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College web standards are necessary to ensure that the Howard Community College (HCC) website accurately and effectively promotes HCC’s identity and mission in a secure environment.  Employing a consistent, professional style and coherent organization of information is important to our users’ experience of the website.  Although the college is the sum of many different departments, we want people who visit the site to think of HCC as a whole—one institution with one voice.  All individuals involved in developing and maintaining the college’s presence on the Internet are expected to abide by all applicable policies with regard to content.

A.  Disclaimer – Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the information presented on HCC websites, errors, omissions, and technical limitations may occur.  HCC provides this information "as is" and without warranty.  Howard Community College disclaims all warranties either expressed or implied.  The information provided on HCC websites is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a contract with the college.  HCC reserves the right to change or remove information from college websites without notice.  Hypertext links to websites that are not hosted by HCC are provided as a convenience and should not be considered an endorsement or credibility of the service, information, or product offered through the linked sites.  HCC reserves the right to remove any page on its website that does not observe the restrictions or provisions set forth by the college.

B.  Representation – Each HCC web page is an official representation of the college.  All information presented must comply with existing laws and college policies.  Published information must also adhere to federal and state laws pertaining to security and privacy.  These legal requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
  2. Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act
  3. Maryland State Law  protecting the transmission of student confidential information
  4. Payment Card Industry (PCI) level 3 security
  5. Heath Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996

C.  Current Content – Information appearing on the college website is the responsibility of the originating department.  Each department is responsible for reviewing and updating content. 

D.  Inappropriate Content – The following Information is inappropriate for publication to the college web:

  1. Copyrighted information without written consent of the owner, such as text images, and graphics.
  2. Libelous information to groups or individuals.
  3. Language that is abusive, profane, or sexually offensive in nature.
  4. Confidential student information, including grades, social security numbers, addresses, and phone numbers.
  5. Personal and professional information that is not related to Howard Community College.

E.  Removal of Content – The vice president of information technology will direct the removal of any content or material that does not adhere to HCC policies regarding appropriate content, logo imagery, and copyright standards.

F.  Security – HCC’s website must use secure socket layer (SSL) encryption to collect or process confidential information submitted by students or other users.   

G.  Privacy – The college will not collect personal information about visitors unless the person affirmatively chooses to make such information available.  The college web server automatically recognizes only the Internet domain and Internet protocol (IP) address from which a visitor accesses the website.  This information will not result in the identification of personal e-mail addresses or other personal information.  However, information regarding the volume and timing of access to the website is collected.  This information is collected to improve the content of the college website and is not shared with other organizations.  Only aggregate information is collected and visitors’ personal information is not identified.  If a visitor chooses to share personal information with the college—by sending a message, or filling out an electronic form with personal information—the college will use the information only for the purposes intended.  Information will not be disclosed to other third parties or government agencies, unless required to do so by local, state, or federal laws.  The college will publish this privacy policy statement on its website.

H.  Professional Pages – Web pages developed by faculty and staff constitute an important means of formulating and conveying knowledge to prospective students, current students, stakeholders, and to the world at large.  Therefore, it is the policy of HCC that all full-time faculty and authorized staff are entitled to use the college website for publication of their professional information.  Authors of professional pages are responsible for maintaining content and must strive to maintain high standards of intellectual and academic integrity.  Faculty and staff are responsible for compliance with existing federal, state, and local laws, including, but not limited to, copyright law and laws regarding privacy of student information.

I.  Hosting Websites for External Entities – Websites for non-profit external organizations (college affiliates, student organizations, professional associations, and community organizations) may be hosted on college servers only when the entity has a relationship with the college that supports the college teaching, research, or service missions.  Such a relationship may be demonstrated by one or more of the following:

  1. The entity is an organization of which the college itself is a member.
  2. The entity is an organization of which a faculty or staff member is a member, and the president or relevant vice president approves the hosting as being in support of the college’s teaching, research, or service missions.
  3. The college has, or enters into, a contractual relationship for the hosting with the entity.

The president's team approves requests to host websites for external entities.  The college is not responsible for development, content maintenance, or administration of an external site hosted on college’s servers.  An appointed campus liaison will coordinate communication with college staff regarding required technical support and other related hosting issues.

J.  External Content Published on the College's Website - The college does not place third-party information, content, or logos on its web pages, unless there is an explicit relationship that supports the mission of the college.  The president's team considers requests for publication of the third-party information on its website upon receipt of a written request that demonstrates benefit to the college and its students.  Considerations also include cost, content, and duration of publication.

K.  Web Steering Committee – The vice president of information technology will designate a cross-disciplinary web steering committee to provide guidance and counsel to the web development team in areas of policy and strategic planning.  The committee will convene as required.  Specifically, the web steering committee:

  1. Assists in formulating objectives for the web.
  2. Provides guidance related to web policy and planning.
  3. Reviews and validates major design changes.

Policy Manual Review/Revision:  11/12/10