Site Use Policy and Privacy Policies
Scholars Online is a corporation registered in the state of Washington and identified by the United States Internal Revenue Service as a non-profit educational institution. It acts as a data controller because it collects and maintains a limited amount of personal information in the course of providing education support services to its members through its website, email, phone conversations, and written communications. Data security is overseen by the Scholars Online technical director and the server system administrator at NuOz IT Services.
Scholars Online collects no personally identifiable information about visitors to its website unless the visitor creates a membership record or a blog user record. A limited amount of site visitation information for pages outside the Scholars Online Moodle is monitored by Google Analytics (such as IP addresses and referral URLs), which may be retained for up to 26 months to allow us to conduct usage analysis and plan for site load, but these are not stored by Scholars Online and all such information is anonymized, that is, details that could be combined with other information to achieve personal identification are removed prior to storage at Google in compliance with United States and European Union GDPR requirements for digital data protection.
Scholars Online values the privacy and the safety of all our members and collects personal identification information through its membership forms only to the extent necessary to perform its educational support mission for members. We ask that you supply contact and identity information to ensure accurate private communication (addresses and emails), foster educational goals (gender and educational affiliation), comply with legal restrictions (date of birth is required for COPPA and FERPA compliance), and secure accreditation for student work (grade level and projected graduation year are required for accreditation institution annual reports).
Date of birth information allows us to determine who has authority over the student's records in compliance with FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) regulations, and what information we can collect about and from minor students in compliance with COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act) regulations.
Activities on our site also produce data that Scholars Online maintains in order to carry out its business activities and education mission. These include invoice and payment information, contributions to forums, student participation in live class sessions, student work submitted in compliance with teacher-set course requirements, and all student Moodle activities. Students and parents must acknowledge a Moodle Policy Site Use agreement outlining security and behavior expectations in order to make use of chat and Moodle resources. Acceptance of this agreement grants permission to Scholars Online to retain information members enter into the Moodle or Chats, as well as automatically collected information such as session cookies and IP addresses necessary to provide session continuity and security and to prevent fraud.
Scholars Online will use your email address of record to notify you of course offerings, important enrollment information and deadlines, orientation opportunities, changes to policies, interruptions of service, and, in the event of a data breach, the extent to which any member information has been compromised. Scholars Online contract teachers will use member email addresses registered in our database, including the addresses for minor student, and the Moodle messaging system, to notify members about educational concerns, student performance, or other course-related issues. Scholars Online will call the adult sponsor by telephone at the members' request or in the event of a disciplinary or emergency situation, and as required by law.
Scholars Online collects and maintains personal information for its contract teachers as required for tax-reporting purposes by the United States Internal Revenue Service.
The only membership-based information regularly transmitted to an outside agency is contained in annual reports to the accrediting body for accreditation renewal, or on corporation federal income tax returns (IRS Form 990, available online through GuideStar, which tracks non-profit compliance with Federal guidelines). Such information is always aggregate (e.g., total number of students enrolled per grade level in a given year); it never includes personally identifiable information.
No information about any student or family member, including name, physical address, gender, date of birth, email addresses, email content, submitted assignments and forum entries, chat logs, transcripts, course performance assessments, invoice history, scholarship grants, and family associations, is ever released to a third party without personal consent, if the member is over 18, or the consent of a parent or legal guardian if the member is a minor student.
Consent to release information held by Scholars Online to a third party is construed as valid only if Scholars Online administrators receives an email from the authorizing member's email address of record or a signed and dated written communication from the authorizing member. Such authorization must specify the third party who will receive the information (name or institution, and address) and the exact information to be sent (e.g., the student's transcript). A confirmation email is always sent to the requesting member once the information has been sent.
Scholars Online does not offer courses for purchase by minors. All memberships, enrollments, and registrations for minor students must be contracted by a sponsoring adult with the appropriate authority as the parent, guardian, or designated educational supervisor for the minor.
All personal identification regarding a minor must be entered by a sponsoring parent, guardian, or educational representative with the appropriate authority into the sponsor's own account. Scholars Online does not collect such information directly from minors. Further, to prevent abuse, personal information data fields within the Moodle student profile that might be changed by a minor student are automatically reset from the sponsor's account. Sponsors have continuous access and complete control over their student's personal identification data until the student reaches 18 years of age, in which case the student assumes such responsibility.
Further, sponsors may monitor their minor students' data in the Moodle, including courses taken, course assignments, and student performance records submitted by the teacher.
Except when the server is offline for maintenance and upgrades, members retain access to all personal identification information in their primary accounts, whether or not they continue to pay membership fees, unless Scholars Online has been requested by the guardian member from the email address of record to suspend the account. Access to information in the Moodle through the user's account lapses when membership expires.
Adult members may review and correct personal information they have entered on their own behalf or for sponsored minor students, as well as all invoice information and transcript information, at any time through their own account pages. They may review specific records (student assignments, grades, teacher feedback) stored in the Moodle for their own students for currently-enrolled courses, and where such information does not compromise the privacy of other members.
Adult members may request access to transcripts or Moodle records unavailable because of lapsed memberships at any time by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org from the email account of record. If the email account is no longer available, or membership has lapsed, Scholars Online may request proofs of identity before complying with any request for member data release.
Scholars Online retains membership information and educational records indefinitely, as students may request transcript information at any time subsequent to course completion for scholarship applications, military service application, college or job applications.
Site users may request removal of contact email information and membership account information, when no courses have been taken and membership has not been completed by payment of a membership fee, at any time by emailing email@example.com from the email account of record. If the email account is no longer available, Scholars Online may request proofs of identity before complying with any request for any data erasure.
Financial records must be retained in compliance with United States Internal Revenue Service financial accountability requirements to assess non-profit status. Educational records must be retained in compliance with FERPA regulations. As these constitute legal obligations on a non-profit acting in the public interest, Scholars Online will secure and retain such information to the extent required by law. Members who have paid fees, enrolled in courses, and completed course work may not request removal of these records, but may request anonymity procedures for their personal information insofar as such information is related to these records.
All data entry pages including the Moodle are controlled by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) software, which encrypts information entered by website users. The Scholars Online website, including the database and Moodle Course Delivery Software, is housed on a standalone dedicated server secured by our provider, NuOz IT Services, which maintains physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards controlling any connection with access to the server environment. Scholars Online maintains additional electronic and procedural safeguards to protect against unauthorized access as well as loss of data. Procedural safeguards for the recovery of data in the event of server malfunction or database corruption are reviewed and tested annually as part of system upgrade exercises.
Be wary of any email that requests you to send data in our name. Scholars Online never collects, retains, or reports Social Security numbers, credit card information, or racial background information. All credit card transactions are processed entirely within PayPal's secure site; we never see this information. We will never ask you to send personal information to us through email or US mail; we will always ask that you use your own account to log into your secure Account Management Center and enter the information directly into our database.
Please report any suspicious emails or phone calls requesting information in our name to firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.