Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a powerful online tool that provides support for all student writers; for very low to highly skilled, ESL, and for writers with varying learning styles and/or disabilities. The Google-like search feature makes the software easy to use, but returns more targeted help than searching the internet alone.
Instructors may use Excelsior OWL in several different ways; direct students to the free website, embed content into their Canvas course, or create their own lessons (“Owlets”) and direct students to that content with a custom link.
NOTE: You might consider using Criterion along with Excelsior OWL. Criterion is a different, but complementary learning tool that also supports the development of better writing.
Excelsior OWL Features
Some of the features that make this software so powerful include:
- Two Distinct Areas of Focus-the main landing page is the Online Writing Lab, but don’t miss the Online Reading Lab (accessible from the top tool bar of the website).
- Easy Navigation-uncluttered interface with easy to find content.
- Expand/Collapse Menu-click on any menu folder icon or topic to collapse and expand for more information
- Writing Lab Topics Include
- The Writing Process
- Citation & Documentation
- Rhetorical Styles
- Arguement & Critical Thinking
- Online Writing & Presentations
- Grammar Essentials
- And much more!
- Reading Lab Topics Include
- Vocabulary Strategies
- And much more!
- Intuitive Search–unlike using Google, the search in Excelsior OWL provides a better source of specific writing skills information.For example, if a student searches for “three dots”, the link to the ellipses page is presented.
- Embed or Link to Interactive Lessons–with a free account instructors can create custom lessons with prebuilt content. It’s easy to use the embed code to add content directly to a Canvas course, or post a link that directs students to your custom lessons (AKA “Owlets”).
- Paper Capers–the OWL’s online interactive video game for students (requires sign up).
- Watch this informational video to learn more about the OWL’s resources for instructors.
- Browse the Educator Resources page for ideas on how to integrate with your curriculum.
- Download the Excelsior OWL Quick Reference Guide (organized links to the resources).
- Create an Owlet (customized lesson).
- Embed Interactive Lessons into your Canvas course.