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"Rediscovering the power of feedback and reflection in driving improvement"

21 May 2021 | Advance HE Emma Wood shares her experiences of the Level 7 Academic Apprenticeship Programme, a scheme for which Advance HE provides the independent End-Point Assessment service.

Emma Wood is a Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Exeter Business School and recently completed the Academic Professional Apprenticeship programme where she achieved distinctions in all three elements of the course. Advance HE is the UK's leading provider of the programme's End-Point Assessment, a three month independent assessment. As the assessors of Emma's submission, we asked her for her thoughts, insights and experiences of the programme.

Did you enjoy the programme? 

It’s been nearly 3 months since I completed the Programme and I can wholeheartedly say ‘Yes’. As someone new to Higher Education – I’ve recently moved from industry – this was a really useful one-stop shop to gain a solid grounding in the sector: from acronyms (which, in case you hadn’t noticed, HE seems particularly fond of) to meeting other academics from across the organisation and exploring foundation theories, APP gave me a timely insight into the weird and wonderful world of higher education. 

In addition, being taught by people who are experts in education was invaluable. I picked up a number of useful tips that I have since implemented into my own practice, such as using creativity exercises and how to build variety in a day-long Zoom session, which as we all now know is no mean feat… 

What impact did it have? 

Having the remit to explore pedagogic issues in detail  has had a very real impact on my work. I chose to focus my assignment on student academic integrity…not everyone’s idea of fun I appreciate but an issue I find fascinating. I’ve since put this knowledge into practice in my role as an Academic Misconduct Officer and have worked with senior colleagues in the  Business School to redesign our processes in this area to implement a kinder, more supportive approach. This is delivering tangible benefits for both staff and students as we work to transform this from a punitive system into a learning opportunity. 

However, probably the biggest personal impact has been rediscovering the value of reflection. Let’s be honest, reflection is not a skill that is particularly valued in most businesses. Rediscovering the power of feedback and reflection in driving improvement is something that I will take forward on my own learning journey. It’s also an approach that I’ve tried to develop in my own students. 

What was the hardest part? 

I know many people are a little nervous about the professional conversation, the idea of being ‘grilled’ by a more experienced education profession can seem an intimidating prospect. In the event, this conversation was relaxed, supportive and really did help me to feel like a valued part of this amazing academic community that I’ve joined. 

In reality, I’d say the hardest part is finding the time to dedicate to your own learning. Initially, I felt as if spending time on my own development was a selfish move, given the vast array of more urgent and pressing tasks. However, looking back, I know that the time I took to work on my own skills has had huge benefits for my students. I’m a better teacher as a result of this programme and whether online or face-to-face, this has got to be a good thing. 

Would you recommend it? 

Absolutely. As we’ve all learnt this year, education is constantly changing and we should never miss the opportunity to update and develop our skills. More than anything, I think that this Programme gave me the desire to want to continually improve, update and expand my understanding of teaching.

It instilled in me a learning mindset and a desire to ensure that I am always working towards being the very best teacher, support and coach that I can be. My students deserve it. 


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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