Case Study: Teaching Tax Law Online

Professor Josh Rosenberg in USF’s online Tax LL.M. program structures his courses to support online learning. He makes small changes every semester and gets feedback from his students, support from his program, and guidance from USF’s Instructional Design team to inform his process.

Instructional Challenge

Legal courses have their own tradition that is fairly fixed, where students read, a professor lectures, and students come to class to put it all together. Online students are sometimes not in live classes, and bear more responsibility to manage their time and their workload. They require more support, and a different structure in order to best support their success.

Instructional Solution

To support online learning, Professor Rosenberg realized his students needed more interaction with the content, more opportunities to practice, and more guidance. Although they may not initially have welcomed the addition of weekly problems, occasional low-stakes quizzes and a midterm, it has greatly improved their competencies. During the years of teaching his courses on partnerships and corporate tax, his students have improved their test scores and reported better engagement in his courses.

Iterative Changes

By making changes and reviewing them after each semester, Professor Rosenberg can assess the success or failure of any iteration of the course and, if needed, revise for the following semester. While he has learned and implemented new technologies in his courses, using Zoom for live lectures and conferences, Camtasia to record his lectures, and Canvas quizzes to create knowledge-checks, he has proceeded with caution and made adjustments based on student feedback and outcomes to improve his course at a speed that both he and his students are comfortable with.