eLearning Survey Results 2015

in November of 2015, the eLearning Technology Team released surveys to the western community to learn more about the current attitudes towards the technology used on campus. The reports from those surveys are available here:

After reviewing the new statistics that we gathered, as well as looking over all of the student and faculty comments, we came up with 5 ways to improve our services. Concerns are listed below with our plan for improvement:

OWL Design

One concern from the survey was OWL's design. Changes to OWL's look and feel are coming in May of 2017. We are upgrading to a newer version of our current Learning Management System, which has a more modern user interface. To ensure that this will be a smooth and positive change, members of the ELT team participated in community testing of Sakai 11 over the summer, and will continue to do so over the course of the next few months. An Additional benefit of upgrading our LMS include an enhanced and more intuitive gradebook.

OWL Performance

ITS has recently acquired new hardware which will host OWL databases. This upgrade will allow for better testing and performance of the system.

OWL Knowledge Base

From the survey we found that our community is lacking just-in-time support and online help for OWL. To remedy this, we have started a new project to totally revamp our OWL documentation and contextual help. This project should see results as we implement Sakai 11. 


One of the comments that we received repeatedly was that Students would like to have access to view their TurnItIn reports. We have renewed our efforts to inform instructors about the possible assignment settings that allow students to see their own results. The ELT team strongly believes that the TurnItIn tool should be used as a way to improve academic writing rather than solely being a tool to catch plagiarism.


Several users commented on the Collaborate tool in OWL. There were several comments about slowness of Collaborate CV (Classic View). To help these issues, we are promoting the use of Collaborate UE (Ultra Edition) as the tool of choice for virtual classrooms. Collaborate UE is a fast and modern alternative to Collaborate CV. Also new this year is the VoiceThread tool. This tool provides asynchronous video and audio commenting, annotations, and presentation tools for instructors and students. It is available through OWL in the plug in tools menu.

Published on  and maintained in Cascade CMS.