OWL Tools

OWL Tools are the various means by which instructors can organize, facilitate, and execute online learning activities within Western's version of the Sakai Learning Management System. Please see the Documentation for Available Tools for more information about a specific tool.

In addition to online learning, OWL is intended to function as a collaborative tool for research and group projects, as well. To support this function, OWL includes the ability to change the settings of all the tools based on roles, changing what the system permits different users to do with each tool.


Documentation for Available Tools

The following table is a comprehensive list of the tools that are currently available within Western's version of Sakai. Click the name of a tool to view its corresponding documentation.

AnnouncementsFor posting current, time-critical information.
AssignmentsFor posting, submitting and grading assignment(s) online.
CertificationFor creating certificates on completion of certain criteria.
Drop BoxFor students/Access to upload content to share with the Instructor/Maintainer.
EZProxyFor embedding a Western Libraries journal article, without requiring an off-campus login.
ForumsA tool for asynchronous discussions.
GradebookFor storing, computing, and distributing grades.
LessonsFor organizing and distributing course material in a sequential and interactive way.
MessagesFor displaying messages to/from users of a particular site, Inter-Sakai-E-Mail.
NewsUses RSS feed to bring dynamic news to any site.
PodcastsAllows content from owl to be viewed via RSS feed.
PollsA tool for creating polls.
PostEmA tool for uploading a comma-delimited (CSV) spreadsheet to present feedback to site participants.
ResourcesFor uploading, storing, and organizing documents, files, URLs to other websites, etc.
ScheduleA calendar for posting and viewing deadlines, events, etc.
SCORMA tool for publishing Articulate Storyline Modules
Sign-upFor enabling online registration for meetings and other events.
Site InfoFor showing modifying site information, adding and removing site participants and managing groups.
StatisticsFor viewing and monitoring user activity for your site.
SyllabusFor posting a summary, outline, and/or requirements for a site.
Tests & QuizzesFor creating and taking online tests and quizzes.
Web ContentFor accessing an external website within the site.
WikiFor collaborative editing of pages and content.

Plug-in ToolsDescription
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Experience (UE)For working on an online learning environment and creating virtual classrooms in your web browser.
Blackboard Collaborate CVThe downloadable Desktop Application for working in an online learning environment and creating virtual classrooms.
VoiceThreadA web application within OWL for asynchronous threaded conversations, videos and annotated lectures
Course ReadingsFor requesting and managing course readings such as library reserves, custom course books, journal articles, book chapters, links, documents, etc.

Formatting ToolsDescription
Rich-text Editor (FCKEditor)For composing and editing text in OWL.

Managing Tools

Adding or Removing a Tool

Using the Site Info tool, you can add, edit, or remove the tools on the menubar. To do so, follow the steps below:

  1. In your site, from the menubar on the left navigate to Site Info.
  2. Click Edit Tools from the grey menu across the top.
  3. Check the boxes next to the tools that you wish to add to your menubar; uncheck the box if you are removing a tool.
  4. Click Continue at the bottom of the page.If you're adding the NEWS or WEB CONTENT tools, the Customize Tools screen will provide you a chance to make certain changes.
  5. On the confirmation screen, you will see a list of your site's tools and any changes you've made. If the list is accurate, click Finish.

Hiding, Renaming, and Organizing Tools

In OWL, you have the ability to hide, rename, and reorganize your Tools.

  1. To do so, navigate to Site Info and click on Page Order in the horizontal menu near the top of your worksite.
  2. Click then drag-and-drop any of the menu items (tools) in this list to reorder the left-hand menu for the course.
  3. For each tool, you can also click on the icons on the right to rename, hide/unhide or remove the tool.
    1. Rename sakaitools01-o.png
    2. Hide/Unhide sakaitools02-o.png
    3. Remove sakaitools03-o.png
  4. Click Save.

Hiding a given tool will render the tool available to you, the instructor, but unavailable to students; you will know a tool is successfully hidden if it appears italicized in your sidebar. Try not to gratuitously rename any of the core tools, as it may confuse students who are dealing with multiple courses at once.While we suggest renaming your core tools conservatively, feel free to rename your LESSONS to suit your needs.