Sometimes my blue sky days are completely out there, sometimes they are noodling on a particular issue. This time I was thinking about how to best do a new class for the fall. It is a course in business tax, which is hard and very much driven by forms.
So what to do to help transfer the knowledge?
I want to try to make at least somewhat of a move to eBooks. Printing costs money, and as more and more tax professionals are computer literate, an eBook seems to be a good way to go.
One of the ways to best teach tax is to have the content, then show how it looks on a form. Then once you see it, then do it. So what I’d like to do is have a liquid layout epub, that can be read on any device, that links out to content that will help them absorb the material. One thing that would help me is “where does this come from” and “where does this flow to.” Have buttons on the numbers to take you to where it came on the return, and even back to the balance sheet/financials.
So for beginning inventory on COGS, you’d be able to click on where did this come from and it would take you to the financials where it shows the beginning inventory. It can have a little bubble pop up with a fact about the number, like “should match end of year inventory unless adjustments are needed” You can also click on a number and see where it flows (if it flows anywhere). So on a separately stated item, such as Section 179 depreciation, you can click on where does this go? and it will take you to the schedule K-1. Click on that, and you go to the line on the individual’s return.
In addition, I’d like to have tools available to the student. they can go out and see the forms, see lists of what might change the M-1 or M-2, or even a choose your entity decision tree. In addition, having images can break up the monotony of the text.
Quizzes can be embedded in the book, so that they can check their understanding as they go. If you get to the end and find out what you’ve missed, it’s harder to go back. If we can catch them early, we can keep them focused on the course.