WHAT ARE ‘COOKIES’?
Cookies are small text files which are downloaded to your computer or mobile device when you visit a website or application. Your web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome) then sends these cookies back to the website or application on each subsequent visit so that they can recognise you and remember things like personalised details or user preferences.
Cookies are very useful and do lots of different jobs which help to make your experience on websites as smooth as possible. For example, they let you move between web pages efficiently, remembering your preferences, and generally improving your experience (see below for more examples). They can also help to ensure that adverts you see online are more relevant to you and your interests.
They are referred to as session or persistent cookies, depending on how long they are used:
WHICH COOKIES DOES Oxford Open Learning USE AND WHY?
When you use our Digital Products and Services, the following 5 categories of cookies may be set on your device:
1. ‘Strictly necessary’ cookies
These cookies are essential in helping you to move around our websites and use their features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services you have asked for, cannot be provided. These cookies do not gather information about you that could be used for marketing or remembering where you’ve been on the internet.
Some examples of these essential cookies include:
2. Functional cookies
These cookies allow websites and applications to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you are in) and provide enhanced, more personal features. The information these cookies collect is usually anonymised which means we can’t identify you personally. They do not gather any information about you that could be used for selling advertising or remembering where you’ve been on the internet, but do help with serving advertising.
We use these types of cookies to improve your experience on our Digital Products and Services. Some examples of how we do this include:
If you would like a list of the functional cookies used by Oxford Open Learning or have any further questions, you can use the form on our ‘Contact us’ page which can be found here.
3. Analytics cookies
In order to keep Oxford Open Learning’s Products and Services relevant, easy to use and up-to-date, we use web analytics services to help us understand how people use them. For example, we can see which parts of the Digital Products and Services are most popular, identify when errors occur, and test different versions of a page or feature to see which one works best.
These web analytics services may be designed and operated by other companies on our behalf. They do this using small invisible images known as “web beacons” or “tracking pixels” that may be included in the Digital Products and Services. These are used to count the number of times something has been seen. These web beacons are anonymous and do not contain or collect any information that identifies you.
Cookies allow web analytics services to recognise your browser or device and, for example, identify whether you have visited our Digital Products and Services before, what you have previously viewed or clicked on, and how you found us. The information is anonymous and only used for statistical purposes. It allows us to track information, such as how many individual users we have and how often they visit our websites. It also helps us to analyse patterns of user activity and to develop a better user experience. For example, we might see that many people who viewed Programme A also viewed Programme B and we can then recommend Programme B to everyone else who viewed Programme A.
Web analytics data and cookies cannot be used to identify you as they never contain personal information such as your name or email address. However, if you have registered and signed in to our Digital Products and Services, we may combine information from your registration with the data we get from the web analytics service and its cookies (or similar technologies) to analyse how you and other people use our Digital Products and Services in detail and, where you have opted in to receive such communications, to send you email and other communications that might be of interest to you. The combined information may include information that is collected by the web analytics services while you are not signed in, and information that was collected using cookies and similar technologies before you registered or signed in.
4. Targeting cookies
Without these cookies, online advertisements you encounter will be less relevant to you and your interests. If you would like more information about OBA, including how to opt-out of these cookies, please visit www.youronlinechoices.com.
5. Other third party cookies
HOW TO CONTROL YOUR COOKIES
However, there are various ways that you can control and manage your cookies which are discussed in a bit more detail below. Please remember that any settings you change will not just affect Oxford Open Learning cookies. These changes will apply to all websites that you visit (unless you choose to block cookies from particular sites).
Managing cookies in your browser
Most modern browsers will allow you to:
You should be aware that any preferences will be lost if you delete cookies. Ironically, this includes where you have opted out from cookies, as this requires an opt-out cookie to be set. Also, if you block cookies completely many websites will not work properly and some functionality on these websites will not work at all. We do not recommend turning cookies off when using our Digital Products and Services for these reasons.
If you are primarily concerned about third party cookies generated by advertisers, you can turn these off separately. This is discussed in more detail below.
The links below take you to the ‘Help’ sections for each of the major browsers so that you can find out more about how to manage your cookies.
Managing analytics cookies
It is possible to opt out of having your anonymised browsing activity within websites recorded by analytics cookies. Oxford open Learning uses the following analytics providers and you can opt out of their cookies by clicking on the following links. Please note that this will take you to the relevant third party’s website and generate a ‘no thanks’ cookie, which will stop any further cookies being set by those third parties.
Don’t forget that by not allowing analytics cookies, this stops us from being able to learn what people like or don’t like about our Digital Products and Services so that we can make them better.
Managing flash cookies
The most common types of cookies are HTTP cookies. You can control these using the mechanisms described above. As well as HTTP cookies, there are other technologies which work in a similar way to cookies called Flash Local Stored Objects (LSOs). Some parts of Oxford Open Learning’s Digital Products and Services use LSOs and these can be controlled manually by visiting the Adobe website:
LSOs may be used to store user preferences for media player functionality and without them some video content may not play properly. We therefore do not recommend turning these cookies off when visiting Oxford Open Learning’s websites.