Excelsior OWL

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
      • Research
      • Citation & Documentation
      • Rhetorical Styles
      • Arguement & Critical Thinking
      • Online Writing & Presentations
      • Grammar Essentials
      • And much more!
    • Reading Lab Topics Include
      • Annotating
      • Vocabulary Strategies
      • Inferencing
      • Synthesizing
      • 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 Lessonswith 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).

Student Information

Watch this informational video to learn more about the OWL’s resources. You can also see this Quick Reference Guide of well organized links.

Instructor Information

Credit: Excelsior OWL resources have been shared by Excelsior College under CC BY 4.0.