OWL Tool - Assignments 

What is the Assignments Tool?

The Assignments tool in OWL is an evaluation tool for students to submit to their instructor by entering their responses into a WYSIWYG editor or by uploading files. This tool also allows instructors to grade students submissions and provide feedback to the students on their knowledge and progress in the class.

What is the purpose of the Assignments Tool?

Instructors can post tasks for students to complete and submit for evaluation. Instructors can grade students submissions and provide feedback to the students on their knowledge and progress in the class.

How to use the Assignments Tool?

Within your OWL worksite, enable the Assignments tool using the 'Site Info' page and clicking on the 'Edit Tools' link. The Assignments tool is added to the left side of your OWL worksite. Click on the Assignments tool icon to add an assignment, to view students submission, and to grade and provide feedback to the work submitted.

You can set up an OWL assignment to be submitted to Turnitin to check for plagiarism. Check the setting in the assignment's settings page.

Tool Evaluation

Evaluated: October 2016

Functionality overall rating: 2 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 3 stars


The Assignments Tool can be scaled to accommodate any size class with the flexibility to create smaller sub-groups or communities of practice

Ease of use rating:3 stars

Ease of Use

The Assignments Tool has a user-friendly learner interface that is easy to navigate

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

Western technical support/help documentation is readily available. See the Assignments page in OWL Documentation Wiki or contact the Helpdesk

Hypermediality rating: 2 stars


The Assignments Tool allows users to easily communicate through text and images. However, uploading audio or video content can prove difficult due to size restrictions (restrict video uploads to less than 1GB)

Accessibility overall rating: 2 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 3 stars

AODA Friendly

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

Assistive Technology rating: 2 stars

User-focused participation

The Assignments Tool has some limited capacity to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities. This is dependent on the nature and construction of the assignment.

Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of the Assignments 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 Assignments Tool is native to OWL

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize the Assignments 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 tool with any standard, up-to-date web browser (i.e. Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 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: 1 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

The Assignments 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: 3 stars

Mobile Functionality

There is little to no functional difference with the Assignments Tool when accessed on mobile systems

Offline Access rating: 1 star

Offline Access

The Assignments Tool cannot be used in any capacity offline

Usage and account set up overall rating: 3 starsUsage and Account Set Up

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 3 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

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

Cost of Use rating: 3 stars

Cost of Use

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

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 3 stars

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Instructors can download submitted assignments. Students can upload and access a draft or submitted assignment.

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 3 stars

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data; the user can keep data private and decide if/how data is to be shared

Social Presence overall rating: 3 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 3 stars


The Assignments Tool has the capacity to support opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning through group assignments and Peer Review

User Accountability rating: 3 stars

User Accountability

Assignments cannot be submitted anonymously. The Assignments Tool provides technical solutions (i.e. grading features) for holding students accountable for their actions

Diffusion rating: 3 stars


The Assignments Tool is widely known and popular, it’s likely that most students are familiar with the tool and have basic technical competence with it

Instructor Presence overall rating: 3 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:3 stars


The Assignments Tool has easy-to-use features that would significantly improve an instructor’s ability to be present with students via active management, monitoring, and engagement (i.e. assignment set up and grading features)

Customization rating: 3 stars


The Assignments Tool is adaptable to its environment: easily customized to suit the classroom context and targeted learning outcomes

Learning Analytics rating: 3 stars

Learning Analytics

Instructor can monitor students’ performance on a variety of responsive measures including status of submission, submission date, and time

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 2 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

By the way in which the Assignments Tool provides a structure for assignment completion and submission, the tool may contribute to enhanced engagement in the cognitive task(s) of the assignment itself.

Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

By the way in which the Assignments Tool provides a structure for assignment completion and submission, the tool may impact the degree or quality of higher order thinking skills resulting from engagement in the assignment.

Feedback on Learning rating:3 stars

Feedback on Learning

Through instructor use of grading features, students can regularly receive formative feedback on learning (i.e. they can track their performance, monitor their improvement, test their knowledge, etc.)

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