OWL Tool - Email Archive

What is Email Archive? 

The Email Archive tool in OWL allows instructors to create an e-mail address that acts as a mailing list for all members of a particular OWL worksite.

What is the purpose of Email Archive?

Email Archive offers an easy way to contact members of an OWL worksite with email without having to visit that worksite in OWL. It also provides a list of all email messages sent to that mailing list address, which can be a useful reference, especially for new members looking for older messages. 

How to use Email Archive 

Within your OWL worksite, enable the 'Email Archive' tool using the 'Site Info' page and clicking on the 'Edit Tools' link. As you enable the tool, you will be prompted to create an email address for your OWL site. The Email Archive tool is added to the left side of your OWL worksite.

Please note that the email address is for that specific OWL site only. Making the email address specific to your OWL worksite will make it easier to remember the address. You can change options and permission settings by editing the tool.

Tool Evaluation

Evaluated: October 2016

Functionality overall rating: 2 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 2 stars


The Email Archive Tool supports large class sizes, however the volume of archived email may be daunting to sort through

Ease of use rating:2 stars

Ease of Use

The Email Archive Tool has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. Users can view archived email and search on the main page of the tool. Providing content to the tool requires sending an email. Users must be aware of the reply address when responding to email sent to the email archive mailing list.

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

Western technical support/help documentation is readily available. Contact the Helpdesk for support

Hypermediality rating:2 stars


Images are supported by the Email Archive Tool, however they must be downloaded as attachments. They are not included in the body of the message

Accessibility overall rating:2 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 3 stars

AODA Friendly

The Email Archive Tool meets accessibility guidelines (AODA and the W3C WCAG 2.0 standards)

Assistive Technology rating: 2 stars

User-focused participation

The Email Archive Tool has some limited capacity to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities

Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of the Email Archive Tool does not require specialized equipment

Technical overall rating: 3 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
Integration/Embedding within OWL rating: 3 stars

Integration/Embedding within OWL

The Email Archive Tool is a native OWL tool

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize the Email Archive Tool with any standard, up-to-date operating system (i.e. Windows, OSX, etc.)

Web Browser rating:3 stars

Web Browser

Users can effectively utilize the Email Archive Tool with any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Explorer etc.)

Additional Technical Requirements rating:3 stars

Additional Technical Requirements

Users do not need to download additional software or browser extensions

Mobile Design overall rating: 2 starsMobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

The Email Archive Tool is accessible in OWL on all mobile devices through a browser. There is no native app for OWL, however you can access OWL through the WesternU app on both android and iOS devices.

Mobile Functionality rating: 2 stars

Mobile Functionality

Basic features of the main tool are functional on the mobile app however the formatting is not optimized for the mobile experience.

Offline Access rating: 2 stars

Offline Access

The archive is not accessible through OWL while offline, however email messages sent to the archive address can be accessed offline through a mail client

Usage and account set up overall rating: 2 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 3 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

Use of the Email Archive Tool does not require the creation of an external account or additional login beyond a Western ID and access to OWL

Cost of Use rating: 3 stars

Cost of Use

All aspects of the Email Archive Tool can be used free of charge to Western account holders

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 2 stars

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Users will have copies of all messages in their email, which can be accessed through a mail client. These can be saved, archived or exported into different formats though a mail client

Data Privacy and Ownership rating:2 stars

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data. Data is shareable in the same way an email is shareable.

Social Presence overall rating: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 2 stars


The Email Archive Tool has the capacity to support a community of learning through asynchronous but not synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users

User Accountability rating: 3 stars

User Accountability

Users are identified on all correspondence. There is no concern with regard to user accountability.  

Diffusion rating: 3 stars


The Email Archive Tool operates in the background to coordinate email mailing lists. As such it is likely that students are familiar with a course-specific email address and the receipt of mailing list style emails from instructors.

Instructor Presence overall rating: 1 starInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating: 3 stars


The Email Archive Tool has easy-to-use features that would significantly improve an instructor’s ability to communicate via email with an entire class.

Customization rating: 1 star


The Email Archive Tool cannot be customized

Learning Analytics rating: 1 star

Learning Analytics

The Email Archive Tool does not support the collection of learning analytics

Cognitive Presence overall rating:N/ACognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating:N/A

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

As a communication tool, the Email Archive Tool is not intended to engage students in the cognitive task(s) of learning

Higher Order Thinking rating:N/A

Higher Order Thinking

As a communication tool, the Email Archive Tool is not intended to engage students in higher order thinking skills

Feedback on Learning rating: N/A

Feedback on Learning

As a communication tool, the Email Archive Tool is not intended to provide opportunities for formative feedback on learning

View the rubric for an explanation of this evaluation
Leave feedback to comment or request that the tool be re-reviewed

Related Information

Additional Resources

  • Further information regarding the use of the Email Archive tool in OWL can be found in the OWL Documentation site.