Using the OWL Grade Book for Grade Submissions

The following guide on how to submit grades using OWL was designed for those who are unfamiliar with the online learning environment. The step by step instructions will illustrate how to:

Logging Into OWL

To log into OWL simply go to and select THE UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN ONTARIO institution. Before logging in, it is advised that you run the browser check to ensure that your computer is compatible with the OWL system.

To run the browser check, click on CHECK MY BROWSER and then CLICK HERE TO CHECK YOUR BROWSER on the following page. The browser check will run a series of tests on your browser compatibility, cookies, Javascript, pop-up blocker settings and Java. If errors are detected, a red X will appear beside the item. To fix these errors, follow the instructions provided or see our Browser Check in OWL manualette.

Assigning Course Content

Once you have successfully passed the browser check, proceed to the log in stage. Enter your UWO username and password into the log in fields and click OK. You will immediately be directed to your MyOWL page, where you will see a list of all of your courses.


Find the course for which you wish to submit grades. If you have never accessed your course in OWL before, you will be prompted to assign course content to your OWL course area. Four options are provided: set up a blank course, copy content from another OWL course, assign a template, or import content. If have never used OWL before and you are using OWL only to submit grades, select SET UP A BLANK COURSE and click CONTINUE.


You will immediately be directed to a page allowing you to choose which tools will be available in your OWL course. If you are using your OWL course only to submit grades, simply scroll down to the bottom and click SAVE without choosing any tools. You can assign tools later if you decide to add content to your course. See the Customize Content in OWL manualette for more details on adding tools to your course.

Accessing the Grade Book

Before directing you to your course page, you will be provided with a brief outline of some of the tools available in OWL. Check the DO NOT SHOW ME AGAIN box below the summary, otherwise this page will be shown every time you enter your course. Click DONE.

You are now on the main page of your OWL course. At the top left you will notice three tabs: Build, Teach and Student View. Each tab corresponds with a specific user role. Grade submission is a task that is assigned to the Instructor role, so we will be primarily concerned with the tools available under the Teach tab. Click on the TEACH tab to access those tools.

The Instructor Tools are located in the navigation bar on the left-hand side. Click on GRADE BOOK to access the Grade Book.

You might have noticed that after clicking on the left-hand navigation bar, the links disappeared. Don’t worry. The bar has simply collapsed. Click on the GRAY ARROWS beside the icons in order to expand the navigation bar again.

Once inside the Grade Book you will see a list of all of the students in your course. First, you may notice that you do not see all of your students. You can change the paging options by clicking on the small PAGES ICON on the bottom right-hand side. A window will appear prompting you to change your paging options. Set the number of records that you would like to see per page and click SAVE.

Uploading and Entering Grades into the Grade Book

There are a number of ways you can enter grades into your Grade Book. You can: enter them in manually, import them from a spreadsheet, or upload them from MMS.

Entering grades in manually

There are two ways that you can enter and edit grades manually.

  1. You can enter grades in for each individual student by clicking on the UNDERLINED DOUBLE HYPHEN found in the grade column of each student. A new window will open allowing you to enter a new grade into the CHANGE TO field. As the Change To field suggests, this is also method for editing grades that have previously been entered. You can also add comments or view the Audit History to see the number of changes that have been made to a particular grade. Click SAVE when you are finished. The grade will now appear in the appropriate grade column.

  2. You can enter grades in manually for all your students at once by click on the GRAY DROP-DOWN ARROW located beside the column name and selecting EDIT VALUES. You will be directed to a screen showing you grade entry fields for each student in your course. Simply enter in the grades and then click SAVE.

Importing Grades from a Spreadsheet

You can import grades from a spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel, simply by following the steps outlined below:

  1. Open your spreadsheet in your preferred spreadsheet program and save it as a CSV (Comma-Separated Value) file. Note: cell properties or formulas will not be preserved in this file.

  2. In the OWL Grade Book click on IMPORT FROM SPREADSHEET.

  3. Click on CHOOSE and select the spreadsheet file you wish to upload, then select COMMA as the Separator. Click UPLOAD. A new page will open showing a list of the columns in your spreadsheet file, and the matching Grade Book columns. If you do not have a column in the Grade Book that matches your spreadsheet column, you can choose to create a new column by selecting ADD AS NEW COLUMN from the drop-down menu under Grade Book Column. You can also choose not to import a spreadsheet column by selecting DO NOT IMPORT. Otherwise, you can simply match your spreadsheet column to your Grade Book column by choosing the appropriate one from the list.

  4. Once you are finished, click IMPORT. Your Grade Book will now update with the appropriate grades from your spreadsheet.

Uploading Grades from MMS

There are two ways to transfer grades from your MMS file into WebCT-OWL:

1. Direct Transfer (recommended)

Once you have completed entering grades into MMS, go to the TOOLS menu and select WEBCT-OWL > EXPORT MMS GRADE COLUMNS DIRECTLY INTO WEBCT-OWL GRADEBOOK.

Select the columns you wish to transfer by clicking on their corresponding letter. After clicking OK, Java will load and you may be asked to run the application. If you get this message, click on RUN.

When prompted, enter the same information you use to log in to WebCT-OWL and click RETRIEVE LIST OF COURSES.

After selecting the course the grades are for, you can decide whether to immediately release these grades to the students, or to hide them. Choose NOT to release the grades.

Finally, click on POST GRADES TO WEBCT.  When complete, a message will appear in the status box along with any errors or exceptions encountered during the upload.

2. Export Using a Spreadsheet File

Once you have completed entering grades into MMS, go to the TOOLS menu and select WEBCT-OWL > EXPORT MMS GRADE COLUMNS DIRECTLY INTO WEBCT-OWL CSV.

Select the columns you wish to transfer by clicking on their corresponding letter and click OK. Then select a location and enter a name for the file and click SAVE. Hint: it is easiest to save it to the desktop, rather than deep within your documents.

At this point, open WebCT-OWL, enter your Grade Book, and follow the instructions listed above for importing grades from a spreadsheet.

For more detailed information on using MMS with the OWL Grade Book, see the Using MMS with the OWL Grade Book manualette.

Hiding Grades

Final grades are not to be made available to the students until the registrar has verified them. To make sure that your students do not have access to their final grades, click on the GRADE BOOK OPTIONS drop-down menu on the left-hand side of the Grade Book and select COLUMN SETTINGS.

The Column Settings page will appear. Here you can alter a number of the parameters affecting your Grade Book columns. The parameters are shown in rows on the right-hand side. Find the RELEASED TO STUDENT row and follow it across to your final grades column. If the row reads YES then the grade is visible to your students. Click on the YES link to change it to NO. Conversely, if the column reads NO, then your grades are not visible to your students and you do not need to make any further changes.

To learn more about adjusting Grade Book column settings, see the Advanced Use of the OWL Grade Book manualette.

Exporting Grades to the Registrar

Click here to view our guide on how to export grades to the Registrar.