Meet Dr. Wes Leggett - Outstanding Master in Education ProfessorBy Dr. Regina Waters on June 29, 2018
Dr. Wes “Doc” Leggett
Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) Art Education, Missouri State University, 1986
Master in Education (M.Ed.) Elementary & Secondary Gifted Education, Drury University, 1991
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Educational Technology, University of Northern Colorado, 1998
Title and description of current occupation(s):
I’m an Applications Support Analyst for the Poudre School District headquartered in Fort Collins, Colorado. I train and support teachers, staff, and administrators in a variety of software applications. I also do data queries, reports, and analysis for the district.
Year started at Drury University: 1991
Residence: Windsor, Colorado
Do you have any notable professional accomplishments you would like to share?
1995 Teacher of the Year Finalist, Springfield Public Schools
1998 Outstanding Student Research Paper Award, University of Northern Colorado
2003 Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award Nomination, Metropolitan State University of Denver
How did you end up teaching at Drury University?
After graduating from Drury with my Master’s in August of 1991, I was immediately asked to develop and begin teaching on-campus evening and weekend undergraduate and graduate technology courses. I taught classes every semester until the summer of 1996, when we moved to Colorado, so I could pursue my Ph.D. in Ed Tech.
When the initiative for expanding the online program took off in 2008, I was asked to begin developing online graduate courses, and began teaching again in the spring of 2009. To date, I have developed and taught ten online graduate courses.
What do you like about working at Drury University?
I don’t like working for Drury, I LOVE working for Drury! Unlike some other online institutions I’ve taught for, Drury gives me total freedom and control with the syllabus, materials, assignments, and grading rubrics I develop for every one of my courses. I’m a huge believer in student-centered instruction utilizing the primary approaches of project-based and inquiry-based learning. My teaching style also incorporates authentic assessment with peer interaction and collaboration.
Another thing I love about Drury is the family atmosphere and the shared goal of student success. I’ve seen lots of leadership and staff changes over the years, but the core mission remains steadfast. I enjoy the rare times I get to visit campus, when I get to see and talk with my colleagues and friends in person!
Students have said the following after taking your courses:
“I found the course to be engaging and the design and delivery were clever. Not only did the course provide me with new skills but it was also a shining example of how to construct engaging and meaningful work for your students.”
“Dr. Leggett makes a point to understand and professionally help students in any way he can. I believe his main concern is to see his students succeed and reach their goals. And he is exceptional at motivating his students."
You have received many positive reviews from students for your course instruction, what do you think is the key to your success in teaching online?
The key for me is that I am completely in my element doing what I am passionate about. I strive to build connections and relationships with each of my students, starting with my first week’s engaging ice breaker and autobiographical, photo introductions. I challenge my students to get outside their comfort zone and to tackle new and different ideas, approaches, and methods. I’m very conscious of the specific individual encouragement, guidance, and support I provide to each student.
The trick is, ALL of these important ingredients must occur in a learning environment where I never interact with my students face-to-face; I never see them; I never hear them; I’m never with them. One of the nicest recurring compliments I routinely get from my students is that they feel they know me and their fellow classmates just as well as an instructor and classmates in a seated class. They appreciate my interest, involvement, and investment in them.
Is there anything you think that teachers need to know before they teach an online course?
Not every teacher is cut out to be an online instructor. It takes tremendous effort and a huge time commitment. Effort encompasses the ability and capacity to effectively communicate via the written word, utilizing clarity, consistency, and repetition. Time encompasses prompt turnaround in responses and grading, including detailed and elaborative feedback. Materials should include completed assignment examples that students can use for guidance. Infusing your personality into your online materials, posts, and messages is crucial in students connecting with your “human” side. I personally enjoy wit and humor, so I try to convey that appropriately through my writing and emoticons. If someone has never taught online and is interested in what it entails, they can take my SCI 625 Online Pedagogy course to get a real-world experience of being an ACTUAL online course developer and instructor.
What is your motto as a professor?
This is an interesting question. I’ve never thought about having a professor’s motto. Hmm. I do have a couple of novelty t-shirts that I wear when I do district trainings for new employees. One states: “HERE I AM Now what are your other two wishes?” The other: “If I’m talking, you should be taking notes.” Those convey my quirky humor and I think that’s probably NOT what is expected here. I do like Drury’s Teacher Education Motto: “Dedicated Teachers Make The Difference.” That’s perfect!