Information Services

Virtual Learning Environments - terms and conditions of use

By using our Virtual Learning Environments service, you are indicating that you accept and agree to abide by our terms and conditions of use. 

If you require this document in an alternative format, such as large print or a coloured background, please contact the IS Helpline.  

Virtual Learning Environments are provided to support the learning and teaching activities of the University.  These terms and conditions together with the documents referred to within them (“Terms and Conditions”) govern the use of the Virtual Learning Environments service. 

The Virtual Learning Environment Service 

Who may use the service 

  1. The University of Edinburgh (“the University”, “we”) provides Virtual Learning Environments platforms for its students, members of staff and registered visitors (the “user”, “you”) to support the learning and teaching activities of the University 

Access to the service 

  1. Access to a Virtual Learning Environment is permitted on a temporary basis, and we reserve the right to withdraw or amend the service we provide without notice where necessary.  From time to time, we may restrict access to one or more Virtual Learning Environments, in part or in whole, for example where we are conducting maintenance work, or are considering a takedown request.  By default, Virtual Learning Environment course sites are created as private sites and are only accessible to the students and staff enrolled on those courses.  Access to view course content is at the discretion of the course staff.   

Use of your personal data  

  1. The Staff Privacy Policy and Student Privacy Policy detail how we use information about you.   

Advice on using the service, including on website accessibility 

  1. We will provide advice and guidance on how to use the service within the service’s help and support webpages

  1. Virtual Learning Environments are designed to have a high degree of web accessibility as standard. We will provide advice and guidance on creating accessible content.  We will also provide advice and guidance to support any requests for alternative formats.  

Content is not monitored 

  1. The University does not routinely monitor content on Virtual Learning Environments.  The Virtual Learning Environment service team may view content on request from staff, students or registered visitors in order to help them use the service.  We may also review content where we receive notification that the content somehow contravenes these terms of use.   

  • Any views expressed within content held on this service are those of the contributor(s), and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University in respect of any particular issue. 
  • We have the right to restrict access to, remove, or edit any material or posting you make on Virtual Learning Environments if, in our opinion, such material does not comply with the provisions set out in these Terms and Conditions.  We will do this in accordance with the Virtual Learning Environments Takedown Policy.   
  • We shall fully co-operate with any law enforcement authorities or court order requesting or directing us to disclose the identity or locate anyone posting any material in breach of the provisions set out below.  

Retention or deletion of content when you leave the University 

  1. The University will retain the right to continue to use and display existing content created by an employee within a Virtual Learning Environment after that employee leaves the University.  The University will delete content created by a student when that student leaves the University, in line with the relevant data retention policy, unless specific permission has been granted by the student for the University to retain the content, or the content is assessed and an assessment retention schedule applies.    

Your responsibilities 

Accept these terms and conditions 

  1. By using Virtual Learning Environments you indicate that you accept the Terms and Conditions and that you agree to abide by them as a “user” of the service. If you are not willing to accept these Terms and Conditions you may not use our Virtual Learning Environments.  

  1. All users with access to our Virtual Learning Environments are required to agree to abide at all times by the University’s Computing Regulations, Information Security Policy, University Web Accessibility Policy, Policy on Employee Use of Social Media or Social Media Student Handbook, and any other relevant University policy or procedure.  

Make content accessible for disabled users 

  1. You agree that you will ensure the content you add is as accessible as possible for all users, including those with disabilities.  You agree to provide content in alternative formats upon request free of charge and make any other reasonable adjustments for disabled users as required by law.  

Not use the service for certain purposes 

  1. You agree not to use a Virtual Learning Environment to:  

  • post or knowingly link to any content that is threatening, defamatory, obscene, indecent, seditious, offensive, pornographic, abusive, liable to incite racial hatred, discriminatory, menacing, scandalous, inflammatory, blasphemous, in breach of confidence, in breach of privacy or which may cause annoyance or inconvenience, although we recognise that there might be a limited number of scenarios in which such material is required to be used in a media asset for legitimate academic purposes; 

  • impersonate any person or entity or misrepresent your relationship with any person or entity;  

  • post any content that may damage the reputation of or goodwill towards the University;  

  • post any content for which you have not obtained all necessary licences and/or approvals and not cleared copyright permissions;  

  • post any content which constitutes or encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offence, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise be contrary to the law of or infringe the rights of any third party, in the UK or any other country in the world;  

  • post content in breach of UK data protection law; 

  • post any material which is technically harmful (including, without limitation, computer viruses, logic bombs, Trojan horses, worms, harmful components, corrupted data or other malicious software or harmful data);  

  • post content that could be described as harassment or bullying as defined by the University‘s Dignity and Respect Policy

Understand who holds rights within content 

  1. Generally, the University is the first owner of any copyright in works created by University employees in the normal course of their employment.  Copyright for student-created content remains with the individual student(s), except where they are creating content in an employee capacity, for example when employed as tutors or demonstrators, or working as interns.   

  • Other than personally identifiable information, which is covered under data protection legislation and policy, any material you transmit or post to a Virtual Learning Environment and which is made available publicly shall be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary. 

  • If you are a member of staff, the University shall have the right to cite, use, copy, distribute and disclose to third parties any such material for any purpose, unless the terms of a research grant or contract to which the content relates prohibit us from doing so.  

  • As copyright for content created by a student remains with the individual student, the University will only re-use student-created content where specific permission has been granted by the student.  

  • If you are neither a member of staff nor a student of the University, you retain any copyright you hold within the content that you contribute and you agree to license the University to use this material within the Virtual Learning Environment service. 

  • Where you hold rights in performance within an item of content, you agree to license the University to use the content within the Virtual Learning Environment service.   

  • If the content contains material where you do not hold some or all of the copyright, rights in performance or any other intellectual property rights, you undertake to use the material with the agreement of the rights holder or within the terms of its licence or in accordance with the exceptions to UK copyright or you undertake that the material is a public domain resource.  

 License content appropriately 

  1. By default, all rights within content that are not specifically granted are reserved and the creator has the discretion to license the content.   

  • The University encourages staff and students to share their content under an open licence (e.g. Creative Commons), with suitable modifications and safeguards, including appropriate attribution, and having obtained any permissions required from other participants or third parties whose intellectual property resides within the content.  Guidance on sharing content is contained within the Open Educational Resources Policy and Website Accessibility Policy.   

Manage access to content 

  1. By default, Virtual Learning Environment course sites are created as private sites and are only accessible to the students and staff enrolled on those courses.   

  • Access to view Virtual Learning Environment course content is at the discretion of the course staff.  

  • Course staff may enable discussion fora or other tools which allow staff and student engagement in their course sites.  If they do, they are responsible for the moderation of any comments posted and ensuring they meet the criteria for content detailed in these Terms and Conditions.   

Understand the University’s liability 

  1. The University accepts no liability for any claims, penalties, loss or expenses arising from: any reliance placed on the content; the use or inability to use Virtual Learning Environments; or any unauthorised access to or alteration to Virtual Learning Environments. This clause shall not exclude liability for death or personal injury caused by the negligence of the University.   

  1. Where there is a technical failure with a Virtual Learning Environment while you are using it to support teaching and learning, you shall use normal academic contingency procedures, for example, assessment submission extensions.  


  1. The University reserves the right to amend or replace the Terms and Conditions at any time. If we make any substantial changes we will notify you by posting a prominent notice within the Virtual Learning Environments service webpages.  


  1. The Terms and Conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the Laws of Scotland and any disputes that may arise will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Scottish courts.  

Advice and Support 

  1. Advice and support is available if Virtual Learning Environments users have any queries or concerns.  This includes advice on finding openly licensed resources, and on how to use various content privacy controls available within the Virtual Learning Environments.