The Excelsior OWL has become a trusted resource for not just college students, but learners of all ages - anyone who wants to improve their writing skills.
Albany, New York (PRWEB) November 20, 2015
Excelsior College is one of seventeen colleges and universities nationwide being honored by University Business magazine in its Winter 2015 Models of Excellence recognition program. Sponsored by Higher One, the Models of Excellence program recognizes innovative approaches to encouraging and nurturing student success on campus. Excelsior is being recognized for its highly interactive, multimedia rich, open-access Online Writing Lab (OWL).
“Excelsior College created a homegrown online writing lab that's achieving results,” says University Business senior editor Tim Goral. “Saving students money on textbooks is another impressive outcome of this initiative.”
Through an internal assessment of student writing in 2012, Excelsior College discovered that, like many college students, their own students were struggling with college-level writing. With funding from The Kresge Foundation, the team at Excelsior developed an online writing lab, built using responsive design in an open source environment, and made it available to students anywhere, 24/7, at no cost. Accessible via desktop, tablet, or phone, the OWL builds writing skills in eight areas: locating information and writing with sources, writing process, argument and critical thinking, grammar essentials, the essay zone, digital writing, avoiding plagiarism and the ESL online workshop. The website also includes a video game – Paper Capers – that helps students learn important writing vocabulary in a more interactive environment.
The OWL brings writing instruction to life, explains Crystal Sands, PhD, founding director of the Multimedia Online Writing Lab, while reassuring and encouraging students.
“The Excelsior OWL has become a trusted resource for not just college students, but learners of all ages - anyone who wants to improve their writing skills,” says Dr. Sands. “And the OWL isn’t a finished project. We are constantly looking to introduce new topics to explore, new engaging multimedia, and new ways of learning.” The current expansion, a Reading Comprehension area, is being funded by U.S. Department of Education’s First in the World Program.
While built for Excelsior, 70 institutions worldwide are now using OWL as part of their curriculum, and more than 10,000 users log in monthly for support from more than 150 countries, says Dr. Sands. Part of the site’s success may be in the results students achieve. An independent study of the impact of the OWL on students in five states found that students who used the OWL scored an average of 6.6 points higher on their final grades t han students who didn’t. A secondary study, conducted in coordination with three community colleges in New York State will be released next month. However, preliminary results indicate the OWL boosted participant writing skills as well as their understanding of the writing process by a significant margin in comparison to the control group.
And at Excelsior, the OWL has replaced costly English 101 textbooks, a significant savings for students.
About Excelsior College
Excelsior College http://www.excelsior.edu is a regionally accredited, nonprofit distance learning institution that focuses on removing obstacles to the educational goals of adult learners. Founded in 1971 and located in Albany, NY, Excelsior is a proven leader in the assessment and validation of student knowledge. It offers more efficient and affordable access to degree completion through multiple avenues: its own online courses and college-level proficiency examinations, and the acceptance in transfer of credit from other colleges and universities as well as recognized corporate and military training programs. Excelsior College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
About University Business
University Business is the leading publication for senior managers at colleges and universities throughout the United States, reaching 75,000 leaders who manage enrollment, technology, business, finance, facilities and academic affairs. More information is available at http://www.universitybusiness.com.