Landing : Athabascau University

Athabasca Landing is a secure social media system operated by Athabasca University.

Like all social media, the Landing gains value as it allows users to meet, interact, support and encourage each other and their collaborative activities. In order to do this, you must be able to find others and work with them. For example, if a person discloses their interest in gardening, it helps other gardeners to find and communicate with them. However, we must also allow users to select the level(s) of privacy that they choose for the information they are releasing. The Elgg software engine that underpins the Landing allows individual users very fine control over the release of everything they post to the Landing. This is achieved through drop down menus that appear on almost every post, picture, bookmark, data field, and page that you create (at the time of writing, the Wire is the only exception). These permissions are described below:

  • Private: This setting is used for draft materials that you do not wish to release to anyone. Of course one should never share your Athabasca password with any other person, in order to ensure that this privacy is retained.
  • People you are following: This setting allows those Landing members who you have chosen to follow to see the posting. You may add or delete a user's "followed" status at any time. Note that this only gives permissions to those you follow, not those who follow you.
  • Logged In Users (Default): This setting allows members of the Athabasca Community to see your post. This community includes staff, students, faculty, tutors and alumni, as well as a small number of invited guests who are working with the university.
  • Public: This setting allows everyone access to the posting including those who may find the post via a search engine such as Google. Obviously one should insure that one does not release personal and private information by using this setting, but this setting allows most exposure, thus creating and building net presence for the user.
  • Groups: Below the public setting you will find a listing of all the groups to which you are a member. You may choose to restrict access to your post to any of these groups. You may also choose to create a new open or closed membership group at any time.
  • Circles: you may group people you are following into collections (known as 'circles') such as friendscolleaguesclassmates and so on (the labels are up to you), and use those circles to limit access to just those people. No one apart from system administrators can see your circles: they are purely for your own use.

Public information revealed beyond the site

By default, your name and username are visible to search engines. You are welcome to change the visible name (via your settings) to something more anonymous if you wish to hide your identity from others. Your username (usually a highly abbreviated form of your actual name) will always be visible in public otherwise the site could not work, but this does not constitute personal identifiable information unless you also allow your real name or other personal details to be visible and thus associated with it. All other profile information, including contact details, personal tags, your profile picture etc is subject to discretionary access control so that you can choose who gets to see what.

Note that anything that you deliberately make public (including comments made on publicly visible posts, that are labelled as such to help you to avoid doing so unwittingly) will be associated with your username, which will be visible to the public.

Access by site administrators

Like all systems maintained by Athabasca University it is technically possible for certain systems administrators to obtain access to records. Our staff are bound by legal, ethical and contractual obligations to not abuse this authority. The Landing software contains an application that allows systems administrators to "login as" an individual user. This feature will occasionally be used to help de-bug and troubleshoot problems in the system.   We will not use this facility unless required to do so for technical or legal reasons and, wherever possible, we will use it in consultation with affected users. In addition, under extremely rare conditions, Athabasca University may be required, by a court order, to release personal information. Should this be required, information will only be released in accordance with the Province of Alberta's FOIP legislation.

We take our responsibilities to protect personal privacy extremely seriously and will do our best to protect your privacy to the full extent of what the law allows.

General privacy information about AU sites

Athabasca University respects the privacy of its online visitors and does not sell or rent any information obtained from its website to any other organization or third party. When you visit any of Athabasca University's websites, the servers automatically collect a limited amount of information essential for the site's operation and security. This information includes your IP address, the name of your Internet Service Provider, and information concerning your browser and operating system. This information is used to perform statistical analysis of user trends and interests and to help us make this site more useful to visitors. Athabasca University does make limited use of cookies on its Web servers, but not in any manner which could impinge on your privacy. "Cookies" are small text files or snippets of text that are placed in your personal computer's memory to allow it to track your browser's use of a site. Cookies are used for purposes such as ensuring that the site works properly (e.g. so that the system knows you are the same person when you move from one page to another so that you do not have to keep logging in), or that you are not annoyed by repetitious reminders. 

When you use Athabasca University's Web sites for program or services purposes, such as participating in online courses, requesting services, completing a questionnaire, or making payment, the personal information you provide for that program or service will be in compliance with sections 33(a) and 33(c) of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and will be used only for the purpose it was collected. The information will be disclosed only in accordance with the provisions of the Alberta Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Regulation.

The Athabasca Landing site has links to outside Web pages. Please be aware that the University is not responsible for site content outside our Web sites, or the privacy policies of outside Web sites. We encourage you to read the individual privacy statements on each Web site you visit.

All Athabasca University web pages should be treated on an "as is" basis unless they contain the phrase "This is an official publication of Athabasca University". This privacy statement is intended to reflect the sites maintained by Athabasca University and it is subject to change.