PostEm Tool - OWL

What is the PostEm Tool

The OWL PostEm Tool is a tool which uses comma-delimited spreadsheets (CSVs) to deliver comments to students.

What is the purpose of the PostEm Tool

PostEm can be used to quickly deliver feedback to multiple students by uploading a single file, rather than going through the process of selecting individual students and adding feedback in other tools such as Assignments or Gradebook.

How to use the PostEm Tool

Create a CSV file for your feedback. The first row must contain headers for each column, and the first column should contain the userIDs of your students. Type in your feedback in the column next to each user ID, making sure to give the 2nd column a header as well.

In your OWL site, enable the PostEm tool by clicking 'Site Info' and then 'Edit Tools'. In the PostEm tool, click 'Add,' give your file a title, check off whether you want to release the feedback to students, and upload your csv. Please note that students will only be able to view their own feedback. You may update your feedback at any time by clicking 'Update' and uploading a new file.

Where to find Support

This tool is centrally supported


For help, you can contact the WTS Helpdesk


Additional information on OWL PostEm can be found on the OWL Help - PostEm page.

Tool Evaluation

Functionality overall rating: 2 starsFunctionality

Rating Rationale
Scale rating: 2 stars


The PostEm Tool can be scaled to accommodate any size class. Feedback can only be given to individual students by their username, it cannot be given to groups of students.

Ease of use rating:3 stars

Ease of Use

The PostEm Tool has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate and personalize for both instructors and students

Tech Support/ Help Availability rating: 3 stars

Tech Support/Help Availability

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

Hypermediality rating: 2 stars


The PostEm Tool allows users to communicate through text-based feedback only.

Accessibility overall rating: 3 starsAccessibility

Rating Rationale
AODA Friendly rating: 3 stars

AODA Friendly

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

User Foused Participation rating: 3 stars

User-focused participation

By facilitating individualized feedback, the tool supports the needs of diverse users, their various literacies, and capabilities

Required Equipment rating: 3 stars

Required Equipment

Proper use of the PostEm Tool does not require specialized equipment

Technical overall rating: 3 starsTechnical

Rating Rationale
OWL Integration rating: 3 stars

OWL Integration

The PostEm Tool is native to OWL

Operating Systems rating: 3 stars

Operating Systems

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

Additional Tech Requirements rating: 3 stars

Additional Tech 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 PostEm 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 PostEm Tool when accessed on mobile systems

Offline Access rating: 1 star

Offline Access

The PostEm Tool cannot be used in any capacity offline

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 PostEm 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 PostEm Tool can be used free of charge to Western account holders

Archiving Saving and Exporting Data rating: 2 star

Archiving, Saving, and Exporting Data

For import, the PostEm Tool works specifically with a .csv file, however these files are easily generated by Microsoft Excel and Apple Numbers programs. See OWL Documentation for file setup. Students are unable to export feedback from the tool.

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: na stars


The PostEm tool is not intended to support communication, interactivity, and transfer of meaning between learners

User Accountability rating: 3 stars

User Accountability

The PostEm Tool allows instructors to provide students individualized feedback based on their OWL username. Students can only see the feedback provided to them

Diffusion rating: 2 star


Student familiarity with the PostEm Tool is likely to be mixed. Instructors should refer students or orient them to the tool in OWL.

Instructor Presence overall rating: 1 starsInstructor Presence

Rating Rationale
Facilitation rating:3 stars


The PostEm 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

Customization rating: 3 stars


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

Learning Analytics rating: 1 stars

Learning Analytics

The PostEm tool itself does not provide analytics on student performance

Cognitive Presence overall rating: 2 starsCognitive Presence

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

Enhancement of Cognitive Task(s)

Given the way the PostEm Tool supports feedback to learners, the tool has the potential to improve engagement in targeted cognitive task(s), however this is largely dependent on application and quality of feedback provided

Higher Order Thinking rating: 2 stars

Higher Order Thinking

Given the way the PostEm Tool supports feedback to learners, the tool has the potential to improve engagement in higher order thinking skills, however this is largely dependent on application and quality of feedback provided

Feedback on Learning rating:3 stars

Feedback on Learning

Through the PostEm Tool, students can regularly receive formative feedback on learning (i.e. they can track their performance, monitor their improvement, test their knowledge, etc.)

Security and Privacy

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

Security and Privacy Flags


  • 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: January 21, 2020


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