Dr Emma Medland joined the Surrey Institute of Education in September 2013 as a Lecturer in Higher Education. She is Programme Director for the MA in Higher Education and has previously had responsibility for the institution-wide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) provision offered by the Department, and module convenor on both the Graduate Certificate in Teaching and Learning and the MA in Higher Education. Emma is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), a mentor on the Surrey Excellence in Teaching Framework, and was awarded the Newer Researcher Prize from the Society of Research into Higher Education (SRHE) in 2015.
Previously, Emma was a lecturer with the King’s Learning Institute (KLI), King’s College London from 2007, where she was the Programme Director of the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) and Deputy Programme Director of the Graduate Certificate in Academic Practice (GCAP). Amongst other responsibilities, Emma was the KLI representative on the College Assessment Board, Chair of the Undergraduate Board of Examiners, and contributed to a report focusing on Assessment in curriculum change for a joint Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) funded research project.
Emma holds a first degree in Education Studies and Psychology and a Masters in Research Methods in Psychology, which has shaped her research and view of the relationship between learning and teaching. Jarvis’ (2007) belief that a theory of learning is incomplete unless it includes a consideration of the experiences of the person is reflected in her doctoral research, which considered the relationship between emotion and learning in Higher Education and the influence of this relationship on receptivity to feedback and vulnerability to dropping out. Her PhD research informed Emma’s interest in assessment and feedback in Higher Education, which has increasingly defined her role. For example, she has led on a number of institution-wide initiatives aimed at developing assessment and feedback practices at both Surrey and KCL.
Emma’s research focuses on feedback talk, assessment literacy, and co-construction of meaning through the feedback process, as well as the subjectivities inherent in the assessment process. Her work has been funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the SRHE, the Higher Education Academy (HEA), and the Staff and Educational Development Association. Her work has also informed both HEFCE and HEA-led national initiatives, including the national review and implementation of external examiner training being implemented across the UK and informing national-level HEA's (now Advance HE) training workshops as well as the HEA’s Transforming Assessment in Higher Education Summit Report.
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- Programme Director, MA in HE
- Co-Director, Surrey Assessment and Learning Lab
- Module Leader, Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching
- Module Leader, MA in HE
- Academic Lead, DHE Continuing Professional Development Workshops
Affiliations and memberships
In the media
Emma's background is in Education Studies (and Psychology), specialising in assessment and feedback and pedagogic practice in higher education. Her research focuses on assessment and feedback in higher education and has most recently been investigating feedback talk, assessment literacy, the hidden recipience of feedback, and supporting student engagement in feedback.
2020-2021, Funded by VICI Academic Returners Award (Principal Investigator)
Project Title: University students' experiences of assessment adjustment
Collaborators: Dr Joanna Tai (Deakin University, Australia); Dr Juuso Nieminen (University of Helsinki, Finland); Dr Rebekha Soler Costa (University of Zaragoza, Spain).
Project Overview: Higher education providers in the United Kingdom are legally obliged to provide all of their students with equivalent opportunities to achieve academic success. The ways in which students in Higher Education are often assessed, such as essays and examinations, are problematic for various students. While some students identify the need for, and request special consideration, there are likely to be an additional cohort of students who have unidentified diverse needs, and/or students who do not wish to disclose their condition to the university, who would also benefit from assessment designs that take into account diverse needs. This research project aims to understand students’ experiences of assessment adjustments in four different countries: Australia, Finland, Spain and the United Kingdom. To date, students’ own voices have been largely missing in research concerning assessment adjustments. Therefore, this research is significant as there is a lack of evidence on how reasonable adjustments within assessments (e.g. provision of extra time, or a separate room) are experienced by students with a range of conditions, including physical disability, learning disability, and mental and medical health conditions. Through survey data collected from those who have experienced assessment adjustments, we aim to develop guidelines and frameworks to help educators better design assessments and feedback for the benefit of all students.
Indicators of esteem
External Examiner: Postgraduate Certificate in Higher and Professional Education; Academic Professional Apprenticeship Route; Portfolio Route to HEA Fellowship, Staffordshire University [2020-2024]
External Examiner, University College London, BSc Education Studies (2017 - present)
Founding member, HEA's (now Advance HE) Assessment and Feedback Community of Practice
Review Editor of the Editorial Board of Assessment, Testing and Applied Measurement, a speciality of Frontiers Education
Winner: SEDA Educational Development Initiative of the Year 2018
Member of Society for Research into Higher Education’s (SRHE): Publication Committee [2019-2021]
Finalist: Guardian University Awards 2018 (Teaching Excellence); e-Assessment Awards 2018 (Best Transformational Project) for the FEATS project [March 2018]
Co-convenor, international symposium, Academic Integrity and Contract Cheating’ [24th June 2019]
Co-Director, Surrey Assessment and Learning Lab, 2018-present
Postgraduate research supervision
Principal Supervisor, Fengmei Zhu, Research on ESL Students’ Feedback Literacy in China’s Application-oriented Universities (2021-present).
Principal Supervisor, Junyi Zhou, Research on Performance Assessment of Students learning English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in Chinese Universities (2021-present).
Principal Supervisor, Parvathy Panicker, Behavioural factors influencing adult participation in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) (2020-present).
Co-Supervisor, Wei Zhang, In Search of the Effects of Self-Efficacy Beliefs on Vocational College Students in China: A Longitudinal Study (2020-present).
Co-Supervisor, Raniah Kabooha, The Effects of Humorous Videos and Images on EFL Students` Vocabulary Learning and Motivation (2020-present).
Postgraduate research supervision
2018-2019: Alastair Dick (MA Clinical Education), What are the experiences of London based Orthopaedic surgery trainees in undertaking procedure based assessments (King's College London)
2018-2019 - present: Renju Chidambaran (MA in Clinical Education), Undergraduate medical students perceptions on the role of the personal digital assistant (PDA) in workplace based assessment (King's College London)
Emma teaches on the Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching, the MA in Higher Education, and facilitates a range of bespoke Continuing Professional Development Workshops.
examiners. Paper presented at the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) Annual Conference, 6th-8th December, Newport, Wales.
examiners. International Assessment in Higher Education Conference, 28th-29th June, Manchester.