax class is a hybrid in-person and webinar. We meet twice a week for only two hours. Big difference!
Comparing regular classes with tax classes
For my college classes, I organized them by doing 10 - 15 minutes of lectures and 30 – 45 minutes dedicated to guided exercises and individual and group oral and written practice and ending the topic with a short assessment. In those classes, I kept my audience together for personal training and separated them into small groups or partners for another type of practice. For my tax class, I cannot structure it that way! I figured my student would need much help with the Practice Tax Return activities, so I added extra slides to my chapter presentation and included animations to add the amount to the forms and schedule I had to use. I am teaching a Spanish tax class, so I used the Spanish forms and schedule. Of course, not all the documents are in Spanish, but we have enough of them to address our topic.
Teaching virtual classes has improved my technology skills as well. In the past, I could share my iPad during Zoom meetings or webinars. Zoom also offers the option to use Whiteboard. That feature was expanded last year and is now on the dashboard rather than in the share feature when you are already in the meeting or webinar.
Review the following figures to learn the steps to connect your iPad to the Zoom meeting so that you can project the content of your iPad.
Figure 1 Whiteboard on Zoom's Dashboard
Figure 2 Sharing Whiteboard and iPad in zoom.
I shared with you that I mostly use my iPad to share and present the tax forms to my virtual and live students. Creating a “real-life experience” for students is easier and more efficient. Using my iPad allows me to generate a virtual board. I can write in different font sizes and colors. I can also highlight and write on PDF documents. To do this, I use an application called GoodNotes, which, I am sad to say, is only iPad compatible. Here are the steps to use your iPad.
Note: To connect your iPad to Zoom, your computer and iPad must be in the same service. If you are doing this in your office, add your iPad to your central services so they can connect. If you have your computer plugged into your ground line and you are using the WiFi for your iPad connection, it will not work. Both must use the same service.
Figure 3 click on the green button to share your selected screen.
Figure 4 Select the iPhone/iPad options – In a future article, we will show you how to use the Whiteboard feature.
Figure 5 The system will ask you to add a plugin to connect to your iPad. Click install.
Figure 6 After installing the plugin, you will receive the following instructions.
Figure 7 Find the Screen Mirroring in your iPAd. In mine, you have to slide your finger to from the top right corner down.
Figure 8 Once you see the feature, click on Screen mirroring.
Figure 9 Click on the Zoom meeting notification to connect.
After these steps, you should be able to use the application or any other program that allows you to write, type, or edit the documents you want to use to address your presentation. I recommend you use your iPad first to get used to the features and tools you can use. Find an application that provides the features you need. Test the tools to make sure you can use them. See if you can use the Drawing tool in Word and other programs or applications.
Fernando Cabrera, National Education Coordinator of Latino Tax Pro