Net 303 policy primer


Published on

Net303 Student Assignment exploring the Terms of Use

Published in: Technology
  • Hi! Jennifer,
    Thank you for your reply. This is of course under the assumption Gibbs (2012) statements are true. I have to agree with you on U.S. Copyright law infringements would apply. Including how it would be an expensive exercise in time and money to dispute any breach. I can accept a change in a grading system with plenty of notice and not in the middle of doing a course. To change the grading system whilst still undergoing a course of study is wrong, rude, shows a lack of duty of care towards students (by adding extra pressure and stress), and a blatant breach of an original contract students had previously accepted. What if students did not accept the change in contract of grading systems mid-semester?
    Thanks again Jennifer, I enjoyed discussing Coursera with you, it has been educational. All the best with your assignment. Oh, there is Adam’s policy primer on deviantART you may be interested in for comparison on artwork policies of RedBubble, Coursera and deviantART…

    O’Connor, A. (2013). Net 303 Policy Primer Terms of Service of DeviantART. [Presentation]. Curtin University. Retrieved November 04, 2013, from
    Yates, J. (2013). RedBubble Policy Primer. [Presentation]. Curtin University. Retrieved November 04, 2013, from
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • @kmnet303 Hi Kylie

    Thanks for your response. As you say there seems to be confusion over the use of student assignments. However if the quote from the Coursera instructor quoted by (Gibbs, 2012) is correct (and I presume that it is) then if Coursera used students' assignments without their permission they would be contravening US law. I would like to believe that this includes assignments in any form, eg. an artwork. The Terms of Use state that any disputes need to be dealt with in a Californian Court and within 12 months of the breach (Coursera Inc. 2013). So for an Australian it would require a trip to California and hiring a US Lawyer to argue the law. I believe that the case would probably be won by the student because any 'Terms of Use' are not allowed to contravene the law of the country. However, it would probably not be worth pursuing if a student saw their essay being used by Coursera without permission.

    Another interesting issue that Gibbs (2012) brought up was how Coursera changed the way that students were graded. This is another example of Coursera exercising their right to change the course or content according to the Terms of Use.

    Thanks again for your thought provoking comments!

    Coursera Inc. (2013). Terms of Use. Retrieved from

    Gibbs, L. (November 10, 2012). Coursera TOS: All your essay are belong to us. Coursera Fantasy. [Web log]. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • Hi! Jennifer,
    Thank you for your reply. I agree there should be some restriction on student assignments. There is confusion about the Coursera terms of service and privacy policy on user content. What does it really mean for students regarding their assignments? According to Gibbs (2012) a course instructor stated “Please remember that the essay belongs to the essayist.” This is under U.S. copyright law, where an organisation like Coursera do not have the right to post someone else’s essay (Gibbs, 2012). However, you can do a “brief quote from an essay” (Gibbs, 2012). It is confusing when you consider Coursera’s TOS and Privacy policies. You have agreed to granting “Coursera and the participating Institutions a fully transferable, worldwide perpetual, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, sublicense, reproduce, modify, adapt, publically perform and publically display such user content” (Gibbs, 2012). I suspect this relates to Coursera forums and discussions in Facebook. Do you think Coursera should specify in their TOS and privacy agreements what the instructor has stated, to clarify for student users of Coursera? There is probably an obvious answer but maybe you had something else you would like to add? Art would certainly be of some concern. Have you seen Jason’s presentation on RedBubble you might find it interesting as an art student.
    Thanks Jennifer!
    Gibbs, L. (November 10, 2012). Coursera TOS: All your essay are belong to us. Coursera Fantasy. [Web log]. Retrieved October 31, 2013, from
    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • @kmnet303
    Hi Kylie

    Thanks for your interesting comments.

    I presume that Coursera can use students' assignments because there is no mention in the Terms of Use to exclude them from the license granted to Coursera for use of student content.

    I have completed an art course through Coursera and students uploaded some amazing art works to the forums. I wonder if the students realised that they were giving a licence to Coursera to use their work without restrictions.

    I do feel that an educational provider such as Coursera should not hold a license over student assignments which are submitted.

    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
  • @WarwickJanetzki
    Hi Warwick

    Thanks for commenting on my Policy Primer.

    It is interesting how different personal information is required by the different platforms i.e. Steam and Coursera. As Steam sells products to account holders I would imagine they collect more personal information when a sale is made. Coursera provides mostly free courses and collects the personal information when the account is created, so users do not have to provide further information at a later time.

    I have read your Policy Primer and found it very interesting!

    Are you sure you want to  Yes  No
    Your message goes here
No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Net 303 policy primer

  1. 1. COURSERA TERMS OF USE & PRIVACY POLICY NET 303 Policy Primer Jennifer Jones
  2. 2. “Coursera is an education company that partners with the top universities and organizations in the world to offer courses online for anyone to take, for free” (Coursera Inc, 2013).
  3. 3. “PLEASE READ THIS TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT……………..” (Coursera Inc, 2013) I have read the Terms of Use I agree
  4. 4. “PLEASE READ THIS TERMS OF USE AGREEMENT……………..” (Coursera Inc, 2013) I have read the Terms of Use I agree Yes, we‟ve all done it – it would take way too long to read and analyse that 20 page document and all we want to do is sign up and get started!
  5. 5. So the purpose of this policy primer is to introduce you to Coursera‟s Terms of Use & Privacy Policy… This analysis will help you understand what you are agreeing to when you sign up to a Coursera User Account. The User Account gives you access to Coursera course content, forums and related Sites (which will be referred to as Coursera or Sites). (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  6. 6. The focus is on your personal information and your privacy: You will also learn how your personal information (which you add to the site) will or can be used by Coursera Inc.
  7. 7. User Account When signing up for a „User Account‟ you will be asked to provide    Your real name Your email address Your location (Coursera Inc, 2013).
  8. 8. In addition (when you sign up to certain courses) Coursera may ask for further Personally Identifiable Information (Coursera Inc, 2013) to confirm your identity, such as:     Address Headshot taken using a webcam Photo identification document Sample of your typing patterns This information is not compulsory but if you choose to provide it – please read „what may happen to your personal data‟ (slide No. 21 of this slideshow). (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  9. 9. This section of the Terms of Use is not specific and could be asking for anything: “you may be prompted or required to enter additional information, including but not limited to your name and location” (Coursera Inc, 2013). You are really agreeing to enter any personal information that Coursera asks for, regarding your identity to continue to use the Sites and you agree to keep that information up-to-date at all times, otherwise Coursera reserves “the right to terminate your use of the Sites” (Coursera Inc, 2013).
  10. 10. Think carefully… It‟s up to you to decide how much is too much information to give any organisation. Why should we be concerned about our privacy?
  11. 11. What we think is anonymous or non-personal information may not be… An example of how so called anonymous data from AOL User No. 4417749 (Barbaro & Zeller, 2006) was collected and later provided for research purposes. This data was analysed and traced back to Thelma Arnold (Barbaro & Zeller, 2006) who was shocked to find out that she had been traced using her search data (Barbaro & Zeller, 2006). AOL later said “it was an unauthorized move by a team that had hoped it would benefit academic researchers” (Barbaro & Zeller, 2006). Introna (1997) explains we don‟t have control over “the decontextualising and recontextualising of the data obtained and subsequent judgment thereof…” (Introna, 1997, p.263-264).
  12. 12. Privacy is important… For example if a person signs up to do the course “Drugs and the Brain” (Coursera Inc, 2013b), this course covers “the neuroscience of drugs for therapy, for prevention, and for recreation. Drug addiction and drug abuse” Coursera Inc, 2013b)… Could a person be judged in some way for doing this course?
  13. 13. What personal data is collected and what happens to our personal data?
  14. 14. What personal data is collected? Coursera collects your data and divides it into two categories:  Non Personal Information  Personally Identifiable Information (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  15. 15. Examples of Non Personal Information which is collected… Records which webpages you visit and in which order, number of visits and time on webpages  How you arrived on the webpage  Which hyperlinks you clicked on  Records your IP address (the policy does point out that Internet Service Provider and location can be obtained from your IP address)  Records your operating system and browser software  Coursera installs cookies on your computer to track this information (Coursera Inc, 2013) 
  16. 16. You will be surprised how much data about you that cookies can collect “detailing every stop a person makes on the Web” (Brown & Muchira, 2004, p.66)
  17. 17. You can change your computer‟s setting to block cookies but allow session cookies which is recommended by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (2006) OR You can delete the cookies from your computer from time to time
  18. 18. Examples of Personally Identifiable Information which is collected… Your real name  Location  Email address  Email messages  Any information which you post on the site (eg. in forums) may be personally identifiable, as it is accompanied by your real name (Coursera Inc, 2013) 
  19. 19. Another example of your personal data being collected…  Coursera explains that they may gain access to Personally Identifiable Information when you access or log-in to a third party site such as Facebook from Coursera. This information could contain text and images of “Personally Identifiable information available from the third party site” (Coursera Inc, 2013).
  20. 20. This is important… This is an important area which needs to be taken notice of… Make the conscious decision – If you log in to Facebook from the Coursera Sites (or any other sites for that matter) Do you want Facebook to share your profile picture and possibly other information depending on your Facebook Privacy settings? YES/NO If the answer is „no‟, then do not log in to Facebook from other websites.
  21. 21. Now this is what may happen to your personal data…
  22. 22. Non personal information…   Non-Personal Information creates databases of account users‟ behaviour and demographics for statistical analyses Coursera states that they may use it for other business purposes (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  23. 23. Non personal information… “Records of your participation” (Coursera Inc, 2013) may be used for research purposes but will not be personally identifiable (Coursera Inc, 2013) …don‟t forget about AOL User No. 4417749 (Barbaro & Zeller, 2006)
  24. 24. Non personal information…  Information collected through use of the forums can be published and Coursera may “reuse Forum posts containing Personally Identifiable Information…for the purpose of enhancing future course offerings” without including identifiable information (Coursera Inc, 2013).
  25. 25. If you post any images or text to the public forums… “you grant Coursera and the Participating Institutions a fully transferable, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free and non-exclusive license to use, distribute, sublicense, reproduce, modify, ad apt, publicly perform and publicly display such User Content” (Coursera Inc, 2013). Which basically means that Coursera can do almost anything they want with any of your images or text.
  26. 26. Now for the Personally Identifiable Information…
  27. 27. Personally Identifiable Information…  Your personally identifiable information is used by Coursera to track attendance and assessments during the course. (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  28. 28. Coursera may share your Personally Identifiable Information with:    With various government authorities in response to subpoenas, court orders, or other legal process” (Coursera Inc, 2013) “…Operations and maintenance contractors may have limited access to your personally identifiable information in the course of providing products or services [to Coursera]” (Coursera Inc, 2013) to an acquirer or someone buying the business (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  29. 29. No guarantees for your information  “Please note that we do not guarantee the security of Personally Identifiable Information, and there is some risk that an unauthorized third party may find a way to circumvent our security systems or that transmission of your information over the Internet will be intercepted” (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  30. 30. Archiving and Storage of your Personal Information   You may contact Coursera if you wish to delete your account but you must bear in mind “that there will be residual information that will remain within our databases, access logs and other records, which may or may not contain your Personally Identifiable Information” (Coursera Inc, 2013) So the reality is that (at least some of) your personal information may remain in their database FOREVER!
  31. 31. …a few more things you need to know… When using the Coursera Sites, don‟t break the law…  Don‟t defame or harass people  Don‟t use the forums for illegal activities or to promote commercial or political causes  Don‟t try to hack the system  Follow the “Honor Code” (Coursera Inc, 2013) and don‟t cheat or give the answers to other people and don‟t try to unfairly improve your results
  32. 32. Sounds fair…!
  33. 33. And if you do break the rules…  “any dispute arising out of or relating to these Terms of Use…” “…will be governed by the laws of the State of California, excluding its conflicts of law provisions” Coursera Inc, 2013). It also explains that disputes will be dealt with in a Californian court.
  34. 34. …and don‟t forget…  Coursera may change their Terms of Use and Privacy Policy at any time and they may or may not be able to contact you…to let you know but they will publish the changes on their website… so just keep on checking! (Coursera Inc, 2013)
  35. 35. References Barbaro, M., & Zeller, T. (2006). A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749. New York Times. Retrieved from  Brown, M., & Muchira, R. (2004). Investigating the Relationship between Internet Privacy Concern and Online Purchase Behavior. Journal of Electronic Commerce Research, (591), 62-70. Retrieved from  Coursera Inc. (2013). Terms of Use. Retrieved from  Coursera Inc. (2013b). Drugs & the Brain. Coursera Course provided by California Institute of Technology. Retrieved from  Electronic Frontier Foundation (2006). Six Tips to Protect Your Search Privacy. Retrieved from  Introna, L. D. (1997). Privacy and the computer: why we need privacy in the information society. Metaphilosophy, 28(3), 259-275. Retrieved from This presentation was created using PowerPoint® presentation manager This word is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License 