Rules and guidelines for using UniConnect (Terms of Use)

On registration and subsequent usage of UniConnect, users agree with the currently effective version of the rules and guidelines for using UniConnect.

1. Introduction

UniConnect is a private platform for the member institutions of the University Competence Center for Collaboration Technologies (UCT), which can be used to create closed communities for teaching and research activities. A qualified Institution is any publicly- or privately-funded body that is defined as one the following:

  • University or college offering education that leads to nationally-recognized qualifications or levels of academic achievement – accredited by a regional or national accrediting council, commission, appropriate government agency, or board of education of the state or country in which the educational institution is located.
  • Teaching hospital associated with an accredited institution.
  • Research institution or consortia comprised of accredited institutions.
  • Primary, elementary or secondary school, either publicly- or privately-funded, where education is the principal objective leading to nationally recognized qualifications or levels of academic achievement, and accredited to provide education by national or regional councils or agencies.
  • Certain open standards organizations focused on nurturing the open collaboration development of open source technologies. and are examples of open standards organizations.

In general, members of non-profit organizations may be eligible to use UniConnect if all of the following conditions are met:

  • The non-profit organization conducting the research is predominantly research-oriented, with demonstrable ties to the academic community.
  • The research is being done in connection with an academic institution.
  • UniConnectwill not be used for operational or administrative purposes, or in a production environment, outside the scope of the research project.

The UCT may grant access to UniConnect to the students, research associates, and project partners of the academic institution only after the explicit consent of an authorized employee to the terms of use.

2. General Rules and Guidelines

Each UniConnect user is solely responsible for the content he/she publishes on UniConnect. The UniConnect provider team is not liable for any copyright violation by users.

It is mandatory for every institutions and individual to use their real/official name. Information in personal profiles must be truthful and accurate. Anonymous or fictional persons are, with the exception of test users, not permitted.

Every member is limited to one user account.

The disclosure of login-details (name, password) is prohibited. One account may not be used by more than one person.

UniConnect not only serves as a communication platform for research and teaching institutions, but is also a research project in its own right managed by the University Koblenz-Landau. This research is the very foundation for operating the platform. The UCT research group examines activities on UniConnect in order to acquire knowledge about usage. The findings are used to drive research in the field of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). In the course of this research, innovative software-components (e.g. gamification-tool) will be installed and tested on UniConnect.

The platform serves both teaching and research purposes. Registered users consent to the utilization of usage data for research purposes and to its publication in an anonymized form.

Please note, it is theoretically and technically possible for administrators to access the content of closed communities. However, it is absolutely not in the interests of the UCT to do so and is exclusively done when the police or state authorities demand so due to strong suspicion relating to a legally binding manner. User activities (event-logs) on UniConnect are exclusively analysed in anonymized form for research purposes. The rights and ownership of community content on UniConnect remain exclusive to the respective author.

3. Code of Conduct

UniConnect is a platform for communication between people from different faculties and cultures and therefore appropriate and respectful behaviour of everyone is essential. The UCT explicitly supports cooperative, interdisciplinary and intercultural research projects on UniConnect. In addition to the rules and guidelines mentioned above, certain rules must be followed in contact with other users. The well-being of other users must be respected and disruptive or anti-social behaviour must be avoided. This includes e.g.:

  • Abusive language
  • Spam submissions
  • Insults
  • Racist or political propaganda
  • Threats
  • Provocations
  • SHOUTING (solely using capital letters)
  • Naming and shaming
  • Imitation of other users

Furthermore, the following items should be observed:

  • References to any type of petitions or boycotts as well as corresponding invitations and similar behaviour is forbidden.
  • Links, advertisement and paraphrases of offensive or disturbing contents are not tolerated.
  • Content on UniConnect may contain links to other websites. The UniConnect team has no influence on the compliance of data security regulations by foreign website providers.
  • Each user is invited to represent his/her own opinion in a clear and constructive manner.
  • If a user changes one of his/her posts, the change has to be clearly marked. So that transparency of changes is ensured for other users. Additionally the marking guarantees the correct chronology of a discussion as it cannot be falsified later on. We explicitly recommend using the version control in the applications that support this.
  • The UniConnect operators will never ask you about account data or passwords. The sharing of account data with third parties is prohibited.
  • In case of uncertainties, contact the platform operators and ask if your content is suitable for publishing. Nevertheless, every user is accountable for his/her own content.

4. Data collection

The UniConnect Team gathers information about the platform usage without referring to personal data. By anonymizing the collected data, the privacy of UniConnect users is protected at all times. Findings of the analysts allow no reference to individuals. IP-Addresses that are transferred because of technical reasons are anonymized and will never be used.

5. Termination by the User

Users are able to cancel their membership without prior notice by sending an E-Mail and request to the UniConnect operators to disable their account.

Content generated by the user will persist and will not be deleted within this non-profit research project. Please do not become a part of this research project if you do not agree to this.

6. Sanctions

Every breach of a rule can lead to a warning or to a temporary or permanent exclusion from UniConnect. Warnings are not mandatory before an exclusion.

7. Adjustments to the above rules and policies

In the case of circumstances that are not covered by the defined rules, the platform administrators will evaluate the situation based on the given information and intervene if necessary.

The UCT can modify the defined rules or part of the rules at any time. An explicit notice concerning the changes to the users is not absolutely necessary. Platform users are invited to consult the current valid version of the rules and, in case of non-approval, request the operators to disable their account.

If future changes are not accepted by a user, the UniConnect operators reserve the right to withdraw the user’s access privileges.

Last update: 03.04.2020