Stay in charge of your email

(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.

Terese Bird

Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School


How to view your quiz scores in Examsoft

After you do a formative quiz in Examplify, you see a ‘review’ which displays your answers, whether you got them correct or incorrect, and the rationale. But what if you want to go back and check this again? You can’t do screenshots of the reviews in Examplify.

You may be given an upload deadline, after which your scores will be released. If your instructor is using this method, how do you view your scores? You log onto the Examsoft portal.

Wait a minute – Examplify, Examsoft, which is it? Examsoft is the overall exam platform, and Examplify is the name of the app. Go figure. Anyway, how to view your exams and scores on Examsoft? This video shows you how.


Use a computer (this does not work on iPads), and I recommend using the Chrome browser. Go to  and log in with your Student Number (9 digits) and your Examplify password.

Click Courses at the top, and look for your year (2017, 2018, etc.) Click on that course, and you will see all the possible exams. Look for the one you want. It should have a squiggly red and blue icon with ‘View Results” next to it. Click on that red and blue icon, and the pdf of your quiz report will download to the computer. You can save that pdf into Notability and/or your Google Drive or wherever.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions or comments on

Terese Bird

Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School

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New Blackboard for the New Year

Over the Christmas break, in late December 2018, the University’s Blackboard was upgraded. There are a few pertinent changes. For those of us using Blackboard on iPads, there is one fairly significant change which I wish to point out to you in this blog post:


The new Blackboard is more sensitive to the size of screen you are using. If you use Blackboard on a computer browser, you will probably not see much difference. But when you use Blackboard on an iPad, you will notice that the left column does not display. Once you are in your Blackboard course, you need to touch the arrow in the upper left to see the left column. And it is fiddly. If you miss and tap too high for the arrow, you end up touching the three small line icon, and in that case you have to touch Home to get back to your list of courses. It just takes a bit of getting used to.

If you encounter anything else new in Blackboard which you need answers on, particularly if you use the Blackboard app, please do email me or put a comment on the blog here.

Terese Bird

Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School


Notability Crashing

Notability Crashing

There have been some reports of the latest version of Notability crashing. I have asked for the app’s technical support to help with this, but so far the updates have not stopped the crashing. But good news: if you turn on Notability’s Safe Mode, it stops the crashing. Go to Settings on your iPad, scroll down to Notability, and turn on Safe Mode so that it shows green, like the picture.fullsizeoutput_169d.jpeg

How to maximise iPad space and safeguard your files

Making sure your iPad data and apps are backed up and safeguarded

1. You need iCloud backup to be happening regularly.  (Further instructions from Apple here: Be aware of the size of your iCloud storage. Go to Settings – tap on your name at the very top – then you will see iCloud near the top at the right and see what is taking up space in your iCloud. If you run low on iCloud space, your iPad will not back up. You need to fix this; here’s what you can do:

a.Click Settings – (your name)- iCloud – Manage Storage, and you will see how much space is being used by each app. what apps are using Get rid of documents, photos, videos, other things to free up space

b.Consider paying 79p per month for more iCloud space.

2. Back up your iPad to your own computer using iTunes for extra security; instructions here:

3. Back up your Notability. My suggestion is to back up to Google Drive because you can definitely take it with you when you graduate, and it is bigger than Dropbox. (NOTE: Backing up to OneDrive will not work.) If you have this Auto-backup working, you can get rid of Notability docs on your iPad and they will still be on the backup storage. This can help you save space on iPad.


4. Upgrade your iPad to the latest iOS you can. In general, upgrading helps your storage and also your security. Go to Settings – Software Update – And install any updates you see there.

Freeing up space on iPad

  1. Go to Settings – General – iPad storage
  2. You may like to implement the Recommendations such as Offload Unused Apps
  3. You will then see all of your apps and how much space they use. Make your judgments.

a.If you must have space now, just delete one or two apps now. You can go back to the iTunes store later and get them back for free.

b.Delete apps you do not want anymore.

c.Some apps are large because they are holding documents – iBooks, photos, etc. You can get rid of some documents to save space, and keep the app.

Terese Bird – Educational Designer – Leicester Medical School

Videos by Leicester Student Hub – especially for Year 2 CHDD

Are you a 2nd year student in year 2018-19? Then you will need to learn certain clinical examinations. You may find the new videos done by the Leicester Student Hub to be very helpful and relevant to your CHDD study. Note these should be treated as supplementary materials. Yet their simplicity and clarity will help you in CHDD and beyond. The Leicester Student Hub videos are a playlist within the Leicester Medical School YouTube channel. This playlist has been linked into the Blackboard site for Year 2 CHDD, and is being linked into every year’s Blackboard under the Themes – Clinical Skills section. The Hand Examination video below has gone a bit viral in recent weeks.

If you have any suggestions for videos you think would help you, either comment below or email and the team will consider it.

Terese Bird, Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School