Effective Date: August 01, 2019


The Big History Project (“BHP”) is a non-commercial venture offering free, high-quality educational content, including a year-long high school social studies course, to teachers and students in an online classroom format, and to curious-minded, life-long learners through our public website. This Privacy Policy describes the privacy practices we follow when collecting and using information about you on our website (“Site”), which will vary as indicated based on whether you use the School Course component of the Site designed for classroom use, or the public portion of the Site designed for adult, life-long learners.


We understand that online privacy is important to you and are committed to protecting your privacy. The practices stated in this Privacy Policy are guided by the following principles:

  1. Our commitment to creating a safe and secure online learning experience for you.

  2. Our commitment to use your personal information solely to enable and enhance our ability to offer free educational content to you, rather than using it to gain a commercial profit.

  3. Our commitment to giving you access and control over the information you provide to us.

  4. Our commitment to creating extra precautions for Student Users, such as limiting our collection of their personal information and restricting their ability to share information with others on the Site.

  5. Our commitment to offering world-class educational content on the Site that is both free of charge and free of commercial content, such as third-party advertising.


We ask that you please read this Privacy Policy before using the Site. It describes what information we gather from you and others who visit or use the Site, how we use that information, and what we do to protect it. When you access or use the Site, certain information, including personal information, may be collected, transferred, processed, stored, and in certain circumstances, disclosed as described in this Privacy Policy. BY VISITING OR USING OUR SITE, YOU EXPRESSLY CONSENT TO THESE INFORMATION HANDLING PRACTICES.

This Privacy Policy is part of and incorporated into the Terms of Use governing your use of the Site. Capitalized terms used but not defined in this Privacy Policy have the definitions provided in the Terms of Use. Parts of the Terms of Use affect this Privacy Policy, so unless you have already done so, please review the Terms prior to using the Site. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS POLICY OR OUR TERMS OF USE, PLEASE DO NOT USE OR REGISTER FOR AN ACCOUNT ON THE SITE.


Please be aware that BHP’s services and systems are housed on servers in the United States, and the information we collect (including through cookies) is processed and stored in the United States, which may not offer the same level of privacy protection as the country where you reside or are a citizen. BY USING THE SITE AND PROVIDING INFORMATION TO US, YOU CONSENT TO THE TRANSFER TO AND PROCESSING OF THE INFORMATION IN THE UNITED STATES.


  1. The Information We Collect.
  2. Limited Collection from Student Users.
  3. Your Choice and Options Relating to Our Collection.
  4. Safety and Security Measures.
  5. How We Use Your Information.
  6. Our Information and Sharing Practices.
  7. External Links.
  8. California Minors.
  9. California Shine the Light Law.
  10. Accessing and Updating Your Personal Information.
  11. Changes to this Privacy Policy.
  12. Privacy Questions.


We collect information, including personal information, in a variety of ways depending upon how you use the Site and your account settings. The categories of information we collect are described below. If you are a Student User, see Section 2 entitled “Limited Collection from Student Users” for information on what we collect from you.

1.1 Personally Identifiable Information. When you visit the Site without creating an account, you can browse without submitting personal information about yourself. If you choose to create an account on the Site, the personally identifiable information we collect will or may include:

  • Your name, email address, password and other profile information you provide to us when registering for an account,

  • Your account and authentication information from any third-party integrated service you may use to log in to our Site,

  • Your educational institution affiliation, which may include the course subjects or grade levels you teach,

  • Your general location, such as your country of residence, and

  • Certain usage and device information (described in 1.2, below), to the extent it is linked in our log files to your personally identifiable information.

Our collection of this information allows us to establish, maintain and support your user account on the Site, and communicate with you in accordance with our Terms of Use.

1.2 Usage and Device Information. Similar to other web sites, we use tracking technologies to automatically collect certain technical information from your browser or device when you visit our Site. This data may include, but is not limited to, your IP address, browser type and language, referring/exit pages and URLs, other browser history, platform type, number of clicks, landing pages, the pages you requested and viewed, the amount of time spent on particular pages, and the date and time of your visits. Our collection of this data, described in more detail below, allows us to provide a more personalized, high-quality learning experience to you and to track usage of the Site.

1.3 Cookies. We automatically derive and collect certain data based on your interactions with us on the Site using cookies and similar technologies (collectively, “Cookies”). Our collection of data through Cookies includes information about your browser and Site usage patterns, which may include your Internet Protocol address, browser type, browser language, referring/exit pages and URLs, pages viewed, links clicked, whether you opened an email, and information about the device you use to access the Site. Our collection of this information allows us to improve your learning experience in various ways, such as to personalize our display of the Site to you, to save you time by keeping track of your progress in course materials, to “remember” whether or not you are signed in, and to provide better technical support to you.

1.4 Pixels (aka web beacons/web bugs/java script). We may use Pixels to automatically record certain technical information about your interactions with us when you visit the Site, use our educational content or otherwise engage with us. Pixels are tiny graphics (about the size of a period at the end of a sentence) with unique identifiers used to track certain online actions, movements and related information of Site users. Unlike cookies, which are stored on a user's computer hard drive, Pixels are embedded invisibly on web pages or in HTML-based emails. The data we receive through Pixels allows us to effectively promote the Site to various populations of teachers, and to optimize external ads about the Site that appear on third-party websites, which are directed to teachers.

1.5. Third Party Analytics Providers. We may collect analytics data, such as Site usage patterns, or use third-party analytics tools such as Adobe Analytics, to help us measure the Site’s traffic and usage trends and to understand more about our users in order to better operate and improve the Site. You can learn more about Adobe Analytics at and view its currently available opt-out options at We may provide these third parties with information we collect, and they may collect information from you about your use of the Site. If we provide personally identifiable information to third parties, it will, unless specifically noted otherwise, be governed by this Policy and may only be used by those third parties to help us operate or improve the Site and to provide services to us.

1.6 Location Information. We do not collect precise geolocation data from you or your device, but may collect and use information about your general location (such as any state or country of residence supplied by you when setting up your user profile) or infer your approximate location based on your IP address in order to track our general website usage or to tailor any pertinent aspects of your user or educational experience to your region.

1.7 Other Collection Practices. From time to time, we seek feedback from Teachers using the School Course component of the Site for classroom purposes. Teacher participation in educational surveys is optional, with participant responses collected in an anonymized fashion.


2.1 General. The School Course component of the Site is dedicated to providing free, online course material in the classroom by schools, school districts and teachers (collectively, “Teachers”). Teachers choosing to incorporate the use of our Site into their classrooms must first register on the Site as Teacher users. Each Teacher user receives a unique classroom code they can use to “invite” their classroom students. Teachers then instruct their respective classroom students to register on the School Course component of the Site using the pertinent classroom code. This links Teachers to their respective students for the purpose of receiving limited access to their accounts. Students of all ages, including children under the age of 13, become users of the Site upon completing the registration process in this manner (“Student Users”). Student Users of this School Course component of the Site can register as users only at the request of, and in conjunction with classroom Teachers. Below is a list of when we may collect personally identifiable information from Student Users and how and when we will provide notice and seek consent to collect the following information from Student Users in order to operate the School Course component of the Site.

2.2 Information Collected at Registration. During the registration process on the School Course Component of the Site, we may ask Student Users to provide personal information, such as name, email address, Teacher and/or classroom code, username, and password. Any personally identifiable information we receive when students register as Student Users is gathered and used by us for account administration purposes only, such as establishing and properly maintaining their account and permitting each such Student User’s Teacher to access quiz results and other coursework submitted on the Site. Student Users are not permitted to use an Integrated Service, such as Facebook, in connection with their access, registration or use of the Site.

2.3 Teacher Consent. Teachers choosing to use the School Course component of our Site are required to possess sufficient authority to consent to these collection practices on behalf of their Student Users in accordance with applicable law and prior to instructing students to register on the Site. Participating Teachers specifically agree to consent to this collection of personally identifiable information, including on behalf of any students under the age of 13, in accordance with applicable law and prior to providing their classroom code to students.

2.4 Restricted Visibility and Sharing. We take extra precautions to help Student Users avoid the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of their personal information. For example, the only interaction that can occur on the Site between Student Users and any other user is the limited access granted to each Student User’s Teacher, which permits the Teacher’s access to coursework submitted.  Other than a Student User’s own classroom teacher, Student User accounts are not visible to other users or to the public, nor are Student Users permitted to post, message or otherwise interact with other users or the public on the Site.

2.5 Writing submissions. The School Course component of the Site permits Student Users to comply with specific Teacher requirements to submit completed essays to, the essay scoring service most commonly used by classroom teachers. Teachers directing Student Users to utilize this feature of the Site are required to acknowledge and consent to this sharing of information, which may include unique identifiers for their Student Users in addition to completed writings. Material submitted in this manner will be subject to’s information practices.

2.6 Optional Surveys. From time to time, we will or may ask Teachers to help us gather feedback about the School Course component of the Site from their associated Student Users. Teacher consent to student surveys is entirely optional, with survey responses collected in an anonymized fashion and kept separate and apart from personal information of the participating Student Users.

2.7 Email Contact with Teachers. Email communication with users of the School Course component of our Site is primarily directed to Teacher Users, rather than our Student User participants.  However, BHP may, from time to time, send email to a Student User's email address in order to respond to inquiries or for account administration purposes.

2.8 Teacher and Parental Control. At any time, a Teacher, parent or guardian may inquire about our privacy practices or request that we delete any personally identifiable information that has been collected in connection with an associated Student User. When such a request is received, it may lead to the termination of the Student User's account. Teachers, Parents or guardians may make such a request by contacting us at: When requesting removal of a Student User's personally identifiable information or cancellation of a Student User's account, Teachers, parents or guardians should include the following information: Account ID (email address). To protect a Student User's privacy, we will take reasonable steps to verify a Teacher, parent or guardian's identity prior to deleting this information.


3.1 You Can Choose Not to Provide Personal Information. You may always decline to provide your personal information to us.  Registration is not required to access some of our online content. If you decide to register, you can choose to provide information that does not reasonably identify you to others by selecting a username which is not related to your actual name. You can also decline to provide any optional information in your account profile.

3.2 You May Decline Other Requests. We use personal information of our users as needed for the purposes for which it was collected or where you have consented to our use of such information. If you do not wish to provide information to us or do not wish to consent to the uses described in this Privacy Policy, please do use the Site or supply the requested information to us. 

3.3 You May Decline to Use Integrated Services. You may decline to link any account you may have with an Integrated Service, such as Facebook, when registering on the Site. If your account is registered using an Integrated Service and you have changed your mind about using your Integrated Service to create your account on the Site, you may revoke our access to any such account on any Integrated Service, such as Facebook, at any time by updating the appropriate setting in the account preferences of the respective Integrated Service. You should check your privacy settings on any Integrated Service to understand and change the information sent to us through each integrated service.

3.4 Managing Your Information or Deleting Your Account. You may access, update or delete your account at any time by signing in to the Site and clicking on your account access page.

3.5 Online Tracking Choices. Most browsers are initially set up to accept cookies, but you can reset your browser to refuse all cookies or to indicate when a cookie is being sent. However, some features and services (particularly those that require sign-in) may not function properly if your cookies are disabled. Similarly, if you choose to delete Flash objects from our site, you may not be able to access and use all or part of the site or benefit from some or all of the information offered. Although we do our best to honor the privacy preferences of our users, we are unable to respond to Do Not Track signals set by your browser at this time.

3.6 Location Information. You may be able to change the settings on your computer or mobile device to prevent it from providing us with any location data, such as your IP address from which we may infer your general location.


4.1 We use certain physical, managerial, and technical safeguards designed to preserve the security of the personal and other information we maintain in connection with your use of the Site. For example, when you enter personally identifiable information, we encrypt the transmission of that information using secure socket layer technology (SSL) or similar technologies. This, however, does not guarantee that your information may not be accessed, disclosed, altered, or destroyed by any breach of our physical, technical or managerial safeguards. In the event that any information under our control is compromised as a result of a breach of security, we will take reasonable steps to investigate the situation and will notify you, as appropriate, in accordance with pertinent laws and regulations.

4.2 Personally identifiable information collected by the Site is stored in operating environments that are safeguarded against access by the public and protected from access internally by physical and technical security measures. While these measures are helpful to safeguard your personal information after we receive it, no transmission of data over the internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.


5.1 General. We may use your personally identifiable information for the purpose of communicating with you about the Big History Project; to operate, manage, improve and conduct analysis relating to the Site; to prevent fraud or abuse, to address technical and security issues and to otherwise protect users; and to improve the Site. We will not use your personally identifiable information for commercial purposes, such as to advertise or market products or services to you either on or off the Site. We do, however, encourage Teachers to take advantage of our educational content, all of which is offered free of charge, and encourage their feedback on the learning experience we offer on the Site. This allows us to improve the educational content and overall usability of the Site over time.

5.2 Account-related Emails. We may send you emails about the Site and your account. For example, when you register, you will receive a welcome email. If our Site is temporarily unavailable, we may also send you an email notice. If you do not wish to receive these emails, you have the option to unsubscribe from our emails or cancel your account.

5.3 Non-Personally Identifiable Information. We may use non-personally identifiable information, such as anonymized and/or aggregated website usage data, in any manner that does not identify individual users for the purpose of improving the operation and management of the Site and to better understand our website usage patterns. Any non-personally identifiable information that is combined with personally identifiable information will be treated by us as personally identifiable information.

5.4 Advertising. We do not use the personally identifiable information of our users to display any targeted advertising on the Site. However, we may use third parties advertising companies to serve targeted ads to teachers, generally, on other websites, including on Facebook and other social networks, mirroring the interests of our Teacher users. These third-party ad networks also may provide advertising-related services to us, including information about you, that is included in its reporting, attribution, analytics and market research.

5.5 Please note that we use our best efforts and take precautions to avoid the collection of information for targeted advertising purposes when we believe the relevant third-party website is being used by Student Users. For example, we take steps to inhibit third party advertising networks from collecting information for targeted advertising purposes on webpages with child-directed content, such as on the YouTube video pages included in the learning materials for our Student Users.

5.5 Information Retention and Deletion. Any personally identifiable information we may collect from a Student User will be retained only so long as reasonably necessary to fulfill a request, to allow the Student User to participate in the pertinent course activity, to fulfill a request, to ensure the security of our services, or as permitted or required by law. Except for personal information relating to Student Users, which is deleted upon the earlier of course completion or a deletion request under Section 2.6, above, we will or may retain your information indefinitely, or as long as legally required or allowed. If you cancel your account, we may, but are not obligated to, delete your personal information and may continue to use or disclose it in accordance with this Policy. We may dispose of any information we collect, at our discretion and without notice, subject to applicable law.


As a non-commercial venture, BHP has no interest in using your personal information for the purpose of generating a profit. Accordingly, we will not sell or rent your personal information to third parties. We share user information, including any personal information, in the circumstances as categorized below.

6.1 Student Users. We disclose personally identifiable information collected from Student Users to their respective Teachers in connection with their classroom use of the School Course component of the Site, which is a central feature of the Site. We otherwise restrict sharing of personal information by Student Users on the Site by not allowing Student Users to post on community forums designed for Teachers, and by prohibiting Student Users from messaging other users on the Site, including their fellow classmates. 

6.2 Interest-Based Advertising. We do not display any targeted advertising on the Site. However, we will or may use third-party advertising services, such as Facebook, to display external ad content promoting the availability of the Site to teachers, generally, based on interest profiles aligning with current Teacher users.

6.3 Site and Services. We may disclose your non-personally identifiable information to an affiliated person or third-party service providers assisting us in the operation, management, improvement, research and analysis of the Site, and the creation of related educational offerings. Affiliated persons or our third-party service providers may augment, extend, and combine this non-personally identifiable information with data from additional third-party sources in order to assist us with the above. In some instances, these third parties may be colleges, universities or companies that help us review, grade or evaluate student submissions, review grader quality and consistency, or develop and improve other aspects of the Site. Use of information by affiliated persons, teachers and third party service providers will be subject to this Privacy Policy or an agreement that is at least as restrictive as this Privacy Policy.

6.4 Legal Requirements. We reserve the right to disclose all information collected via the Site, internally or by third parties, for any lawful purpose or to prevent harm to us or others. For example, and without limitation, in our discretion we may disclose information to government regulators, law enforcement authorities or alleged victims of identity theft. We will notify the affected party (e.g. Student User or Teacher) in the event of a government or legal request for their information.

6.5 Organizational Transitions. If we should ever transfer or restructure the operational ownership of the Site, such as through a merger with another entity or a reorganization of all or a part of our operational responsibilities or assets, we may disclose, transfer, assign our rights, and/or delegate our duties to your personally identifiable information without notice and consent, including to prospective or actual recipient entities. Should this occur, we will require any third party receiving your personally identifiable information under this subsection to be contractually required to provide the same level of privacy compliance as provided by us under this Privacy Policy.

6.6 Disclaimer. We cannot ensure that all of your personally identifiable information will never be disclosed in ways not otherwise described in this Policy. For example, we may be required to disclose personal information to the government or third parties under certain circumstances, third parties may unlawfully intercept or access transmissions or private communications, or users may abuse or misuse your personal information that they collect from the Site. Even with the most rigorous information security standards, no transmission of data over the internet can be 100% secure.


The Site contains links to other sites. Any links to third-party external websites that BHP provides as part of the School Course content are vetted for age appropriate content. However, we are not responsible for any of the content of other linked websites. We are also not responsible for the privacy practices and the terms and conditions of use for any external websites. The linked sites may collect personally identifiable information from you that is not subject to our control. The data collection practices of linked sites will be governed by that site's privacy policy.


Should we provide you the ability to post information on the Site and you are a California resident who is under 18 and a registered user of the Site and are unable to remove content or information you posted on the Site by following the instructions provided on the Site, you may request removal by using the contact information provided in the "Privacy Questions" section at the bottom of this Privacy Policy. When requesting removal please be specific about the information or content you want removed and provide the URL for each page on the Site where it is located. We are not required to remove any content or information in the following situations: (a) federal or state law requires us or a third party to maintain the content or information; (b) the content or information was not posted by you, the registered user; (c) we anonymize the content or information so that you cannot be identified; (d) you don’t follow our instructions for removing or requesting removal; or (e) you received compensation or other consideration for providing the content or information. REMOVAL OF YOUR POSTED CONTENT OR INFORMATION FROM THE SITE DOES NOT ENSURE COMPLETE OR COMPREHENSIVE REMOVAL OF THAT CONTENT OR INFORMATION FROM OUR SYSTEMS OR THE SYSTEMS OF OUR SERVICE PROVIDERS. We are not required to delete the content or information posted by you; our obligations under California law are satisfied so long as we anonymize the content or information or render it invisible to other users and the public. Also, some content and information you post that has been copied or reposted by a third party is outside of our control and will not be removed.


California Civil Code Section 1798.83 permits California residents to request and obtain from us once a year, free of charge, a list of the third parties to whom we have disclosed personal information (as defined under that statute) of that California resident, for direct marketing purposes in the preceding calendar year and the categories of personal information that was disclosed to them. If you are a California resident and you wish to make such a request, you may contact us by using the contact information in the "Privacy Questions" section at the bottom of this Privacy Policy.


We do not review for accuracy or update your information regularly, but encourage you to access, review and update your personal information at any time.  To request a copy of your personal information and data or for assistance regarding canceling your account, or deleting your personal information, contact us at: We will respond to your request as soon as reasonably possible after verifying your authority to make such requests. Your requests for personal information deletion are subject to Section 5.5 and we will delete your personal information within a reasonable time. 


Because our privacy practices and privacy law necessarily evolve over time, BHP reserves the right to revise this Privacy Policy from time to time in our sole discretion, upon notice to you such as by posting updated Privacy Policy on the Site, sending you an email to your account email, or by any other reasonable means. You should periodically review this Privacy Policy to ensure that you are familiar with the most current version. Your continued use of the Site after the Effective Date posted above will constitute your acceptance of the updated Privacy Policy.


If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy or other matters that relate to it, you may contact us by sending an email to: