Category Archives: Featured

QuickBooks 2015 Author Pat Hartley Wins Top 100 ProAdvisor Awards

Image courtesy of nuttakit at
Image courtesy of nuttakit at

Labyrinth Learning would like to announce that our QuickBooks Pro author Pat Hartley has won the Top 100 Pro Advisor Awards for the second year in a row!

Pat is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor and an Advanced Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor. She offers hands-on workshops, one-on-one training specific to the user both in-person and remotely, and cleanup services where she will clean up a QuickBooks data file, then provide the training needed to maintain it going forward. “My business is dedicated and passionate about providing the business owners and accounting professionals with the keys to success using QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online,” Pat says.

The Top 100 ProAdvisor Awards are presented each year. To qualify, nominees must hold a current certification in QuickBooks Desktop and/or QuickBooks Online and have an active practice with one or more clients. Open nominations begin in January, and once candidates are nominated, they complete a very detailed application providing information on their businesses and any other applications that they use or are certified in. Candidates must complete and submit this application within ten days of their nominations. The application is then scored by a committee. Once this is complete, all qualified nominees are announced, and a ballot is sent out for clients, associates, and friends to vote for their ProAdvisor.

As a QuickBooks expert, Pat sees the popularity of online banking and accounting rising in the near future, which would follow the trend of other online versions of apps and services taking off. “Small businesses are becoming more mobile,” she says. “They need to assess Customer and Sales data on the spot. I see less and less of business owners wanting to be tied to a computer at the office. Business owners want the info available on their phones or tablets.”

Pat is the author of our QuickBooks Pro 2015 books, and is currently authoring our upcoming title QuickBooks Online, which will be released next spring.

Everyone at Labyrinth Learning congratulates Pat on her achievement!

QuickBooks Desktop (Windows) or QuickBooks Online? What Is the Difference?

By Pat Hartley, MBA

I am asked almost daily, “What is the difference between QuickBooks for the desktop and QuickBooks Online?” Or “Are they different?” Or “Aren’t they the same?”

To give an answer is to be put in a quandary. You may as well ask, “What is the difference between the Windows operating system and the MAC operating system?” They both do the same thing – operate our computers – just differently!

Intuit’s QuickBooks desktop software has been one of the staples of accounting software for small- to mid-sized businesses since the late 1990s. It has grown, and new-and-improved features and images have been updated annually since then. Businesses and accounting professionals have become comfortable with QuickBooks for the desktop. Still, Intuit has recently increased its emphasis on and resources for QuickBooks Online, a different accounting software product. It does the same thing that QuickBooks for desktop does – our accounting – just differently!

QuickBooks Online is not a copy of the QuickBooks desktop software that has simply been enabled for the web. QuickBooks Online is new and different! Below are some features found in QuickBooks Online that you won’t find in QuickBooks for the desktop.

  • Remote access – You have access to the software anywhere on any device that is web-enabled.
  • Automatic Daily Bank Feeds for bank and credit card accounts.
  • Automatic updates – QuickBooks Online is updated frequently, and you’re always on the most current version.
  • FIFO inventory valuation
  • Location tracking, which is a second level of class tracking.
  • Invoice automation – You can automatically create an invoice from unbilled activity.
  • Delayed charges and billing
  • Allows more than one Accounts Receivable or Accounts Payable on a single journal entry
  • Report automation – You can schedule reports to be sent automatically.
  • Activity Log – Allows you to view login dates and times

These are just some of the features that I use, and there are many more. Each month more features and improvements are made. There is truly a big difference in the general workflow.

QuickBooks for the desktop has some robust features that I miss in QuickBooks Online, like the multitude of reporting options and a more extensive inventory-management feature. However, QuickBooks Online has added features every day, noted on a monthly blog for users.

Below is a comparison, provided by Intuit, of a few key features between the two types of software. It’s a good idea to analyze your business and how it functions to make the best choice. You can even take a test drive of QuickBooks Online. Good luck!

qb online



Pat Hartley is a Top 100 QuickBooks ProAdvisor 2015, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, an Advanced QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, and a member of Intuit’s Trainer/Writer Network. Pat teaches courses on QuickBooks at multiple colleges and runs her own business, She is author of the Labyrinth Learning textbook, QuickBooks Pro 2015, and is currently authoring Labyrinth’s QuickBooks Online title.

Sleeter Certified QuickBooks Consultant

Member National Advisor Network

The Benefits of Web Use for ESL Students

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at
Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at

As internet usage has become so pervasive during the 21st century, it is highly beneficial to incorporate skills in navigating the World Wide Web into ESL courses. In additional to developing technology skills that will be critical to their success of ESL students in school and/or the workplace, the web is an excellent tool for enhancing their language and literacy skills, as well as their professional skills. Following are ways in which incorporating web use into your lessons can aid in developing your students’ language skills and employability skills.

  • There are a number of websites for English language learners that contain lessons and exercises in grammar, vocabulary, reading, and writing. You can provide these to your students for them to use as supplements to their studies outside of class.
  • Clicking hyperlinks help with reading skills by connecting the hyperlinked words, phrases, and images with further information on these elements, reinforcing their meanings.
  • Reading web pages can help with prose literacy and understanding graphs, charts, and tables, especially if you review the vocabulary beforehand and choose websites with images and graphics that make it easier for beginner ESL students to understand.
  • Writing responses to what they’ve read on the web, such as requesting information, sending an e-mail, or filling out a form, requires students to be able to comprehend and interpret the information they’ve read.
  • Computer activities can help facilitate oral communication between students. Studies have shown that learners want to discuss their computer research and what they’ve learned with their peers.
  • Watching videos and listening to audio files online can help with listening comprehension, as these can be easily replayed as many times as needed for students to understand the content.
  • Gathering information for specific topics gives practice in research skills.
  • Group assignments using the web gives students experience with working in teams, delegating responsibilities, and coming to a consensus.
  • All of the aforementioned activities and more help improve skills in problem-solving, analyzation, evaluation, and critical thinking to sort through information found on the web and separate good information from the bad. They also develop and solidify students’ technology skills.

Your students’ experiences with computers may vary, so before they can begin these activities, you may need to teach them the basics of computer and internet usage. Labyrinth Learning is releasing its fourth edition of Welcome to Computers for ESL Students textbook and workbook on Wednesday, August 12. Contact us today to learn more about our full solutions for this title.





Digital Literacy in ESL Education

Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 at
Image courtesy of Ohmega1982 at

As technology in the classroom and digital education become more common, the transition to digital teaching and learning means instructors need to develop the necessary skillset to effectively teach digitally. This is particularly true for ESL instructors teaching computer skills to English language learners. “Electracy” is computer literacy. Using electracy in combination with traditional instruction helps provide a format for students to engage in multimodal and hands-on learning and encourages them to become active learners. A combination of tradition teaching and digital technology can create an optimal learning environment for students.
Among the digital literacy skills students should be taught are: computer vocabulary; keyboarding and word processing; communicating using digital tools; and Web browsing and conducting online research. They will also need to develop their communication skills involving electracy, in addition to ESL skills like linguistic competence. With electracy skills, instructors will be able to help their students learn these skills though digital technology, which will involve them in class discussions and collaborations. Training in technology standards and keeping on top of new technological developments will help instructors provide students with a modern learning environment and support their educational needs.
Electracy development can be viewed in a sense as learning a new language. Just as ESL instructors are trained to each ELL students how to speaks a new language, ESL instructors themselves are learning a new language when they learn new technology skills and strengthen their digital literacy.
Our solutions for ESL computer classes include activities and resources that fulfill all of your students’ learning needs. To learn more about our Welcome to Computers for ESL Students, 4th Edition textbook and workbook, coming out in August, contact Labyrinth Learning today.

Improving Student Participation

Image courtesy of stockimages at
Image courtesy of stockimages at

In the classroom, there are often a few students who readily and willingly raise their hands to answer questions and contribute to class discussions, while other students hold back and listen passively. Some of these students are shy and uncomfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. Others may be reflective learners who prefer to think about the material they have just learned before they volunteer to contribute their thoughts to the class. By contrast, more vocal students may be active learners who participate, in part, because they learn by thinking out loud.

Encouraging all of your students to participate in class engages students with the lessons more, gauges how well they really understand the material, and adds a greater variety of viewpoints to discussions. Here are several strategies for encouraging more class participation.

  • Most instructors state clearly in the syllabus that participation is expected and part of the student’s grade. However, it may be helpful to give specific criteria as to what you are evaluating in the student’s participation, such as the application of concepts to their answers, or evidence of critical thinking in the student’s comments and questions. Or, you could give bonus points for participation. For instance, you could give students one point for each time they ask a question about the material, answer a question, or contribute an idea to a discussion.
  • Arrive to class early and chat informally with the students. Getting to know your students in this manner may make them more comfortable with you, and therefore willing to speak up more in your class.
  • Give short, informal writing assignments that students have to complete before the next class, and come prepared to speak about it. This will allow reflective learners time to think about the discussion topic and formulate their thoughts and ideas. Shy students can prepare what they will say ahead of time to reduce anxiety about having to answer questions on the spot.
  • Pause frequently during lectures for questions and discussion. Students are often so busy taking notes that if you go too long before pausing for discussion, by the time you do pause, they may have forgotten what they were going to say. Also, present open-ended questions at the beginning of the lecture to give students a focus during the lecture around which to formulate their ideas. You may even have students write down their answers before answering aloud to give them time to clarify their ideas.
  • Provide encouraging feedback and follow-up questions. Positive encouragement increases students’ comfort level and will motivate them to participate more if they feel their contributions are valued. Follow-up questions will prompt students to clarify and support their answers, and sometimes reconsider the evidence behind their ideas.
  • Give students a preliminary participation grade and written evaluation halfway through the semester. Students can then see exactly how you are evaluating their participation and where they can improve, such as the frequency of participation, the clarity of their ideas, or courtesy toward their classmates’ contributions to discussions.

Labyrinth Learning’s full solutions provide a variety of resources to facilitate class discussions on the concepts taught in our textbooks. To learn more about our solutions for computer science and accounting courses, please contact us today.


Teaching According to Your Students’ Strengths

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Image courtesy of artur84 at

Every person has aptitudes in different areas, and different ways in which they learn and absorb information best. Psychologist Howard Gardner proposed the theory that there are eight different types of intelligences which everyone possesses a blend of to varying degrees. They are linguistic, spatial, mathematical-logical, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. By incorporating a variety of teaching methods, tools, activities, and assignments into your classes, you can engage the greatest number of students in the material being taught, and ensure that they absorb and retain the lessons and skills they learn.

Here are some methods to teach according to each intelligence. The best part is that many of these methods are useful across multiple intelligences, making it even easier to reach as many students as possible with any one method.

Linguistic intelligence has to do with the ability to use written and verbal language to learn and express oneself.

  • Lecture and hold class discussions
  • Write out notes and lists during lectures or project them to the class on a computer
  • Distribute articles and assign internet research
  • Assign reading and writing assignments

Spatial intelligence involves the ability to think in pictures, images, and physical space.

  • Use PowerPoint presentations with labeled photos and screenshots of the subject at hands
  • Show videos and have students use simulation exercises
  • Create charts and tables to break down information

Kinesthetic intelligence deals with the awareness of the body, touch, and movement.

  • Assign hands-on activities
  • Use repetition of newly learned skills to memorize and improve those skills
  • Use simulation exercises and test questions

Mathematical-logical intelligence has to do with the ability to use reasoning skills and think conceptually and abstractly in order to solve complex problems.

  • Assign comprehensive projects that require students to use a variety of lessons and skills they’ve learned throughout the course
  • Assign critical thinking and analysis assignments

Interpersonal intelligence involves the ability to effectively interact with others.

  • Hold class discussions and debates
  • Assign group (or partnered) activities and projects
  • Assign presentations where students demonstrate or teach a lesson or skill

Intrapersonal intelligence is the awareness and understanding of one’s own thoughts, feelings, ideas, and goals.

  • Have students identify their goals for what they hope to accomplish in your course and their careers, and plan ways to achieve them
  • Connect the material being taught to students’ personal experiences
  • Allow students to choose their own topics for certain assignments and projects

Our full solutions contain many different resources to engage a multitude of strengths. To learn more about our full solutions for computer science or business and accounting courses, contact us at Labyrinth Learning today.





Online Learning vs. Classroom Instruction

With the rise of online learning in recent years, students have more options with which to accomplish their educational goals. They can take a course, or even earn a degree, entirely online, receive

Image courtesy of sixninepixels at
Image courtesy of sixninepixels at

traditional classroom instruction, or utilize a combination of these options, either throughout their curriculum or within a single course. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages depending on factors such as personality, learning style, time commitment, and computer literacy level. Understanding these influences can help you construct your course, whether it is in class or online, to ensure that your students receive the best learning experience.

Some of the benefits of online instruction are:

Increased flexibility – Students can access an online course at any time from any computer with internet connection, whether that be at home, the library, or a café. This makes it easier to fit a course into their schedule when they have responsibilities like work, children, or other commitments, in contrast to a traditional class, which would only be offered at certain times that may not fit the student’s schedule and preclude that student from taking the class.

Can be tailored to different learning styles – Many online courses come with a variety of resources, like videos, simulations, links, and articles, and the student can choose which resources to use according to how they learn best. Online courses also allow students to manage the pace of their learning, as opposed to having to adjust to the pace of their instructor and classmates. They can skim material that they already understand, while devoting more time and concentration to lessons which require more of their efforts to learn.

Encourages participation in class discussion – The relative anonymity that online courses offer can make students who might not speak up in a classroom more comfortable with participating in online discussions, which can contribute more ideas and add to the learning experience of all the students in the course.

The advantages of classroom instruction are:

Immediate interaction with instructors and peers – Classroom instruction offers in-person access to the instructor and classmates. Students can ask questions and contribute to class discussions, as well as receive answers and feedback immediately, rather than waiting for their instructor or classmates to see their posts or e-mails online. Hands-on activities and group projects can further enhance students’ learning experience. And interacting with instructors and peers in person can also better facilitate personal and professional relationships.

Offers a set schedule and structure – For students who may not quite have the self-discipline and time-management skills to complete an online course, traditional classroom instruction can provide that needed structure and motivation to successfully complete the work. Having a set schedule to attend class can help students manage their time more effectively, and having to submit work and take tests in person, which will eventually be graded and handed back in person, adds a certain sense of accountability that students may not feel in an online course, where those same interactions feel more anonymous.

Fewer technology requirements – For students that do not have access to a computer or internet at home, or who don’t have the level of computer literacy necessary to take an online course, a classroom course is beneficial for receiving on-site assistance from their instructor with any technological issues or questions they have.

We offer solutions that will optimize your students’ classroom and online learning experiences and help them attain their educational goals. Contact us at Labyrinth Learning to learn more about our full solutions for business and accounting courses, and also beginning- and intermediate-level computer courses.

Important Misconceptions Students have about Learning

misconceptions that students have about learning

In order to get the most out of their education, students need to be able to learn efficiently and in a way that encourages them to retain the material, rather than simply forget it once the test is over. Understanding some common misconceptions that students have about learning will assist you in designing a curriculum and teaching style that fights these misconceptions and results in well-educated, prepared students.

Misconception #1: Knowledge is just a slew of facts.

A common student misconception about learning is that building knowledge is about learning more facts. In reality, knowledge is being able to tie these facts together, see how they relate, and understand their deeper meanings. Making sure you explain how individual concepts are related to one another will help break through this misconception.

Misconception #2: Natural talent, not hard work, makes someone good at a subject.

Provide your students with feedback throughout the semester, letting them know that their work is paying off and that they’re improving. They’re not just naturally talented; they’ve been putting forth effort to succeed.

Misconception #3: You can learn effectively while multitasking.

This common student misconception about learning is quite detrimental. Student think they learn well while also doing other things. Set policies, such as no texting during class, to encourage them to focus on the singular task of learning. They’ll find they have an easier time absorbing the material.

We invite you to contact us at Labyrinth Learning to learn about our accounting software for college students.

How to Effectively Improve Student Group Work

improving student group work

Having your students work in groups is a great way to promote teamwork and problem solving skills. While educating your students is your priority, promoting teamwork is incredibly important as it is a skill that everyone needs in life in order to succeed. The following are a few tips for improving student group work:

  • Emphasize the reason for group work – Before you begin forming your groups, make sure that your students understand why the task is to be done in groups instead of on an individual basis. Students often think that group work is a way to avoid having to teach the class or make grading easier – dispel this notion immediately!
  • Teach students how to work in groups – Students often don’t know how to work in groups. Provide information on how each member needs to take responsibility and how they should relinquish individual priorities or goals for the favor of group goals.
  • Provide reasonable work and clear goals – Obviously, the task should be bigger than a single individual can complete, but you don’t want students to struggle in completing their assignment either. Make sure the goal is clear as well so that the groups know what they are working toward.
  • Provide class time – It can be difficult for students to schedule meetings outside of class. Provide class time for groups to meet.

These are some tips for improving student group work. For additional effective teaching advice, be sure to contact us at Labyrinth Learning today.

Preparing for the Future of Higher Education

Source: morgueFile
Source: morgueFile

Whenever there is an innovation disrupting the world of higher education, it’s easy to try and ignore it and label it as just that – a brief disruption. However, the future of higher education is based off of innovation, which means that keeping up with new innovations is a smart thing to do. The following innovations could mean big things for the future of higher education:

  • Analytics – Analytics tools will allow you to predict the success of students, improve student support services, measure the achievement of learning outcomes and much more.
  • Competency-based education – Competency-based education is based on the idea of awarding credits for mastery instead of traditional credit hours. This gives students a chance to accelerate their time to degree due to the ability to acquire knowledge and skills outside of the classroom through life experience.
  • Personalized learning – Personalization has become a focal point for marketing and retail, and it makes sense that it could be implemented into education. By providing students with individualized learning pathways, you can tailor activities and readings to the needs and interests of students.
  • Open educational resources – Higher education is expensive as it is when not accounting for the need to purchase textbooks every year. Open educational resources on the web make it easier for students to do research and save money, as well.

These are some of the innovations that could change the higher education for the better. Contact us at Labyrinth Learning for additional teaching resources.