The Excelsior College Online Writing Lab (OWL), released earlier this year and already in use on more than 20 college campuses and within numerous high school curriculums, has been quietly making a name for itself within education circles across the country. A nationwide pilot study released in March found use of the lab increased final grades by a half-letter grade.
This week, the OWL was selected for a 2014 Distance Education Award by the National University Technology Network (NUTN), which provides networking and professional development opportunities for innovative leaders in the advancement of teaching and learning. Excelsior will be presented with the award at NUTN Network 2014 in San Antonio, Texas on September 22.
[Listen: Dr. Crystal Sands discusses the development of the Excelsior College OWL]
In making the award announcement, NUTN offered the following reviews of the OWL:
“Excelsior College’s OWL initiative offers an outstanding example of a high-impact innovation that can be widely adopted by other institutions. The incorporation of gaming strategies and the highly interactive design of OWL resources follow best practices in engaging students as active learners.”
“ESL Writing Online workshop is just one part of a comprehensive suite of multimedia writing instruction that is one of the largest free writing resources in the US and is one of a kind for its integration of multimedia and a video game to support writer’s learning and to help meet modern students’ needs for interaction and engagement.”
This is the second consecutive year that NUTN has honored Excelsior. In 2013, the college won a Distance Education Innovation Award for its ESL Writing Online Workshop (ESL-WOW).
Dr. Sands will discuss ways faculty can integrate the OWL into their class curriculum during a webinar on June 2 entitled “Why Teach Writing” featuring Dr. Bill Condon, Washington State University. In addition, on June 11, Dr. Sands will present “The Excelsior College Online Writing Lab“.