SOA Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates
This Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates (Terms and Conditions) applies to all Society of Actuaries (SOA) e-Learning accessed and/or delivered on the SOA e-Learning system, and to participation in or use of Explorer. This includes but is not limited to: the Fundamentals of Actuarial Practice (FAP) course; FSA modules; the Decision Making and Communication (DMAC) module; any associated exercises and assessments; and any interaction among or use by e-Learning Candidates in connection with Explorer.
The term “course” includes all modules, exercises, assessments and all associated materials delivered by the SOA e-Learning system. The term “assessment” refers to the FAP Interim Assessment and Final Assessment and the DMAC Assignment. The term “submission” refers to any document uploaded to the e-Learning system such as End-of-Module Exercises and assessments. “Explorer” includes online programs and services providing information about e-Learning Candidates and/or facilitating contact and interaction within the Learning Companion.
The standards set forth in these Terms and Conditions may seem stricter than those to which you are accustomed in other examination and e-Learning environments. The SOA maintains these strict standards because the courses, assessments and submissions are such a significant part of a candidate’s career. Therefore, equitable administration of SOA e-Learning and enforcement of the highest standards of conduct cannot be emphasized too strongly.
The SOA retains the right to modify these Terms and Conditions at any time with or without advance notice. All e-Learning registrants are required to comply with the most recently posted version of the Terms and Conditions.
This Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates describes:
- SOA e-Learning Course Policy
- Use of e-Learning Course Materials
- SOA e-Learning System Access
- FAP Interim Assessment
- FAP Final Assessment
- Learning Companion Participation and Use
- e-Learning Explorer Participation
- Disciplinary Action for Candidates
- Plagiarism, Collusion and Collaboration
- Control of Work Product
- Examples of Improper Conduct
- Process to Report Rule Infractions and Improper Conduct
- Disclosing Violations to Other Actuarial Organizations
- Effective Period
- Course Withdrawal
- Responsibility for Loss
- General Disclaimer and SOA Rights
SOA E-Learning Course Policy
To begin any SOA e-Learning course you must attest that you have read and agreed to the terms and conditions contained in these Terms and Conditions.
Use of E-Learning Course Materials
All e-Learning course materials, along with references used in or related to the courses, are the property of the SOA or of third parties and used with permission granted to the SOA and may only be used in the manner detailed in these Terms and Conditions. Permission to use the material in any other way must be obtained in writing from the SOA and/or copyright holder of the material. These materials are for the sole use of individuals registered for the course, or others as approved by the SOA.
As an e-Learning course registrant, you may view and read all materials related to your registered courses that are part of the SOA e-Learning system. You may also print any or all screen and pdf file pages for your personal use in taking the course, but you may not share, communicate, publish, or in any manner distribute to other parties the course materials, your User ID and password, reference material provided through the e-Learning system, links or any other materials.
The restrictions on the use of any e-Learning course materials apply upon registration for a course, while you are taking a course, and upon and after completing, withdrawing from, or terminating a course.
SOA E-Learning System Access
You agree that you will not use any robot, spider or other device, process, or means to access the SOA e-Learning system. Nor shall you use any process to monitor or copy our web pages or the content contained thereon or for any other unauthorized purpose without our prior express written permission. You agree that you will not compromise or circumvent the security controls of the SOA e-Learning system, or otherwise gain unauthorized access to SOA e-Learning system information. You agree that you will not use any device, software, or routine that interferes with the proper working of the SOA e-Learning system, nor shall you attempt to interfere with the proper working of the SOA e-Learning system. You agree that you will not take any action that imposes an unreasonable or disproportionately large load on the SOA infrastructure.
FAP Interim Assessment
The FAP Interim Assessment is a measure of your understanding and application of the key concepts presented in Modules 1-5. You must register in advance of taking the Interim Assessment. You may not access the FAP Interim Assessment until you have successfully completed Modules 1-5. Once registered and eligible, the FAP Interim Assessment is available to you on demand.
You may not give or receive any assistance on the Interim Assessment. You may not discuss the content of, or your responses to, the Interim Assessment with any others, including, but not limited to, peers and supervisors. This includes discussion via the Learning Companion or any other communication vehicle, including but not limited to communication facilitated by Explorer, whether or not in person. Distributing Interim Assessment materials is strictly prohibited. You may access the course material as you are completing the Interim Assessment. There is no supervisor involvement with the Interim Assessment. You will attest that the work submitted reflects your own work and that you have not shared, communicated, published or distributed in any manner any materials to other parties.
By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions upon course registration, you agree to have all submissions checked for plagiarism, improper collaboration, collusion, and improper conduct at any time, even after a grade or designation is issued, and by whatever mechanism the SOA deems appropriate.
Once downloaded, the FAP Interim Assessment must be completed within a specified period of time. Interim Assessments not submitted in the required template within the specified timeframe will not be accepted and a failing grade will be issued. Sharing, communicating, publishing or distributing the FAP Interim Assessment materials in any manner is strictly prohibited.
FAP Final Assessment
The FAP Final Assessment is a measure of your understanding and application of the key concepts presented throughout the FAP course, with emphasis on Modules 6-8. You must register in advance of taking the Final Assessment. You may not access the Final Assessment until you have successfully completed Modules 1-8 and received credit for the Interim Assessment. Once registered and eligible, the FAP Final Assessment is available to you on demand.
You must register for the FAP Final Assessment and identify a Fellow (FSA) of the SOA, or other SOA approved supervisor, to supervise the download and upload of your Final Assessment and attest to their belief that your submission represents your own work. You must not be related to your supervisor.
You may discuss the Final Assessment with any others including peers and supervisors, via the Learning Companion. Your actual submission however, must be a result of your own work and in your own words.
By agreeing to these Terms and Conditions upon course registration, you agree to have all submissions checked for plagiarism, improper collaboration, collusion, and improper conduct at any time, even after a grade or designation is issued, and by whatever mechanism the SOA deems appropriate.
Once downloaded, the FAP Final Assessment must be completed within a specified period of time. Final Assessments not submitted in the required template within the specified timeframe will not be accepted and a failing grade will be issued. Sharing, communicating, publishing, or distributing the FAP Final Assessment materials in any manner is strictly prohibited.
Learning Companion Participation and Use
“Learning Companion” shall mean the online tool provided by the Society of Actuaries (“SOA”) that allows Users to engage with each other in real-time, either through groups related to the examinations, modules, and/or assessments they are currently enrolled in, or through direct messages to other Users. The SOA may add new features and educational resources to Learning Companion from time to time.
Proper Use of Learning Companion
- Users are encouraged to use Learning Companion for appropriate collaboration and discussion on approved assessments and modules, including FAP modules, FSA modules, the FAP Final Assessment, and as otherwise permitted under the Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates. All use of the Learning Companion should follow the letter and spirit of the Code of Professional Conduct and/or SOA's Code of Conduct for Candidates, as applicable.
- Users may not use or attempt to use Learning Companion for commercial purposes. Contacts and communications initiated through Learning Companion may not include advertisements for goods or services, "spam," solicitations, chain letters, surveys, pyramid schemes or other material considered unprofessional.
- Users should not use Learning Companion to harass, discriminate against, or otherwise bother other Users, entities, or individuals displayed in Learning Companion. Users may not use Learning Companion in a manner or for a purpose that could violate federal or state antitrust laws. Users may not use Learning Companion to promote or provide instructional information about illegal activities or for any purpose that may be illegal.
- Misusing Learning Companion to engage in improper collaboration, sharing, discussion on assessments/modules where discussion is not allowed, and/or sharing your module/assessment materials through Learning Companion is a violation of these Learning Companion terms and the Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates, and may also be a violation of the applicable code of conduct.
SOA Monitoring of Learning Companion
- The SOA monitors the discussion in the Group forums only for compliance with these Learning Companion terms and the Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates. The purpose of the Learning Companion is to provide a place for Users to connect; SOA staff and volunteers will not be participating in the groups’ discussions.
- The SOA values and respects your privacy, and DOES NOT monitor the private direct message feature. All communications through those channels are considered private and confidential to the Users involved. However, all Users are reminded of their responsibility to notify the SOA of any action or communication that violates these Learning Companion terms and/or the Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates, which may necessarily include screenshots of direct messages involved in the violation.
Proprietary Rights and License
- All trademarks, copyright, and other intellectual property rights of any nature in Learning Companion together with the underlying software code are owned either directly by the SOA or by their licensors. Information contained in Learning Companion may not be copied, reproduced, republished or sold, posted, transmitted, distributed, modified, used for the creation of mailing lists, or used for the creation of derivative works without SOA's prior written consent. The SOA grants User a non-exclusive, non-transferable, limited license to access, display and/or download information from Learning Companion solely on User's computer and for User's personal, non-commercial use and in accordance with these terms and the Terms and Conditions Agreement for e-Learning Candidates..
Conditions of Use
- User will not, nor allow third parties on your behalf, to (i) make and distribute copies of Learning Companion; (ii) attempt to copy, reproduce, alter, modify, reverse engineer, disassemble, decompile, transfer, exchange or translate Learning Companion; (iii) create derivative works of Learning Companion of any kind whatsoever; (iv) use Learning Companion in any unlawful manner, for any unlawful purpose, or in any manner inconsistent with these Learning Companion terms, or act fraudulently or maliciously for example by hacking into or inserting malicious code into Learning Companion or other operating systems; (v) or use Learning Companion in a way that could damage, disable, overburden, impair or compromise the SOA, its systems or security or interfere with other Users.
- Learning Companion is currently made available to User for your personal, non-commercial use. The SOA reserves the right, in its sole discretion, at any time and for any reason, to (i) amend or withdraw Learning Companion, (ii) change the terms and conditions upon which Learning Companion is provided, (iii) charge for Learning Companion in accordance with these Learning Companion terms, (iv) or, without notice, terminate or otherwise limit User’s access to Learning Companion in the event that the SOA believes that the User is in breach of or has failed to comply with any of Learning Companion terms.
- If you use Learning Companion on your mobile device, you should remember that your terms of agreement with your mobile network provider will still apply. As a result, you may be charged by your mobile provider for the cost of data for the duration of the connection while accessing Learning Companion. The SOA accepts no liability for any charges or fees associated with mobile use of Learning Companion.
- The SOA will use reasonable efforts to make Learning Companion available at all times. However, User acknowledges Learning Companion may be affected by factors outside of the SOA’s reasonable control and may be rendered unavailable during periods of maintenance. The SOA does not accept any responsibility whatsoever for unavailability of Learning Companion, or any difficulty or inability to access content or any other communication system failure which may result in Learning Companion being unavailable.
- The SOA provides support and maintenance for Learning Companion. Support for Learning Companion can be accessed by contacting eLearn@SOA.org. The SOA will not be responsible for ensuring 100% availability of Learning Companion. Support requests will be responded to within approximately two business days.
Disclaimer of Warranties
- Participation in or use of Learning Companion is voluntary and is provided only as a service to Users. The SOA is not responsible for any connections or interactions established using the tool. The SOA is not responsible for the security of information posted on or obtained from Learning Companion. Participation in Learning Companion is done for the User’s own benefit and at the User’s own risk. The SOA makes no warranty, guarantee, or representation as to the accuracy or sufficiency of the information provided through Learning Companion.
- The SOA disclaims all express and implied warranties with regard to Learning Companion. Learning Companion is provided "as is" and "as available". THE SOA EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, CONSEQUENTIAL OR OTHER DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF ANY USER'S USE OF, REFERENCE TO, RELIANCE ON, OR INABILITY TO USE, LEARNING COMPANION OR THE INFORMATION PRESENTED IN LEARNING COMPANION.
E-Learning Explorer Participation
The e-Learning Explorer provides e-Learning candidates with the option of sharing information with other e-Learning candidates to facilitate interaction within the Learning Companion. e-Learning candidates may choose to share their name, mailing address, email address, social networks and e-Learning courses.
Participation in Explorer is voluntary and is subject to all rules and regulations contained in the Explorer Terms and Conditions.
Strictly prohibited activities include, but are not limited to:
- Malicious, offensive or obscene language or conduct
- Defamatory comments about others
- Harassing language or conduct
- Using Explorer to pursue non-professional contact or interaction
- Language or conduct that denigrates any candidate or other person because of their race, religion, gender, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law
- Unauthorized sharing or distribution of proprietary, confidential, privileged or otherwise restricted information
- Communications with competitors about prices or terms of service
- Communications in violation of federal or state antitrust laws
- Using Explorer for personal commercial gain, including advertisements or self-promotions; this restriction does not apply to serious responses to employment opportunities provided through the “Jobs” feature
- Contacting Explorer participants concerning job openings or to seek employment; candidates seeking employment may respond to employment opportunities that are available through the “Jobs” function only; employers or others seeking to hire Explorer participants may post their job opportunity in the SOA Job Center
- Disclosure, reproduction, reprinting, distribution or forwarding of candidate information
- Providing any false information, including, but not limited to identity and contact information
- Discussing or sharing information concerning the FAP Interim Assessment with others, including, but not limited to peers and supervisors
- Unauthorized distribution or sharing of any SOA materials
- Plagiarism or any other form of cheating
- Participation in or use of Explorer is voluntary and is provided only as a means of facilitating interaction within the Learning Compantion. The SOA cannot and does not monitor these interactions. Nor is it responsible for the security of information posted on or obtained from Explorer. Participation in Explorer is done for your own benefit and at your own risk. Neither the SOA nor the individuals or companies participating in Explorer are responsible for or make any representations or guarantees with regard to the accuracy, completeness, security or suitability of the posted information, and they assume no responsibility or liability for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential, or other damages arising out of any individual’s participation in Explorer.
The SOA’s Rights
- The SOA retains the right, but not the obligation, to deny or discontinue any individual’s access to or listing in Explorer if it determines, at its sole discretion, that doing so is in the SOA’s best interests.
Failure to adhere to the Terms and Conditions will result in disciplinary action by the SOA’s Education Committee. Further discipline is possible under the Candidate Code of Conduct for candidates who are not SOA members, or the Member Code of Conduct for candidates who are also members of the SOA.
Disciplinary Action For Candidates
Cheating, any attempt to cheat, assisting others to cheat, participating in cheating in any manner, engaging and/or attempting to engage in any improper conduct, such as described in the examples listed below, is a serious violation, resulting in the disqualification of your submission and subjecting you to SOA disciplinary action. In addition to submission disqualification, disciplinary actions for violations include, but are not limited to, a prohibition against continuing with the course(s), other SOA examinations, and/or e-Learning courses for a specified period, ranging from one year to a lifetime ban. If your e-Learning course expires during or after your ban, you will be required to re-purchase the course and all previously completed exercises will need to be redone and submitted for grading.
Individuals who violate any Learning Companion or Explorer rules will be subject to the full range of disciplinary action, up to and including a lifetime ban.
The SOA reserves the right to initiate disciplinary actions at any time, even if you have already completed and earned credit for a course or assessment and have obtained the ASA or FSA designation. A designation earned under false pretenses will be revoked. In the event of a designation removal, notification of such action may be posted on the SOA Web site and may be published in The Actuary publication.
A complete description of the SOA disciplinary procedures is posted on Discipline section of the SOA Web site.
Plagiarism, Collusion and Collaboration
Plagiarism is a form of cheating and is strictly prohibited on all e-Learning submissions. The SOA uses the following definition of plagiarism from Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition:
To plagiarize is “to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own: use (a created production) without crediting the source: to commit literary theft: present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.”
Collusion is a form of cheating and is strictly prohibited on all e-Learning submissions. The SOA uses the following definition of collusion from Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition:
Collusion is a “secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose.”
Collaboration is allowed on the FAP and FSA End-of-Module exercises, Final Assessment and DMAC Assignment but the work submitted must be in your own words. Submitting work that is not in your own words is considered improper collaboration and a form of cheating and is strictly prohibited on all e-Learning submissions. The SOA uses the following definition of collaboration from Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary,10th Edition:
Collaboration is defined as “to work jointly with others or together especially in an intellectual endeavor.”
Control of Work Product
Failing to secure your work product may result in your work being plagiarized by other candidates. You are required to maintain control of your work product by not giving copies of your work to others or placing your work on a network drive, a shared computer, a supervisor’s computer, etc. In cases where plagiarism has occurred in this manner the owner of the work product will be subject to disciplinary action in addition to the candidate(s) who unlawfully obtained the work product. Tips for securing your work product are listed below.
- Password protect your work documents during development (remove password prior to submission)
- Do not save your files to a public or network drive
- Avoid printing out work files on a shared printer
- Maintain control of and secure portable storage devices (flash drives, etc.)
- Do not provide study partners or others with copies of your work
By registering for a course, you must adhere to these Terms and Conditions and agree to have all submissions checked for plagiarism, improper collaboration, collusion, and improper conduct at any time, even after a grade or designation is issued and by whatever mechanism the SOA deems appropriate.
With regard to material from published sources, the SOA will accept the use of ideas from legitimate published sources without citation if it is properly integrated into a response and not simply copied word-for-word. Language or information that is included in a submission that is essentially copied word-for-word from a legitimate published source must be in quotation marks and the source referenced within that paragraph. In addition, you should be aware that no end-of-module exercise or e-Learning assessment can be adequately answered using the “cut-and-paste” method.
Examples of Improper Conduct (These Examples Are Not An Exclusive List Of Prohibited Conduct):
- Gaining access to the SOA e-Learning system prior to course registration.
- Plagiarizing, improperly collaborating and/or colluding on the FAP or FSA End-of-Module Exercise(s) submissions, the FAP Interim Assessment, FAP Final Assessment or DMAC Assignment, copying, or using another person’s work, whether done online, in person, or otherwise.
- Use of language or information that has been copied from or relied upon from any SOA model solution (including earlier versions of the assignment), any other candidate submission or a solution prepared by another party.
- Copying from a source without proper citation.
- Gaining access to FAP or FSA End-of-Module Exercise model solutions prior to exercise submission.
- Failing to secure work documents (e.g., storing your files on a publicly accessible network).
- Discussing or consulting other persons regarding the FAP Interim Assessment, whether done online, in person, or otherwise.
- Gaining access to the e-Learning system using another candidate’s User ID and password.
- Providing your e-Learning system User ID and password to another candidate.
- Taking the course, FAP or FSA End-of-Module Exercises, FAP Interim Assessment, FAP Final Assessment or DMAC Assignment for another candidate or arranging for or permitting another person to take the course, End-of-Module Exercises, FAP Interim Assessment, FAP Final Assessment or DMAC Assignment for another candidate.
- Disclosing, publishing or posting the contents of any assessment or model solution.
- Presenting false information on the course or assessment applications.
- Submitting unrelated documents in place of the required End-of-Module Exercises, assessments or projects.
- Purchasing or selling (or attempting to purchase or sell) any information or materials related to the SOA e-Learning courses.
- Submitting any false, fraudulent or misleading documentation.
- Attempting to engage or engaging in any improper conduct.
- Posting or transmitting any information or software that contains a virus, Trojan horse, worm, or other disabling device or harmful component.
- Engaging in any inappropriate conduct when participating in or using Learning Companion or Explorer.
Process to Report Rule Infractions and Improper Conduct
The SOA has instituted a process for you to report rule infractions and improper conduct of the e-Learning courses and assessments. If you believe that a candidate has violated the Exam Rules and Regulations or the Terms and Conditions for e-Learning Candidates Agreement, a written report may be submitted. The report and the name of the individual making the report will be kept confidential during the investigation process and assessment of discipline (if any). For complete information and a link to the infraction report, please click here.
The Education Committee of the SOA will investigate any irregularity or claim, or evidence that a candidate has cheated, engaged or attempted to engage in improper conduct, or failed to follow the Terms and Conditions either in letter or spirit. The SOA will not disclose to the person contacting us the results of that investigation.
Disclosing Violations To Other Actuarial Organizations
The SOA may, at its sole discretion, disclose to any other bona fide actuarial organization having a legitimate interest, the identity of any candidate determined to have committed a serious e-Learning course violation (those for which the penalty is greater than the simple discontinuation of the course or disqualification/nullification of any submission and information) about the penalties imposed on you.
Where an actuarial organization with which the SOA has a direct working relationship invokes a penalty against you for an examination or e-Learning course-related violation on an examination or e-Learning course for which the SOA is not a joint sponsor or administrator, the SOA will impose the same penalty on you with respect to e-Learning courses or writing any SOA examinations.
You will have the right to appeal the SOA’s application of the disciplinary decision of another actuarial organization. If you make such an appeal, the SOA will request, and you consent to, the transfer of your disciplinary case files including all evidence, from the other organization to the SOA for disposition of the appeal under the general provisions of the SOA disciplinary process.
If you appeal an SOA education or examination-related disciplinary penalty to another actuarial organization invoking the same penalty based on the reciprocal agreement, the SOA will provide, and you consent to providing, the relevant disciplinary case files upon receipt of written request from the organization, subject to the applicable SOA policies and procedures (and respecting the legitimate protection of the SOA attorney/client privileged communication).
You will be required to acknowledge that any appeal requires the exchange of the confidential information between the SOA and another organization and must provide written authorization for the release of the information to or by the other organization.
Access to the FAP course is effective 24 months from the date of purchase. If you are unable to complete your course within the specified time frame you may utilize up to two (2)_one year extensions, for a total access period of four years. Contact SOA Customer Service at 1-888-697-3900 for additional information. If you are unable to complete the course at the end of the extension periods, you must re-register by re-purchasing the course, and beginning again from Module 1, forfeiting all previously earned credit, including for the Interim Assessment.
All other course access is effective 12 months from the date of purchase. Up to two six-month extensions may be utilized, for a total access period of two years.
You may withdraw from an e-Learning course at any time. No refund will be issued after login to the e-Learning system. e-Learning course registrants may cancel their course registration prior to login by following the below steps:
- Go to www.soa.org, select “My Account” and select “Order History”
- Log in and select the order you wish to cancel from your order summary
- Select the “Request Cancellation” button and complete the form to submit your request
- The SOA will refund the registration fee, minus a cancellation fee of $100 (U.S.).
- You will receive your refund (less the administration fee) in 2-4 weeks.
- No refunds will be issued for e-Learning course registrants who fail to correctly cancel online.
- Cancellation requests must be received no later than three months following receipt of your original order.
Questions regarding course withdrawal can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responsibility For Loss
You are responsible for and will indemnify and hold the SOA harmless from and against any and all liability, claims, and losses relating to your actions in connection with taking the e-Learning courses and assessments, your violation of any terms and conditions of these Terms and Conditions, and your participation in the Learning Companion or Explorer.
General Disclaimer and SOA Rights
Reference materials and links provided in the e-Learning courses are provided by the SOA. The SOA does not assume responsibility or liability for the accuracy or completeness of content contained in reference materials or links. The SOA does not endorse any product, service or organization referenced. The opinions expressed in pieces such as “Ask the Expert” or “Ask an Actuary” and “Thought Questions” included in e-Learning courses are solely the opinions of the contributors and do not represent the opinions of the SOA, its officers, directors, staff, representatives and/or its affiliates.
The SOA will deny access to the SOA e-Learning system any individual who does not agree to the terms and conditions contained in these Terms and Conditions. Further, the SOA reserves the right to terminate access to any individual who does not abide by these Terms and Conditions. Complaints about a violation of these Terms and Conditions should be directed to email@example.com.
Questions about these Terms and Conditions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. While guidance can be provided, feedback may not be allowed as a defense in a discipline case.