Getting Started

Privacy on the OpenLab

We take privacy seriously on the OpenLab, which is why we have many different options for choosing what you want to share and with whom.

Using your name on the OpenLab

It is the OpenLab’s policy that members of the OpenLab are able to choose how they represent themselves online, including username and display name, for privacy, security, and identity reasons. That means that new members should think carefully about how they want to identify themselves and the degree to which they feel comfortable using some version of their given name or if they prefer a pseudonym. Site administrators can identify group members in the site dashboard by full name and email address, rather than needing to rely on username to identify members, so members should not be asked to change their username or display name for identification purposes.

You choose your username when you first sign up for the OpenLab. You only use it to log in, but it will appear publicly in a few places on the OpenLab.

Your display name is publicly visible throughout the site.  It is displayed on your profile page, and in other areas (for instance, when you post or comment on a Site). When communicating with other members on the OpenLab, please make sure to refer to them by their display name, even if you know their real name.

Private Information screenshot

Your username cannot be changed, but you can change your display name at any time.

You are asked for your full name when you sign up, so that course, project, or club administrators can see who you are when you contribute, as shown below (for example, professors can easily evaluate student work as part of a course), but your full name is not automatically displayed anywhere else.

Users page on dashboard showing user names

Whether you use your real name or a pseudonym online (on the OpenLab or any social networking site), it’s good to keep in mind the pros and cons of each.

Have you ever googled yourself and been dismayed that the top results were from,, or include other people with your name? One of the benefits of posting work under your real name is that you can begin to influence what appears when people search for you.  It’s also a good way to start building an academic or professional online presence, and to connect with others in your field.

If you’re unsure whether you want your public work on the OpenLab to be searchable, you can decide whether or not you want to have your real name associated with it.  For example, you might use a display name that is different from your real name, or just includes part of it.   And, you can always change your mind later.  Please note, however, that if you are working on a private site, the content you post there is not accessible to search engines.

Sharing information on the OpenLab

Some spaces on the OpenLab are public for all to see, while others are private to members of a particular group, or to members of the City Tech OpenLab community. The majority of OpenLab members are current or former City Tech students, faculty, and staff. There are a few other community members as well, including students  from other CUNY campuses  and faculty or staff from CUNY or other universities who are working with someone at City Tech. 

Your Profile on the OpenLab is public. When you sign up, make sure you only include information that you’re comfortable sharing with everyone. You can edit your profile at any time. 

Courses, projects, clubs, and portfolios can have a variety of privacy settings; the settings used are clearly shown on the Profile. Make sure to think about the information you share on the OpenLab, keeping in mind the privacy settings of the space you are working in. 

Never share confidential information such as your address, social security number, or other personally identifying information on the OpenLab, even if the space you are working in is private.

Changing privacy settings for a course, project, club profile and site

If you are the administrator of a course, project, club, or portfolio, you can change the privacy settings as needed. The profile and site both have different controls for privacy so that you can have different settings for each.  However, if you change one, you should also remember to change the other as well.  Read about changing privacy settings in a course, project, club, portfolio, or ePortfolio in more detail.

If you are not the administrator and have a question or concern about the settings, contact the administrator or the OpenLab team

Your data on the OpenLab

Members of the OpenLab control the materials they post on the OpenLab, and retain access to their OpenLab accounts after they leave. 

We do not delete member accounts or data except in rare circumstances, such as repeated posting of inappropriate materials (see Community Guidelines). If you wish to delete your account and/or any associated data you are free to do so at any time. Please contact us if you need assistance with deleting your account or data. 

You can find Frequently Asked Questions about accessing your OpenLab account in OpenLab Help.

Questions about privacy on the OpenLab?

Contact the OpenLab team anytime at

Section on using real names vs. pseudonyms online adapted from Michael Mandiberg’s Interactive Technology and Pedagogy syllabus at The Graduate Center, CUNY.