Terms of Use

SparQ User Information and Terms of Use

SparQ is a password-protected online platform for project management, resource sharing, discussion, and discovery.  SparQ is maintained by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).  SparQ offers an opportunity for online learning and interaction, where participants can be inspired by new ideas and build a community of shared learning.

SparQ Terms of Use

By posting content and materials (hereinafter referred to as "content") on SparQ, users agree that they have read, understood, and agree to abide by these Terms of Use.

Each user is assigned unique log-in credentials.  Users may not share their credentials with others or allow others to use their log-in credentials to access SparQ.  Users agree to take reasonable measures to secure their log-in credentials.

All content posted on SparQ must specifically be related to the stated purposes and scope of SparQ.  HLC encourages robust dialogue concerning these topics.  All content must be presented in a professional and respectful manner.  Content that, in the sole discretion of HLC, is discriminatory, harassing, offensive, defamatory, threatening, or otherwise inappropriate is not permitted.  Users may not post content in violation of any applicable laws.

Any content on SparQ may be visible to all users.  As such, users should not include personally identifiable information in content, where possible.  By posting content on SparQ, users represent and warrant that all individuals personally identified in the content have consented to such identification for the purposes of the use on SparQ, if required, including any use of their likeness, if applicable. Users should familiarize themselves with HLC’s Guidelines for Personally Identifiable Information Submitted to HLC. Any user who believes that they have encountered personally identifiable information in content that is not aligned with these Guidelines should promptly alert HLC at sparq@hlcommission.org.

Users agree to post content in SparQ in a manner that reasonably avoids spreading viruses or malware and that reasonably avoids causing damage to SparQ, its users, and HLC.  Users will not upload any executable files, or files that contain files or programs designed to impede or destroy the functionality of any computer software or hardware, including, but not limited to, viruses, Trojan horses, worms, corrupted files or code, or spyware.

HLC may scan files as they are uploaded.  However, users of SparQ explicitly acknowledge that they are downloading files at their own risk.

By posting content on SparQ, users represent and warrant that all content posted is their original work, or that they have all the necessary permissions and rights to use the content in the manner used and to license all of the content to third-parties.  Users represent and warrant that the content, as posted, does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any person or entity.

By posting content on SparQ, users grant HLC and its representatives a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to reproduce, distribute, publish, display, transmit, adapt, modify, sell, license, prepare derivative works based upon, and otherwise use the content for any purpose, whether commercial or non-commercial, in any media, without payment to, or further permission from, user.

By posting content to SparQ, users grant HLC and its representatives the right and license to use their name and identifying information in HLC materials for internal and external audiences.  These materials include but are not limited to brochures, news releases, newsletters, and web sites.

By posting content on SparQ, and/or otherwise utilizing SparQ, users agree to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless HLC and its trustees, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, and affiliates, past or present, against any and all losses, demands, actions, suits, claims (including claims of copyright, trademark, or patent infringement), liabilities, damages, expenses and fees (including reasonable attorneys' fees) arising out of or relating to HLC's maintaining SparQ, including HLC's use of any content that the user has posted on SparQ.

Except for their own personal use, users may not use any content posted by others on SparQ without the prior written permission of HLC and/or the individual who posted the content, as applicable.  Users recognize, however, that content on SparQ may be available to all users.  HLC makes no representations about its ability to control the use of content by users.  Any user disputes about the use of content is between individual users, not HLC.

Other than as specifically detailed below, content on SparQ does not necessarily represent, and should not be considered as, the views or position of HLC.

Other than as specifically detailed below, HLC does not review or approve user content prior to the user posting the content on SparQ and does not routinely monitor content on SparQ for compliance with these Terms of Use.  

If a user believes that any content or user conduct violates these Terms of Use or is otherwise problematic, the user should promptly alert HLC at privacy@hlcommission.org.  Where possible, concerns will be addressed in a confidential manner.  Users should note, however, that information regarding such concerns may be disclosed to the user or others as necessary in order to address the issue.

HLC reserves the right to, but assumes no obligation to, immediately remove any content on SparQ, with or without notice, at any time, for any reason, including if HLC determines, in its sole discretion, that the content violates these Terms of Use.

HLC reserves the right to, but assumes no obligation to, immediately suspend or terminate a user's participation, with or without notice, at any time, for any reason, including if HLC determines, in its sole discretion that the content the user has posted on SparQ, or the user's conduct in using SparQ, violates these Terms of Use.

HLCS reserves the right to take further legal action and/or consult with law enforcement personnel where applicable.

HLC may modify these Terms of Use from time to time.  Any changes will generally be communicated with users by updating the information on this page.

A Special Note Regarding the SparQ Blog:

Some of the content on the SparQ blog is created by HLC employees and representatives.  The content is intended to be informative to users and to foster conversation amongst users.  The inclusion of content or materials on the SparQ blog should not be interpreted as an official statement of HLC regarding any HLC policy or procedure or regarding any issue related to accreditation.  Member institutions are exclusively responsible for making informed decisions regarding their compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation and all other HLC standards and requirements.