Venture into different training opportunities
I worked as a community college instructor during the pandemic years. I taught two virtual classes for three semesters.
Initially, it was challenging mainly because I was so used to being around students, talking to them, and directly challenging them to do better. But then, the virtual world came around and gave us the opportunity and the challenge to innovate how we educate/train people. We had to evolve quickly to walk at the same virtual speed as others.
This article will touch on the different virtual styles, focusing only on one type seldom used in tax preparation training, a technique we call Instructor Support Class.
- Understand the differences between Instructor Lead Classes and Instructor Support Classes.
- Learn what an Instructor Support Class is and how to implement it efficiently to earn passive income.
Different Virtual Teaching Styles
During these past years, the educational arena identified two teaching styles: synchronous and asynchronous. The first refers to those virtual classes that follow a similar format as regular classes do: the class meets at a particular time during the day for an equal number of days during the week and for the entire semester or less, depending on the requirement for that specific class. The second is a self-study class in which the instructor creates the education components: lectures, videos, exercises, quizzes, exams, homework, etc. The students are responsible for completing and submitting each of the required elements of the class. The instructor will be available to answer questions via email and sometimes have weekly in-person or virtual meetings with students needing extra help.
Challenges or Opportunities
The virtual world brought to the surface situations that were practically in the past. In my younger years, we had correspondence education. Correspondence education is a historical method by which students, mostly adults, receive lessons and exercises through the mail or other means. Upon completion, they would return them for analysis, criticism, exams, and grading. Industries, businesses, the armed forces, and the government extensively used this method. We have a variety of modern examples of correspondence education, such as Independent Studies and Distance Education.
These challenging times have inspired us to create more options. Our courses are designed with the flexibility to innovate teaching styles by allowing instructors to offer instructor-led (in-person, virtual, and hybrid courses), instructor support, and self-study courses. Most of us know what instructor-led and self-study courses are, so let’s explore the instructor-support option.
Instructor Support Course
The Instructor Support Course applies the asynchronous class foundations to tax education. The difference between the previous description of an asynchronous class and our concept is that you do not have to create any teaching material. All our courses are designed and built for self-study purposes. The only missing part is the instructor: you!
Our courses are divided into chapters, and we build individual chapter eBooks. Each chapter is further divided into parts. This format allows us to summarize each part, create a PowerPoint Presentation for each part, and record a video based on the PowerPoint we developed. As part of their learning process, we include a Practice Tax Return (PTR) exercise for chapters 2 to 15, including a final comprehensive PTR for the course and a testing system that allows students to test their tax law theory and practice knowledge.
There are two major course categories: Federal and California courses. These categories are subdivided into Beginning Tax Education and Continuing Education Courses. LTP offers three different course editions: English, Spanish, and Bilingual. If you go to your Instructor Dashboard, on the top right corner, click on the settings icon (the Admin Menu), and to the left, click on Course Management. You will see the entire list of courses you can teach and sell. You will see all the categories and subcategories for all three editions.
California has a tax education requirement. Therefore, those courses have two sections: federal tax law and California tax law. This course has a short review test for federal tax law, a quick review of California tax law, and a PTR review test. California students must take and pass three final exams. A final ethics exam at the end of chapter 1 and two comprehensive final exams for California and federal tax law.
Instructor Support Courses Structure
To organize the delivery of this course should be similar to the in-person or virtual courses:
Plan your class. You can use the sample syllabus in your instructor guide course to plan your course.
Establish a payment option. If you have a website, check with your IT person to see if it already offers a payment option or if you can create it. If you do not have a website, check out our services: https://latinotaxpro.com/products/website-design.
Some websites have the option to sell products. Your classes can be set up as a product to sell, or you can explore our cobranding option, which will allow you to sell all our courses in a single store built for you: https://latinotaxpro.com/pages/cobranded-website
Purchase your seats. Once students pay the amount you set up for your class, you will purchase the seats through the instructor dashboard in your Prendo365 account. Click on Buy Seats!
- Assign students to their courses: Click on your admin menu in the top right corner, then click on Course Management. Locate the course with the Seats you purchased. Click on the three dots on the far-right side and select the Enroll Users option. You can select the students, click Next in the bottom right corner, then Confirm in the same place.
Establish a time frame for your class. Give students approximately 9 weeks of support. This time frame should be the same for the California 60-hour and Tax Preparation courses. This time frame will allow students to complete two chapters per week and will complete the course in 8 and a half weeks. If students do not complete the course in that time frame, let them know they can continue it until they finish.
Set up an email to communicate with students. It is essential to maintain a communication channel with students. Create a different email for this class. Do not use your regular business email for the course because you will get tons of emails, and your student's questions may get lost in that number of emails.
Weekly Virtual Meeting. As an option, you can schedule a virtual meeting to help those students needing more help in understanding concepts if they require directions on processing their PTIN or, in the case of California students, their CTEC registration.
Following the traditional teaching style is essential because many people still look for and feel more comfortable taking classes in a regular classroom and having constant contact with the instructor. But, as we move into a new area where Artificial Intelligence seems to be the near future modality, it is essential that we also focus some attention on other teaching methods. Although business growth somehow includes the objectives to establish more classroom time, more classes, and more students, we must be able to account for more options to accomplish those objectives. So, if you don't have enough time to hold a traditional class, the best option is Instructor Support Courses.
Fernando Cabrera, MA, CRTP
National Education Coordinator of Latino Tax Pro