Accessing Your Courses

Courses, assignments, and discussion are all available online through the OWL.  This documentation will walk you through the steps you need to prepare for and access your online courses.

Activating your Email/Computer Account

In order to access OWL you will need to have an active computer account with Western.  This will also provide you with access to a email account, which will be your primary mode of communication within the University, as well as allow you access to other resources such as the library system.

All students are assigned an account for the term(s) in which they are registered.  Your login and password can be obtained by visiting the ITS website's activation form.  You will need your student number and Access Code to activate your account.  If you do not know your Access Code, you can get it here.

 Computer Requirements

You should be using a current browser on a PC or Mac based system.  OWL has a mobile interface that will work from most smartphones and tablets but some functionality may not be available on these mobile devices.

If you have questions about using OWL please see the OWL Documentation Site at:

Where Is My Course?

To access OWL, please visit the OWL website.

You will be asked for your Western username and password. Example: If your UWO email address is, your username is jdoe. When entering your username, do not include Your password is the same password you use to access your Western email account.

Remember: Your password is private and you must NEVER give it to anyone. That means your mother, father or best friend will not be given this most important piece of information. When typing in your password remember that it is case sensitive! For more information about computer wellness and security, please see the CyberSmart information Western provides.

After logging in you should see a tab at the top for your course. If you do not see a tab try looking under the More Sites tab.

How Do I Use OWL?

For help using OWL please see the OWL Documentation Site:

Whenever you are using OWL, there will always be a help link in the left-hand menu bar. Additionally, you can click on the Help button (small question mark) near the top right corner of any screen to get information specific to where you are within OWL. For example, if you are using the assignment tool, clicking on the help link will provide information about submitting and publishing assignments.

Tips For A Successful Online Term

Use Anti-virus Software - Anti-virus software packages are available from a variety of vendors and they are worth the investment. PC-cillin 2008 (Windows) and SOPHOS (Mac)  are now available to Western students, staff and faculty at the Campus Computer Store for $15.
Spyware Removal Tools - Be aware that Peer-to-Peer (P2P) software may introduce spyware to your computer. If you have spyware installed on your computer, you may have difficulties accessing OWL. Spyware removal tools are available from a variety of vendors. It is recommended that you download and install Lavasoft Ad-Aware or Spybot Search and Destroy.

Update Your Software - Windows users should run the updates from Windows Update to fix critical security issues. Mac users should run the "Software Update" on a regular basis.

Back-Up Once A Week - Consider purchasing a zip drive, CD burner, or USB key to back-up your files once a week. If you back-up regularly, you'll only lose a few days work if your computer crashes.

Email - Remember to check your UWO email on a regular basis for important notices. If you forward your Western email to another email address, be aware that if your alternate inbox is full - you will not receive your UWO email. Western email accounts can be checked easily at

Getting Help

If you encounter difficulties accessing your course or using the tools inside OWL, please contact the ITS Customer Support Centre. For hours and contact information visit the ITS Helpdesk page.