Excel - Microsoft

What is Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program available for Windows and MacOS as a desktop application as well as a mobile and web application. Excel allows for the creation of calculations, graphs and pivot tables. It can be used for presenting complicated information to students, as well as being used in many different types of assignments

What is the purpose of Microsoft Excel

The purpose of Microsoft Excel is to provide users a way to find relationships between peices of data, and to make those relationships clear. It provides many ways of viewing the data in order to tell different stories.

How to use Microsoft Excel

In order to use this tool, identify the row and column values that will best suit your project. Enter the data for those rows and columns and use the available tools, calculations and pivot tables to best suit your project. From a teaching and learning perspective, instructors can gather information relevant to their discipline and display it in a variety of ways. They can also assign projects to students in which the student may use excel to produce reports, correlations or display data.

Where to find Support

This tool is centrally supported


For help, you can contact the WTS Helpdesk


Additional information on Microsoft Excel can be found on the Excel Help Center

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 2 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 2 stars


The tool can scaled to accommodate any size class but lacks flexibility to create smaller sub-groups or communities of practice

Ease of use rating:2 stars

Ease of Use

The tool has a learner interface that may be confusing to some; there is limited opportunity for personalization

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

In-person or email based technical support is readily available and aids users in troubleshooting tasks or solving problems experienced

Hypermediality rating: 2 stars


The tool allows users to communicate through different channels (audio, visual, textual) but is limited in its ability to provide non-sequential, flexible/adaptive engagement with material

Accessibility overall rating: 2 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 2 stars

AODA Friendly

The tool has some limited capacity to be fully accessible for users or for materials to be made AODA-friendly. See information on accessibility in Excel.

User Foused Participation rating: 2 stars

User-focused participation

The 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 tool does not require equipment other than a computer and access to the internet

Technical overall rating: 1 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 1 stars

OWL Integration

The tool can only be offered in OWL through a link or static representations of the tool (i.e. PDF), rather than a functional version of the tool itself

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

Users can effectively utilize the tool using the Windows or MacOS operating systems. There is also a web app and mobile app which allow for access from other systems

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 Tech Requirements rating: 3 stars

Additional Tech Requirements

Users can effectively utilize the tool without any browser extensions or downloaded software

Mobile Design overall rating: 2 star Mobile Design

Rating Rationale
Mobile Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Mobile Operating Systems

There are moble applications available for Android, iOS and Windows phones.

Mobile Functionality rating: 2 stars

Mobile Functionality

Basic features of the main tool are functional on the mobile app but advanced features are limited
Offline Access rating: 3 star

Offline Access

The platform can be used offline, maintaining tools and learning content

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

Western faculty, staff and students can use their institutional login to access Microsoft Excel.

Cost of Use rating:  3 stars

Cost of Use

Although there would normally be a licence fee to access Microsoft Excel, it is available free of charge to Western faculty staff and students as part of our Microsoft 365 licence.

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 3 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

Users can archive, save, or import and export content or activity data in a variety of formats

Data Privacy and Ownership rating: 3 star

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: 2 starsSocial Presence

Rating Rationale
Collaboration rating: 3 stars


The tool has the capacity to support a community of learning through both asynchronous and synchronous opportunities for communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between users

User Accountability rating: 2 stars

User Accountability

Instructors cannot control student anonymity but the tool provides some solution for holding students accountable for their actions. eg: version history

Diffusion rating: 3 star


The 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: 2 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:2 stars


The tool has limited functionality to effectively support an instructor’s ability to be present with students via active management, monitoring, and engagement

Customization rating: 2 stars


Limited aspects of the tool can be customized to suit the classroom context and learning outcomes

Learning Analytics rating: na stars

Learning Analytics

As a spreadsheet tool, Microsoft Excel is not intended to support the collection of learning analytics

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starsCognitive Presence

Rating Rationale
Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s) rating: 3 stars

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

The tool enhances engagement in targeted cognitive task(s) that were once overly complex or inconceivable through other means

Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

The tool may engage students in higher order thinking skills (given significant consideration to design, facilitation, and direction from instructor)

Feedback on Learning rating:2 stars

Feedback on Learning

Opportunities for receiving formative feedback on learning are available, but infrequent or limited (i.e. poor opportunities for tracking performance, monitoring improvement, testing knowledge on a regular basis)

Security and Privacy

This tool has been formally reviewed by Western’s Technology Risk Assessment Committee

Security and Privacy Flags

Information Collection

  • Application collects information that could identify the user specifically (email address, class schedule, etc..)


  • Application's Terms of Conditions or End User License Agreement poses a risk of binding the institution to an agreement thereby requiring legal counsel to review the application. However, this is mitigated as it has undergone legal review during the Technology Risk Assessment process.

Last Updated: September 16, 2020


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