Fall 2018 OWL Newsletter

A Birds-Eye View

Welcome to the first quarterly newsletter for the Excelsior OWL! The fall is traditionally a time for harvesting the crops that have been sown and tended during the year. The OWL team has been busy on several fronts this year, and the fruits of our labors are now coming in. Through a combination of conference presentations, webinars, blogging, social media posts, and one-on-one outreach, the OWL has experienced a tremendous increase in the number of monthly users—up 442% from two years ago! This fall, the OWL team gave presentations at the College Reading and Learning Association Conference, the Online Learning Consortium Conference, and the City University of New York. Another harvest that came in has to do with grants. The OWL team received a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant to collaborate with three SUNY campuses on groundbreaking resources for Writing in the Disciplines. We also received a grant from the Booth Ferris Foundation to expand this work and create a Center for Writing Excellence at Excelsior University. The OWL team is also pleased to announce that the Online Reading Lab, which went live a little more than a year ago, has received an award from the Instructional Technology Council. It’s been a busy year with a plentiful harvest! I encourage you to read the rest of the newsletter to learn more about these achievements and what’s coming up next. Thank you for being an OWL user and supporter!






Dr. Francesco Crocco
Director of the Online Writing Lab

Numbers at-a-Glance

In October 2018, the OWL hit an all-time monthly high of 86,958 users, 111,171 sessions, and 298,505 pageviews. These figures represent nearly a 90% change from October 2017. Over the past two years, the OWL team has carried out an extensive outreach campaign to increase users. Comparing November 2018 to November 2016—just before the outreach work began—total users are up 442%, total sessions are up 384%, and total pageviews are up 250%.

The Online Reading Lab Wins A National Award

In November, the OWL team learned that the Online Reading Lab won the Innovative eLearning Technology of the year award from the Instructional Technology Council. An award ceremony will be held at the ITC annual conference in Las Vegas (Feb. 10-13). A member of the advisory committee who helped design the Reading Lab, Dr. Elizabeth Johnston of SUNY Monroe Community College, will receive the award on behalf of the OWL for her innovative use of the Reading Lab in her classroom. The OWL Director will join her in presenting a complimentary session on the Reading Lab at the conference.

Supporting Faculty with Writing in the Disciplines

The OWL team and the Excelsior Writing Across the Curriculum taskforce have been collaborating with writing experts at three SUNY campuses—Rockland, Monroe, and Clinton—to co-develop a professional development series on Writing in the Disciplines with support from a SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grant. So far, this collaboration has yielded two webinars—one introducing Writing in the Disciplines and one focused on creating effective writing assignments. Two more webinars will follow next spring—one on peer review and revision, and another on rubrics and feedback. All materials—including presentations, handouts, recorded webinars, and a repository of exemplary models and assignments—will be made available in the OWL Educator Resources section.

Compare and Contrast Essay: Beyond Similarities and Differences

By Jason Brown
October 23, 2018

Excelsior Receives a $200,000 Award from Booth Ferris to Create a Center for Writing Excellence

By Francesco Crocco
October 4, 2018

The OWL’s APA Refresher Module Supports Academic Integrity for Health Science Students

By Teri Gergen
September 17, 2018







Mark Oppenneer is the Director of Web Systems at Excelsior College. He holds an MS in Communication & Rhetoric, an MALS focusing on Mythology & Oral Traditions, and a BA in English Education. He is an unabashed open source evangelist.