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OU Study app - Privacy Notice


  1. The OU Study app is a free, optional app designed for current OU students to easily access the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) on their tablet/phone and access their module website/s. The app is essentially a simplified front end to the normal VLE, with the ability to view online module content and download offline versions.
  2. This notice is designed to inform readers about how the app collects and uses personal data. It applies to you if you download and sign into the OU Study app.
  3. The terms used in this Privacy Notice have the same meanings as in the Conditions of Use regarding OU website policies and statements.

Who we are

  1. The Open University is the data controller in relation to the processing activities described below. This means that the Open University decides why and how your personal information is processed.
  2. Where this document refers to “we”, “our” or “us” below, unless it mentions otherwise, it’s referring to the Open University

What information do we collect about you, and how do we collect it?

Information that you give to us

  1. To use the OU Study app, we require you to sign in with your Personal Identifier (PI) or OU Computer Username (OUCU) and password. This is the same (and uses the same system processes) as directly signing into our module websites using a web browser.

Information that we collect automatically

  1. Your sign-in data is validated against your OU record. This includes your full name and modules that you are studying or have recently studied.
  2. For support purposes should you encounter an issue, the app collects additional data about the device that it is installed on, such as hardware model and operating system.
  3. No data is collected by merely installing and opening the OU Study app. Data collection only happens against your user account once you have successfully signed in.
  4. When you sign in to the app, we collect Log Data about how you use the app. The Log Data includes usage statistics (e.g. the time and date you start and stop using the app, and which files you downloaded). This is very similar to the information that we collect when you are using the module website for those activities and it is stored and used in the same way. The data is retained as part of the OU’s normal data retention policy for website access.
  5. We do not collect offline usage data.

Cookies, third-party apps, and third-party websites

  1. The app includes various links which open OU websites using your device’s web browser. There is no difference between using these links and going to the website manually. For more information about how the OU uses cookies on its website, please see our Privacy and Cookies page.
  2. If you download or view files from the module website, some types of file may open in thirdparty apps. We do not pass any personal data to third-party apps.
  3. The OU Study app includes links to OU and OU-related websites. The OU cannot be held responsible for the content or behaviour of third-party websites.

Information that we receive from third parties

  1. Our Google Play Store and Apple Store administrators (who are OU staff members based on campus) receive aggregate download statistics, as well as review and rating data, from those stores.

How do we use your personal information?

  1. It is in our legitimate interest to use the data we collect, in order to operate the app, and identify improvements to our services. We will also use the Log Data for troubleshooting, should you call the OU Computing Helpdesk to report an issue.
  2. We will not use or share your information with any third-party.

Who do we share your information with?

  1. We use a third-party service provider for app maintenance and development, but they do not access any user data. They use limited test accounts for testing, which allows access to module websites, but the accounts cannot access any collaborative activities such as module forums. Any user-specific investigations (such as if you call to Computing Helpdesk to report an issue with the OU Study app) are investigated by those working for the OU.

Do we transfer information outside the EEA?

  1. Generally, information you provide to us is stored on our secure servers, or on our cloudbased systems which are located within the EEA.
  2. However, there are times when we do need to store information outside the EEA. If we transfer your information outside of the EEA, we will take steps to ensure that appropriate security measures are taken with the aim of ensuring that your privacy rights continue to be protected as outlined in this policy. This would either be imposing contractual obligations on the recipient of your personal information or ensuring that the recipients are subscribed to ‘international frameworks’ that aim to ensure adequate protection. For example, we would ensure that a US based supplier has signed up to “Privacy Shield”.

How long do we keep your personal information for?

  1. If you are a current or former OU student, then you will be able to sign into the OU Study app - the app will remain signed in for several months unless you sign out of, or uninstall, the app.
  2. As you own your device(s), if you have installed the OU Study app and are signed in to the app, you are responsible for any security breaches that occur should your personal data and/or OU-owned and licensed content be subject to unauthorised following your mobile device become lost or stolen. For this reason, it is recommended that you sign out of the OU Study app following your use of it or ensure that you use device security features so that nobody except you can unlock it.
  3. Further information about the OU’s general data retention can be found on the OU’s Policies and Statements webpage.

Your rights

  1. You have a number of rights in relation to your personal information, which apply in certain circumstances. To exercise any of these rights, please contact us using the details in the final section of this document.
  2. You have the right:
  • To access your personal information that we process
  • To rectify inaccuracies in the personal information that we hold about you

In some circumstances, you also have the right:

  • To have your details removed from systems that we use to process your personal data
  • To restrict the processing of your personal data in certain ways
  • To obtain a copy of your personal data in a structured electronic data file
  • To object to certain processing of your personal data by us
  • To request that we stop sending you direct marketing communications.

If you are concerned about the way we have processed your personal information, you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Please visit the ICO’s website for further details.

Contact us

  1.  Please direct any queries about this document or about the way we process your personal information to our Data Protection Officer using the contact details below.
  • Email
  • Telephone +44 (0)1908 653994
  • By post: The Data Protection Officer, PO Box 497, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AT.
  1. Further information can be found on our Privacy and Cookies page.

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