Jean Lacoste, senior instructor for accounting and information systems in the Pamplin College of Business, has received the university’s 2016 Diggs Teaching Scholars Award.
Sponsored by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award was established in 1992 and is presented annually to up to three Virginia Tech faculty members to recognize exceptional contributions to the teaching program and learning environment. Diggs Teaching Scholars are invited to lead the Diggs Roundtable, a series of presentations and a discussion of their innovative teaching.
The award is supported by an endowed fund from an estate gift by the late Edward S. and Hattie Wilson Diggs. Edward Diggs was a 1914 graduate of Virginia Tech.
Over the past 14 years, Lacoste has taught large lecture classes ranging from 500 to 1,000 students. She committed herself to making each student feel important, having observed that large classes can make students feel overlooked or neglected as individuals.
Lacoste’s main priority is providing students with a learning method that works for them.
She transformed the accounting and information systems required freshman level course from an introductory mass lecture course to a hands-on business analytics course delivered in a multi-modal format.
The multi-modal course offered custom instruction via text, video and interactive formats, as well as online versions of in-class lectures, hands-on activities that could take place both in and out of the classroom, and progress reports throughout the semester. Only suggested deadlines were provided to give student flexibility to complete the work as they wished.
Students were given the option to choose the method that best fit their learning style. They could test-out of skills they had mastered and learn from custom lessons for skills they had not.
She wants to use the Diggs Teaching Scholar Award to share her results — better grades, higher participation rates, and greater satisfaction — with the rest of the Virginia Tech faculty and develop a multi-modal course that spans disciplines and departments.