Dr Laura Sangha

Nominated for Best Feedback Provider

Student engagement

Name Dr Laura Sangha
Email L.S.Sangha@exeter.ac.uk
Position Lecturer in History
College College of Humanities

Engaging students with feedback

Dr Laura Sangha’s work focuses on British History in the 1500-1750 period; particularly the reformation and how religious and spiritual cultures have changed overtime, and the impact of this on society.

Laura was nominated for a Teaching Award for Best Feedback Provider in 2014/15. Laura believes that feedback is essential, through marking essays and in one-to-one sessions, and is about communicating effectively with students to help them improve. “The way that I approach it is to try and balance… providing feedback about content… alongside that, you’re also trying to make it beneficial for the future… That one-to-one time that you get with a student to actually make sure that they understand what it is that you’re trying to tell them, which you don’t always get in the classroom, I think is very important.”

Innovative assessment and digital platforms for research

Within History assessment, lecturers use a variety of methods, from Wikis (a collaborative form of group work via a web-based application) to sourcework (assessment focused on analysing sources). Multiple methods of assessment can help students to become better engaged with their studies, as “it allows different people to play to different strengths.” For example, in one module, students produce a 20 minute presentation. One presentation is particularly memorable for Laura as the student played to her strengths of creativity. Not only did the student deliver high quality content about 17th century political ballads, but she also immersed the audience into the historical context of the topic by “evoking the sights and smells of the coffee house, which would be the type of place where you would be reading a political ballad”.

Laura is involved in a growing collaborative project, the Many-Headed Monster Blog, which involves four historians from different institutions writing about social and cultural history of the early modern period. As well as a useful teaching resource, “the idea of the blog is that it’s partly a space where we can put up research and put up ideas, which we wouldn’t necessarily want to work up into an article or a book, but which we find interesting, and which we want to engage other people with… We try to pitch it at a level that the interested reader could engage with”, so non-academics can also engage in this research. “There isn’t really any point in me doing my job… if that isn’t interesting or useful for somebody beyond me… The reason we want to extend out beyond the academy is because… if you can have a better understanding of stuff that’s happened in the past, that might be useful to us now.”

Aim 1: Talented, Active, Engaged Students

To increase levels of student engagement with their academic studies

The importance of feedback in assessment

"It’s partly about measuring progress, it’s also about looking forward and thinking about how to continue to progress."

'Old' and 'new' technology in education

"You provide variety so that people can find the thing that works better for them… It’s important to play to strengths."