OWLs, Owlets, And ORCs: Modern Solutions For Online Writing And Reading Support

Concurrent Session 7

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

The Excelsior Online Writing Lab (OWL) is an award-winning OER offering interactive, multimedia support for college and developmental writing and reading.

Sponsored By


Dr. Francesco Crocco, OWL Director created and launched the OWL Reading Comprehension area. He received his Ph.D. in English from the Graduate Center, CUNY. His research interests include composition and reading, game-based learning, and utopian studies. The author of several books and articles on these subjects, Dr. Crocco recently published The Role-Playing Society: Essays on the Cultural Influence of RPGs (McFarland, 2016). He is the co-founder of the CUNY Games Festival and has designed game-based instructional technology with funding from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Science Foundation.
Michelle Abeyta has worked with the Excelsior OWL since its creation nine years ago. Michelle was previously the Learning Services Coordinator and Lead Instructional Designer for the Excelsior OWL. She created video assets, interactive activities, and content while managing key areas of the Excelsior OWL project. She is now soaring to new heights as the coordinator for the Excelsior OWL national outreach campaign where she is able to spread the word about the resource.

Extended Abstract

The Excelsior Online Writing Lab is much more than a website. It is a customizable OER that can replace expensive textbooks by allowing you to create your own targeted writing and reading comprehension resources. It contains over 700 pages of text and multimedia instructional content, 220 interactive and embeddable activities, and a Reading Comprehension Lab section. The OWL offers instructional support for college-level writing and reading skills and students can track their progress on OWL activities through an account dashboard. Educators can create custom versions of the OWL, called Owlets, for use in their courses. The OWL team understands that every individual learns differently. The team is devoted to developing and designing content that is not only accessible but engages all learning types with a range of multimedia technology. Presenters will discuss how OWL content, including interactive activities and engaging videos, can be integrated into a curriculum or utilized as an independent, self-paced learning resource for students. Attendees can participate in a hands-on tour of the OWL where they will explore the content and increase their awareness of available OERs in effective writing and reading instruction. Come learn how the OWL is a valuable resource inside and outside the classroom and how it can help transform your approach to writing and reading instruction.