Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

We understand how important privacy is to our community, especially our teachers, students, and parents. This policy explains what information we collect, how we use it, and what we do to keep it safe.

  1. User Agreement
  2. These Terms of Use and Privacy Policy constitute an agreement between you and the CT-STEM team that governs your use of https://ct-stem.northwestern.edu/ and all associated services and sites (collectively "CT-STEM"). The CT-STEM team is a federally-funded research group headquartered at Northwestern University.

    Please read this document carefully. By using the CT-STEM site, you affirm that you have read, understood, and accepted the terms and conditions outlined here. If you do not agree with any of these conditions, please do not use the CT-STEM site. If you have questions about this policy, please feel free to contact us at ctstem@northwestern.edu.

    This policy was last updated on June 26, 2019.

  3. Information We Collect
    • Personal Information
    • In order to use some features of the CT-STEM site, you will need to register by creating a user account. Creating an account is optional, but without an account you will not be able to create or publish curriculum projects or use CT-STEM curricula to capture, store, review, or assess student work.

      When creating a teacher account, we ask you to provide your first and last name, email address, password, and school name.

      To help ensure unauthorized use of your account, please keep your password secret. You are solely responsible for any use of your account, even if your account is used by another person. If any use of your account violates the Terms of Use, your account may be suspended or deleted.

      If you believe that your account is no longer secure for any reason, please change your password. If you cannot access your account to change your password, contact us at ctstem@northwestern.edu.

    • User-Generated Content
    • When students submit work in a CT-STEM assignment, we save their responses to questions and any content they create within the CT-STEM platform. Teachers can review the responses and artifacts students create in the CT-STEM assignment they own. Teachers can also grade student work and provide feedback. Scores and comments generated by teachers through the CT-STEM platform are stored on our servers and can be viewed by the students they are sent to.

      Student names are removed from all student work and replaced with identification numbers. This process of replacing names with identification numbers is performed automatically by the CT-STEM platform when exporting research data and will be performed by teachers if any other student work (e.g., from other instructional materials) is to be analyzed by researchers.

      Curriculum projects that teachers author using the CT-STEM platform are also saved and stored on our servers and may be published to a public project library that is accessible to other CT-STEM users or visitors (with the owner's permission).

      Some sections or features of the CT-STEM site may allow you to share information concerning your opinions, experiences, or preferences about CT-STEM content or other topics. For example, you might be able to voluntarily review or rate CT-STEM resources, answer user questions, designate favorite CT-STEM curricula, or respond to surveys, etc. Information you provide will be stored and may be shared with other CT-STEM users either anonymously or not (as long as you provide permission). Unless otherwise expressly provided for in this policy, CT-STEM shall have no liability to you or to any third party with respect to information submitted voluntarily by you via the CT-STEM site.

    • Licensing
    • All projects that you create on or share to the CT-STEM site shall be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license, subject to the following additional terms. The CT-STEM site and curriculum materials are distributed free of charge for non-commercial educational use. For any other uses of this site and materials, in original or modified form, including but not limited to distribution in whole or in part, specific prior permission must be obtained from the CT-STEM Project Investigators at ctstem@northwestern.edu. The site and curriculum materials shall not be used, rewritten, or adapted as the basis of a commercial software product or as part of course materials that are licensed or sold commercially without first obtaining appropriate licenses from Northwestern University. We make no representations about the suitability of this site for any purpose. It is provided "as is" without express or implied warranty. For more information about the terms of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/.

      You may link to or include outside resources or materials in your CT-STEM projects or in any public parts of the CT-STEM site, but it is your responsibility to obtain any necessary permission from the original owners and include any required attribution for your use of such content as Acknowledgements or Credits. CT-STEM will not be held responsible for the unauthorized use by a CT-STEM account holder of any third-party content in CT-STEM curricula or on any other sections of the CT-STEM site.

      The CT-STEM team reserves the right to remove any content that, in the CT-STEM team's discretion, is harmful to the community or violates the CT-STEM Terms of Use. Harmful use includes spam or repeated commercial advertisement through projects, comments, or discussion posts, as well as inappropriate or offensive material.

    • Auto-Generated Data
    • When students and teachers use CT-STEM, we save event data such as mouse clicks, time spent viewing pages, and other site interactions. This data is used for research purposes and for automated analyses and tools within CT-STEM assignments. (See ‘How We Use the Data' for more information.)

    • Cookies
    • When you log in, CT-STEM will ask your browser to put a "cookie" on your computer. This allows CT-STEM to remember that you are logged in when you go to a different page. You can delete this cookie at any time through your browser's settings.

    • Google Analytics
    • CT-STEM uses Google Analytics to help us understand our site usage. We use data like which pages you visit and clicks you make to help us improve the site. Information collected and processed by Google Analytics includes user IP addresses, network locations, and geographic locations. Some browsers allow you to opt-out of the Google Analytics tracking by installing add-ons for your browser.

  4. How We Use the Data
  5. We will not sell your information to anyone under any circumstances.

    The CT-STEM team uses de-identified user data to perform research. Researchers in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University and partner institutions may use de-identified data to perform data analyses and explore research topics. This data includes both user-generated and auto-generated content (see 'Information We Collect' section). Results of our research may be shared with educators and other researchers through conferences, journals, and other publications.

    When generating and analyzing research data, student names are removed from all student work and replaced with identification numbers automatically by the CT-STEM platform or by teachers if any other student work (e.g., from other instructional materials) is to be analyzed by researchers.

    Email addresses for teacher accounts are used for communication: (a) for support, and (b) for occasional public announcements from the CT-STEM Team. Teacher email addresses are also used to facilitate resetting of passwords.

    We do not ask students for their email address and do not share any student personal information with outside parties. Only the students' teachers can access student names and usernames within CT-STEM (for purposes of reviewing student work, grading, sending feedback, etc). Each participating teacher will have access to his or her own students' project work and will not be able to see any information from other teachers' students. Teachers are also able to reset passwords for their students.

    A small set of CT-STEM administrators are able to access user account information and data for support and technical purposes. A few select researchers may access teacher accounts to view anonymized student work or support teachers in setting up and managing projects and runs.

    We will not disclose your personally identifying information to any other parties except in the following cases: 1) In cases where you (or a legal guardian) have provided your express consent; 2) As required by applicable law; or 3) With the appropriate authorities (including schools, school districts, and law enforcement, when necessary) for the purposes of protecting the safety of users, other individuals, or the security of the site.

  6. Rules of Use
  7. CT-STEM promotes and supports freedom of speech and expression and strives to create a welcoming, supportive, and productive community of educators and learners.

    You may not use CT-STEM to promote bigotry, discrimination, hatred, or violence against any individual or group. You may not expose any other person's identifying or contact information without that person's permission. Threatening, harassing, or intimidating any other person is not allowed and we reserve the right to remove any user-generated content that, in our discretion, does so. Projects, discussion posts, and user-profile pages containing offensive or sexually explicit material will not be tolerated and removed from the site immediately once brought to the attention of the CT-STEM team.

    You may not deliberately perform actions that are intended to negatively affect the CT-STEM site or its users. You may not post links to harmful sites to download viruses or malware.

    All user-generated content is provided as-is. The CT-STEM team is not responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any user-generated content available through CT-STEM. The CT-STEM team does not endorse any views, opinions, or advice expressed in user-generated content. You agree to relieve the CT-STEM team of any and all liability arising from your user-generated content.

    If you notice any offensive material or user-generated content that are in violation with the rules above, please report them to the CT-STEM team at ctstem@northwestern.edu.

  8. Information Security
  9. The security of your information is important to us and we try to maintain a high standard for security by using technical safeguards. We will try our best to keep your data safe. However, no system can ever be 100% secure so we can not guarantee your personal information will be 100% safe from unauthorized access, either while stored on our site or our databases or while being transmitted to the CT-STEM site over the internet.

    You can help us protect against unauthorized access to your account by choosing a strong password and keeping your password secret at all times.

  10. State & Federal Laws
  11. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

    We take care to be familiar with FERPA legislation and we take all possible measures to ensure your compliance with FERPA's requirements when you use the CT-STEM site. We are confident that the protection of data outlined in this document satisfies its requirements.

  12. Changes and Updates to the Terms of Use & Privacy Policy
  13. We may occasionally update or modify our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. We will always display the date this document was last updated. If we make significant changes to these terms, we will display a prominent notice on the CT-STEM home page and may notify users via registered email. We encourage you to review this document periodically. By continuing to use CT-STEM after any changes to this document, you acknowledge that you agree to the current version of these terms.

If you have any questions or concerns about this document or the CT-STEM site, please contact us at ctstem@northwestern.edu. You can also contact us by mail at:

Northwestern University
Michael Horn
336 Annenberg Hall
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, Illinois 60208