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Privacy

This page describes how you can access any personal information The Open University (OU) may hold, and how we may use cookies to monitor usage patterns across the OU website. You may wish to print this page.

There are particular circumstances regarding the OpenLearn website (the OU's open content initiative) – see OpenLearn privacy statement.

Access to your personal information

When you contact us we create a record in your name. We add information that we then collect, including information that you may give us during registration, to that record. The data controller for your personal data is The Open University.

You have the right under the Data Protection Act to information about your personal data (the right of 'subject access'). You will need to pay a fee of £8. You should address your request to:

The Data Protection Coordinator
PO Box 497
The Open University
Milton Keynes
MK7 6AT

Email: data-protection@open.ac.uk

How we use personal information

We may use the personal information that you provide when you enquire or register:

  • to deal with your enquiry or application and to provide you with appropriate services and these may include sending your further information,
  • for the purpose of research and to help us plan and improve our services. We may contact you ourselves or ask outside research agencies to do so on our behalf.
For more information on how we handle and use personal information about our students, read our Student Privacy Notice (PDF).

Freedom of Information Act Publication Scheme

Use the link below to find a guide to the University's publication scheme which consists of nine groups of classes of information. Each class contains descriptions of the information available and the links to it. The site also contains information about the Freedom of Information Act and its implementation.

See the Freedom of Information website.

Use of cookies and your privacy

A cookie is a small data file. Cookies cannot read your hard disk or make any information collected by use of a cookie available to any third party. A cookie can only be read by the organisation that installs it.

This website stores cookies on your computer to track user traffic patterns. We do this in order to determine the usefulness of our website and to see how effective our navigational structure is. We do not release this information to third parties.

If you prefer not to receive cookies while browsing our website, you can set your browser to refuse all cookies that are stored on your computer. However, you will be unable to access the content of this website if you do, as a cookie needs to be set to determine what country you are a resident of so we can show the courses available in that country.

If you are a registered user of the University and wish to sign in to password protected websites you will need to allow 'per-session' cookies. These are only stored on your computer for the duration of your visit and are deleted when you close your browser or sign out of The Open University website.

Types of cookie

Three types of cookie may be used during your visit to our websites:

  • Session or temporary cookies that are deleted after each visit. These cookies help us monitor visitors' movement from page to page, so we can ensure any choices you make and/or details you submit are 'remembered' as you navigate the site.
  • Persistent cookies that are valid across visits. They help our websites remember you as a user each time you use the same computer to revisit us.
  • Third-party cookies that are used by our partners, or are used by external content from other third-party websites within our website. These include sites such as Facebook and Twitter, whose cookie usage policy you can view on their own websites.

Cookie categories

We have listed cookies used on Open University websites based on the International Chamber of Commerce guide for cookie categories:

  • Strictly necessary - these cookies are essential in order to enable you to move around our sites and use their features, such as accessing secure areas of the website.
  • Performance - these cookies collect information about how visitors use our websites in order to improve them. For example, they tell us which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from any of our pages. All of the information that these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous – it does not identify individual visitors.
  • Functionality - these cookies allow our websites to remember choices you make (such as your user name, and search and browser preferences) and provide enhanced, more personal features. These cookies can also be used to remember changes you have made to text size, fonts and other parts of web pages that you can customise. These cookies cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
  • Targeting - these cookies collect information about your browsing habits in order to make advertising relevant to you and your interests.

Cookies you may see if you browse our site without signing in

Cookie name Nature and purpose Category Expires
ASP.NET_SessionId This cookie is a 'session cookie' which tells us that you are actively visiting our site and expires when you close your browser. Strictly necessary Session
CMSCurrentTheme This cookie is used to display the correct styling to the page. Strictly Necessary Session
CMSPreferredCulture This cookie stores the language in which the page is being displayed. Strictly Necessary Session
OU_CountryCode This cookie is used to remember when a country of residence is selected and show relevant content on the website. Strictly Necessary Session
OU_CountryPhoneNumber This cookie is used to store the local phone number for the country of residence that has been selected so the most appropriate number is displayed on the website. Functionality Session
ou_cookie_policy This cookie is used to control the display of our cookie banner when you visit our site. Strictly Necessary Persistent
jsessionid_360-mashup-ui.mu2-international-ui#11000 This cookie tells us which version of search you are using and ensures the relevant results are displayed. The cookie expires when you close your browser. Strictly Necessary Session
C4ATBCookie[id]C4ATBTestP
C4ATBCookie[id]_Cook_DTS
C4ATBCookie[id]_Cook_ExtSets
C4ATBCookie[id]_Cook_ServerGUID
C4ATBCookie[id]_Cook_VisitorID
C4ATBCookie[id]_Cook_Visits
These cookies are set by Click4Assistance, which is used for the live chat and request a callback functionality on the website. Functionality Persistent

Cookies we use to track visits to our site

Vendor Cookie name Nature and purpose Category Expires
Google Analytics _ga Our website uses Google Analytics. This cookie allows us to understand how often users visit our site, how long they spend there, and the pages they interact with. Google Analytics collects information anonymously. It reports website trends without identifying individual visitors.

Opt-out of Google Analytics cookies
Performance Persistent
Google Analytics _gat_[AccountId] This cookie does not store any user information, it is used to limit the number of requests that have to be made to Google Analytics.

Opt-out of Google Analytics cookies
Performance Session
DoubleClick by Google id
IDE
DSID
__gads
_drt_
Google uses these cookies to improve your online experience, while tracking ad response rates to improve the effectiveness of online advertising on external websites. Performance Persistent
Optimizely optimizelyEndUserId
optimizelyBuckets
optimizelySegments
optimizelyPendingLogEvents
Our website uses Optimizely. These cookies allow us to test different types of content and presentation to a subset of visitors to the site. Performance Persistent
Pardot visitor_id[id] This cookie allows us to understand how often users visit our site, how long they spend there, the pages they interact with and how they arrived on the site. Performance Persistent
Mouseflow mf_[session] We sometimes use Mouseflow on the website to understand how users interact with our website. This cookie identifies the browser session while it happens. Performance Session
Mouseflow mf_user We sometimes use Mouseflow on the website to understand how users interact with our website. This cookie establishes whether the user is a returning or first time visitor. Performance Persistent
LinkedIn _bizo_bzid
_bizo_cksm
_bizo_np_stats
These cookies collect information such as IP address, time of visit and pages visited to then show relevant advertising on the LinkedIn platform.

Opt-out of LinkedIn tracking
Performance Persistent

Cookies generated by embedded third party content on our site

Site Cookie name Nature and purpose More information
YouTube HSID
PREF
SID
VISITOR_INFO1_LIVE
Some of the pages on our website contain videos from our YouTube channel which are embedded on the page. When a page containing a YouTube video is accessed, cookies are set by YouTube. Google Policies and Principles

Cookies you may see if signed in to our website

For information on the cookies set when you sign into The Open University website, see the list of cookies on the www.open.ac.uk website.

Cookies we use for marketing purposes

We use advertising related cookies on our site.

DoubleClick uses cookie IDs to show adverts relevant to a visitors interests and browsing behaviour. They are also used to limit the number of times someone sees an advert, as well as helping to measure the effectiveness of our advertising campaigns. They remember that a browser visited a website and this information is shared with other organisations such as advertisers. Cookie IDs also allow DoubleClick to log conversions related to ad requests. DoubleClick cookies do not collect any personally identifiable information about the internet user. Sometimes the cookie contains an additional identifier that is similar in appearance to the cookie ID. This identifier is used to identify an ad campaign to which a user was exposed previously; but no personally identifiable information is stored by DoubleClick in the cookie.

If you would like to learn more about how advertisers use these types of cookies or to choose not to receive them, please visit the your online choices website.

Security

We take security very seriously. All staff are made aware of the security procedures they must follow when handling personal information. Data is protected from unauthorised access and we are confident no one will be able to access your personal information unlawfully.

We also protect data which is being transferred. As long as your web browser supports the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), any personal data transmitted from your browser to our web service, or from the service to your browser, will be encrypted.

Please note that internet email is never a totally secure way of communicating. By using it, you agree that you will send any information by email at your own risk.

Links to third-party sites

While we will take all reasonable precautions to make sure that other organisations we deal with have good security practices, we are not responsible for the privacy practices of those organizations whose websites may be linked to our service.