OERu Privacy Policy

The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation (OERF) maintains the highest level of respect for the privacy of individuals who create accounts on the websites maintained by the OERF and information collected by other means to support the delivery of the philanthropic services of the OER universitas (OERu) network. The OERF has adopted this Privacy Policy to ensure that we handle your personal information in accordance with the New Zealand Privacy Act 1993 (the country where the OERF registered offices are located).

We also provide a Privacy Notice, which is designed to be readable and offers additional explanation of key concepts.

Table of Contents


  • Open Educational Resources (OER) are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified, and shared by anyone (Downes 2011[1].)
  • OER universitas (OERu) is a philanthropic international collaboration of accredited universities, community colleges, and polytechnics which aims to provide more affordable access and pathways to achieving formal academic credit from participating partners.
  • Open Education Resource Foundation (OERF) is an independent non-profit entity which provides leadership, international networking, and support to education institutions to achieve their strategic objectives using open education approaches. The OERF coordinates the OERu initiative.
  • OERu learners are individuals who register to participate in OERu courses hosted on the OER Foundation websites for free. OERu learners may include academic volunteers, learners participating informally out of personal interest, and learners intending to enrol for formal assessment and credentialing services at one of the OERu partner institutions.
  • OERu students are learners who decide to formerly enrol and pay assessment fees for credentialing services at one of the OERu partner institutions.
  • Users include any individual or organisation who registers an account on a web site maintained by the OERF to support the OERu network, using the oeru.org domain.
  • Parallel delivery mode refers to an OERu partner who offers an OERu course in parallel with OERu learners for full-tuition students enrolled at the respective institution.


This policy:

  • is restricted to personal information held by the OERF and terms of service for courses and technologies hosted by the OERF to support the OERu.
  • excludes personal information held and related terms of service provided by OERu members for OERu courses offered in parallel delivery mode, or as standalone courses hosted by OERu members. These services are governed by the specific institutional policies of the respective OERu members.
  • excludes any services of third-party providers which OERu learners may choose to use in support of their learning.

Personal information we collect

The OERF collects, holds, and uses personal information from:

  • OERu learners who register for OERu courses hosted on the websites maintained by the OERF.
  • Academic volunteers who assist with OERu courses.
  • Selected staff members employed by the OERF .
  • The open education community and general public interested in the OERu network who register accounts on websites maintained by the OERF.

Personal information is usually collected when a user or an OERu learner registers on one of the websites and by online survey form for OERu learners and individuals interested in or associated with OERu courses or OERF operations. This information may include:

  • Your name, username, and email address
  • Name of institution or organisational affiliation
  • Country
  • Responses to OERu learning activities
  • User comments and opinions
  • Your internet connection details (e.g. browser signature, IP address) in our server logs

Purposes for collecting information

The OERu does not require learners to register an account in order to access our learning materials. To provide communication and interaction services we require users to provide a username and email address for OERF hosted technologies.

Users may choose to provide additional personal information on their public profile pages of OERF hosted technologies, for example display name, avatar image and other relevant information.

The OERF collects information directly from OERu learners and users for the following specified purposes:

  • To provide services which support the operations of the OERu, including (but not limited to): OERu course announcements and technologies to support the OERu learning process, for example, discussion forums, opt-in email lists, OERF hosted microblog posts, collaborative editing environments, databases used to aggregate OERu learner contributions, optional OERu surveys, technologies for the submission of assessments .
  • To administer technology, support emails, for example, email confirmations for account registration, password retrieval and website notifications.
  • Internal analysis and record keeping.
  • Confirmation of identity related to OERu services and websites hosted by the OERF.
  • To follow up on any queries made by OERu learners.
  • Conducting research on open education in general and the OERu in particular. However, when reporting research findings, the data is aggregated removing any personal identifying information.
  • Sharing of information with OERu partner members who provide assessment and credentialing services to support their registration processes subject to prior user consent.
  • Reporting requirements for relevant agencies including the New Zealand Charities Commission, shareholders of the OER Foundation, and Inland Revenue New Zealand (General Sales Tax returns for New Zealand OERu members and reporting requirements for registered charitable organisations).
  • Inform OERu participants about OERu related publications, projects and activities where the user has opted-in to receive these communications.
  • Contact individuals about any changes to this policy.


The OERF will never publish, sell, trade, rent, or share personal information with third parties other than uses specified in this policy and for the public health and safety purposes listed below. The OERF may outsource selected operational activities and services provided. For this purpose, and only for the purpose of providing official services of the OERF and related OERu activities, personal information may, as required, be handled by:

  • Individuals, professionals or organisations working under contract to the OERF to provide such services in accordance with the policies of the OERF.
  • Official members of staff of the OERu partner institutions to facilitate registration and identification of students opting for assessment and credentialing services from one or more of the OERu partner institutions.

In accordance with the New Zealand Privacy Act 1993, the OERF reserves the right to disclose personal information where it believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure of information is necessary to prevent or lessen a serious and imminent threat to public health or public safety or the life or health of the individual concerned or another individual. The OERF also reserves the right to disclose personal information where authorised by the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner if the public interest or benefit to another person substantially outweighs the breach of privacy.

How we manage personal information

The OERF is a charitable organisation and is committed to keeping personal information secure. We manage our systems to ensure your username and personal information is protected as best we can. In accordance with generally accepted practice, where personal information under this policy would require the use of a secure website, for example, financial transactions, these will take place under secure website and corresponding SSL certificate registered by the OERF. The OERF may enter your information in a database with appropriate computer, network, and communications security. Collected personal information is destroyed when no longer required.

The OERF takes advantage of the Google Analytics service to monitor traffic to and from our web sites. The system uses data on each page of each of our sites to anonymously aggregate website statistics such as the number of page views, the number of unique visitors, the time a visitor spends on a website, and common entry and exit points into and from the website. We used this to determine our capacity requirements, validate our content and service approaches, and ensure we invest our limited resources wisely.

The OERF uses Mautic, an open source marketing automation system hosted by the Foundation to automate email communications. Mautic pages and any emails we send through it may contain web beacons. Web beacons (also referred to as clear gifs, pixel tags, and single-pixel gifs) are small electronic files that are embedded onto a web page or an email to document traffic and for website analytics without collecting any personal information, that, for example, allow us to count users who have visited web pages or opened our emails.

The OERF takes advantage of a world-wide infrastructure. Data may be retained in a number of jurisdictions including, but not necessarily limited to, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The OERF websites may use cookies to maintain the state of your web session in accordance with best technical practices.

Financial information

Should any financial payments be required by using a credit card, like for institutional memberships, public donations, or related services, our payment processor Stripe has their own privacy policy which varies by region.

All access to financial information is strictly limited to professional staff who need to process those data. No such data are given to any person, organization, or group who does not need to access those data.

The OERF only uses online payment processing services with world class security and strong reputations. The OERF does not store, nor does it have access to, your credit card information, bank account numbers, or other account data sent to those processing services.

Access or correction of personal information

You can query the personal information the OERF holds on you or your organisation. If the information held is inaccurate, incomplete, or not up to date you may request the OER Foundation to correct this by contacting the Privacy Officer in writing.

Choice / Opt-out

You may choose to stop receiving newsletters, updates and course announcements via email by clicking on the unsubscribe link included in these emails or contacting us with a request to remove you from our mailing lists at info@oeru.org.

Children's online privacy protection

We do not knowingly collect personal information from children. If we become aware that a child has provided personal information we will delete their information and terminate the child’s account, except in cases of express parental consent for children under 16 years of age. Our site and services are all directed to people who are at least 13 years old. Children under the age of 16 years must obtain consent from the holder of parental responsibility before using our online services. If you are under the age of 13 please do not register an account for our online services.

Online privacy policy only

This online privacy policy applies only to information collected through our online services/websites and not to information collected offline.

Your Consent

By using our online services, you consent to our web site privacy policy.


If you have questions about this OERu Terms of Service Policy or the OERu Privacy Policy or if you wish to be removed from our email/postal contact lists, then please email for the attention of the Privacy Officer at privacy@oerfoundation.org or write to:

The Privacy Officer
OER Foundation Limited
c/o Otago Polytechnic
3rd floor, F Block
Forth Street
Private Bag 1910
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

New Zealand Privacy Commissioner

If you are not satisfied with our response to any privacy-related concern you may have, you can contact the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner
PO Box 10-094
Wellington, New Zealand
Phone: +64-4-474 7590
Enquiries Line (from Auckland): 302 8655
Enquiries Line (from outside Auckland): 0800 803 909
Fax: +64-4-474 7595
Email: enquires@privacy.org.nz

Changes to our Privacy Policy

If we decide to change our privacy policy, we will post those changes on this page.

This document is CC-BY-SA. It was last updated 18 May 2018. Components of this privacy policy have been adapted from Mautic’s Privacy Policy under a Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike 4.0 International license.

This policy was updated on 23 May 2018.