(This blog post is written particularly with University of Leicester medical students in mind, and assumes they have an iPad and Office365 email. However, the general principles are widely applicable.)
Email is the main method of communication between the University and students. It is also the main method of communication in business, medicine, and commerce. While notification by text or Whatsapp are useful for medical professionals, they still haven’t replaced email. Neither have group-collaboration platforms such as Slack or Teams (even though you may have to use these as well in your professional life).
You receive lots of emails, so how do you stay in charge? Here are a few tips.
1. Skim your inbox to see the really important emails, and do those within 1 or 2 days. These would include emails from your personal tutor, from the administrator of your Phase or block, your head of year, your head of School, and any of your current instructors. Note that some of these emails may come from Blackboard, and so you need to look carefully at them. If an email requires a bit of work and you cannot immediately respond, you might note this down in a to-do list or a calendar appointment, to make sure to take care of that, in plenty of time for when a response is required.
2. Filter your emails to quickly see all the unread ones. The image below is from Mail on an iPad, having touched the icon for Filter by Unread, in the lower left (see arrow).
3. Create folders to keep messages organised, and keep inbox close to zero. This blog post gives simple instructions to create folders. (With thanks to LifeWire)
4. Check your inbox at a similar time every day. You may find that checking your inbox first thing in the morning and then again at 5pm helps you to stay on top of new messages arriving in your inbox.
5. Consider turning on Mail Notifications. You can turn these on using Settings on your iPad or iPhone. Be aware, however, that you increase your distraction factor with notifications.
Some students also find that if they foward, say, their university email to their personal Gmail or other personal account, they stay on top of both accounts more easily.
Note that in this blog post, I write of the Apple Mail app on your iPad. I would recommend this app rather than the Outlook app, just because the iOS works together with Apple Mail more easily.
Everyone has his/her own way of handling email. Keeping in mind that the student agreement states that emails from the university/School to students should be checked frequently to make sure nothing important is missed, it makes sense to have your own strategy to keep up with email.
Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School