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This policy states Harvard’s privacy policy and practices for Canvas, Harvard’s University-wide learning management system for course websites. By using Canvas you are consenting to collection and use of information by Harvard in accordance with this Privacy Policy.

Canvas is provided in multiple platforms as a service by Instructure, a third-party vendor for Harvard. By using Canvas, you are also consenting to collection and use of information by Instructure according to their Privacy Policy (see

Information Gathering

1. Account Information

Harvard establishes a Canvas user account for every user with the following information: first name, last name, email address, and HUID. Harvard may also ask you for other information at other times.

Other information collected about you through a Canvas site may also include data about your use of Canvas and the third party Apps described below, and also information relating to your course participation, such as quiz and test data and information about online course participation, task completion, and other course activity data.

2. Browsing Information

Harvard may evaluate Canvas usage by collecting statistics about the behavior of visitors to this website and analyzing user information and demographics, but only to generate aggregate statistical reports.  For this purpose, Harvard may use third-party analytic services to collect such information.  Harvard may display this aggregate statistical information publicly or provide it to others.  Such reports will not disclose site usage by individual visitors or by IP addresses.

3. User Communications for Technical Support

When you send email or other communications to Harvard’s support staff for tech support, Harvard may retain the communications in order to process your inquiries, respond to your requests and improve their services.

Use of Information

Harvard may request, use and retain your personal information, other information collected about you, and communications from you, to:

  • Help troubleshoot and diagnose issues with this Canvas Site, third party Apps accessed through this Site, and related services
  • Send you surveys regarding usage of and satisfaction with this site, such Apps, and related service
  • Generate aggregate data and statistical reports about usage of this site and its content
  • Support the administration of courses, course instruction, and the delivery and intake of course content and information
  • Respond to your inquiries, customize your experience on the site, improve content and provide you with email notifications and other communications related to your courses

  • Generate data for other administrative purposes, such as program review and accreditation

Research - Harvard also intends to use data about your use of this Canvas site and information relating to your course participation, such as quiz and test data and information about online course participation, task completion, and other course activity data, for research purposes. Such research will comply with Harvard research policies and all relevant laws and regulations. If applicable rules require us to obtain your consent for any such research, then Harvard will not use your data for this purpose unless we have obtained your specific consent.

Disclosure of Information

Harvard may disclose personally identifiable information about you if Harvard believes that doing so is necessary or appropriate to: satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request; investigate compliance with or enforce this policy or our Acceptable Use Policy for Canvas; detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues; or protect the rights and safety of site users, Harvard or others.

As described above, Harvard may share aggregated, de-identified data with third parties for its own purposes.

Harvard complies with FERPA and other applicable laws in the operation of this site, and Harvard complies with all applicable Harvard policies.


This site and some third party Apps will offer community forums and discussion groups. Any information you provide in these areas is not private and may be read, collected, and used by others who access them.

Third Party Apps

This site contains and uses third party Apps and plug-ins in connection with course administration and instruction. Some of these tools will collect your name and email address. The third parties will only use your information to deliver the App service.

Information Protection

This site has security measures in place to help protect against the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. However, no such measures are 100% secure.

Contacting This Website

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this site, you can contact

Changes to This Policy

This Privacy Policy may be changed from time to time. The modified policy will be posted on this page.

Effective Date

The effective date of this policy is January 22, 2015. Last update March 27, 2017.

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