De-confuse your email

I have heard students report to me, and I have experienced myself, *confusion* by email. What is confusing about email? You may have noticed that you only see *the most recent* email message from someone, but hiding within that message are earlier messages that person sent you, and you didn’t know they were there until you clicked on the message.  This happens because of message “threading” and it causes confusion.

With iPad Mail, I suggest that you turn off threading. Here’s how: click Settings. SettingsIcon Scroll down and select Mail. At the right, turn off Organise by Thread. It should look like this:


Terese Bird

Leicester Medical School Educational Designer


“Pre-Clinical Medical Years: What I Wish I Knew” – a link to the BMA blog

Looking through some ‘how to study medicine’ online materials, I found one which sounds particularly relevant to Leicester medical students, as it mentions using Notability, which of course is an iPad-using medical student’s go-to app.

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Everyone finds it difficult to assimilate the vast amount of learning material which a medical student must come to understand well and put together in their mind. Therefore, the suggestion in this blog about how to spider-diagram what you learn in a lecture is very helpful, as is the description of the Cornell method of note-taking. This is the link to the blog post. I hope you find it helpful.

With great thanks to the BMA for hosting such useful information.

Terese Bird

Educational Designer, Leicester Medical School

Search your Panopto recordings for a topic, using the Panopto app


Picture yourself studying, and you come to the topic of , say, epilepsy. You know one of your lecturers spoke about it some weeks ago, but you just can’t remember which unit it was in. You also remember a lecture on the topic which happened last year, but again, which module and on what day?

You can search for a topic on Panopto, and all the times that topic occurred in your lecture, either written or spoken, will come up in the search, linked to the recording, with the exact time in the lecture when that topic was mentioned or occurred in a slide. It seems slightly magical that Panopto identifies when a topic was merely spoken about by the lecturer. Now you can use this power in your revision, to search any term you are studying about.

Terese Bird

Leicester Medical School Educational Designer



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