OWL Tool - Wiki

What is the Wiki tool?

The Wiki tool in OWL provides users with a collaborative environment in which multiple users can add and make changes to content. Users of the Wiki tool can add images, link wiki pages to other documents, and view the change history of the wiki.

What is the purpose of the Wiki tool?

The Wiki tool is used for collaborative creation and editing of pages and content. For example, students can collaboratively write a group report using the Wiki tool in OWL while keeping track of each student's additions and changes to the content.  

How to use the Wiki tool

Members of a project or course site in OWL have the ability to create a wiki that is dedicated to that particular site. Members can also monitor, update, and edit the content of the wiki. The worksite owner can control what permissions the members have, including access, reading, writing, and editing. 

Tool Evaluation

Evaluated: October 2016

Functionality overall rating: 1 starFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 1 star


The Wiki Tool is restrictive to a limited number of users and cannot be scaled. You cannot assign specific students to individualized wiki sites

Ease of use rating: 1 star

Ease of Use

The learner interface is not user-friendly; navigation is clunky, personalization is not an option; it’s not clear why things happen, you have to learn a new language for basic formatting

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 star

Tech Support/Help Availability

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

Hypermediality rating: 1 star


The Wiki Tool is text based. Images can be added but only if they are uploaded to a Resources folder. Students must be given different permissions to upload to a Resources folder.

Accessibility overall rating: 1 starAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 1 star

AODA Friendly

The Wiki Tool has been identified as requiring programmatic updates to improve its accessibility. For guidance on making wiki pages more accessible, check out this Accessibility Guide for Sakai.

Assistive Technology rating: 3 stars

User-focused participation

The Wiki Tool is designed to address the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities, thereby widening opportunities for participation in learning

Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of the Wiki 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 Wiki Tool is native to OWL

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize the Wiki Tool with any standard, up-to-date operating system (i.e.. Windows 10, Apple OSX, etc.)

Web Browser rating: 3 stars

Web Browser

Users can effectively utilize the Wiki 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: 1 starMobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

The Wiki 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

While the features of the Wiki Tool function normally, screen size and flexibility with display (i.e. ability to rotate the screen) is impaired reducing the user-friendliness of the mobile tool

Offline Access rating: 1 star

Offline Access

The Wiki Tool cannot be used in any capacity offline

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

Rating Rationale
Sign Up/Sign In rating: 3 stars

Sign Up/Sign In

Use of the Wiki 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 wiki tool can be used free of charge to Western account holders

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 2 stars

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

There are limitations to archiving, saving, or importing/exporting content or activity data

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 2 stars

Data Privacy and Ownership

Users maintain ownership and copyright of their intellectual property/data; data is shared publicly and cannot be made private

Social Presence overall rating: 1 starSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 2 stars


The Wiki 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

Instructors can control student anonymity; The Wiki Tool provides technical solutions for holding students accountable for their actions

Diffusion rating: 1 star


The Wiki Tool is generally not well known; it is likely that students are not familiar with the tool and lack basic technical competence with its functions

Instructor Presence overall rating: 1 starInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating: 3 star


The Wiki 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.. multiple options for receiving update notifications)

Customization rating: 2 stars


The Wiki Tool is adaptable to its environment: easily customized to suit the classroom context. However, wikis from previous course sites cannot be imported and will need to be reconstructed from one course page to the next.

Learning Analytics rating: 1 star

Learning Analytics

It is difficult to track who has contributed what, making it challenging to assess students on individual contributions

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starCognitive Presence

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

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

The Wiki Tool enables functional improvement to engagement in the targeted cognitive task(s)

Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

Given that students must contribute their own content, the Wiki Tool may engage them in higher order thinking skills (significant consideration to design, facilitation, and direction from instructor would be required)

Feedback on Learning rating: 2 stars

Feedback on Learning

Opportunities for receiving formative feedback on learning possible indirectly through collaborative contributions from peers and instructors. The tool itself does not provide a feature for providing feedback directly to student authors.

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