NLC Participant informed consent form

Northern Lights College research study of the CLIMB program

Thank you for being part of the Continuous Learning Mid-Career and Beyond (CLIMB) program. This program is being run by Northern Lights College (NLC). As part of this program, researchers at Northern Lights College are inviting you to participate in research about the program to understand your experiences and outcomes in the program. Please read below for more information about the study and to provide your consent to participate in the research.

Who is running this research study?

Northern Lights College has developed this CLIMB centre portal and is looking to understand how participants such as yourself experience the CLIMB portal.

The Future Skills Centre (FSC) is funding CLIMB and this research. FSC is a research centre that is testing new programs across Canada.

Researchers from Blueprint are studying these FSC programs. Blueprint is conducting a separate research study to evaluate CLIMB. Blueprint is a non-profit research organization that is a partner of FSC.

FSC is funded by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), which is part of the Government of Canada.

What is the purpose of this research study?
The purpose of this research is to understand how well the CLIMB Centre is working for participants like you, by understanding whether the program helped you achieve different employment and education outcomes. This will help staff at Northern Lights College understand how well the program worked, and how it could be improved in the future.

Participating in this research study is optional, and you can leave the study at any time. If you choose to leave the study, you also have the right to withdraw your data from the study. Participating in the study will not affect your participation in CLIMB or any other programs or services in any way. If you decide not to participate or provide information, this will not result in any negative feedback or penalty from Northern Lights College.

How will I be asked to participate in this research study?

If you participate in this research, you will be asked survey questions about your desire to enter training or college and your experience of the CLIMB Centre portal. This will happen after you register for the portal, and once again when you complete all of the CLIMB Centre portal elements. If you participate in this research, you will also be asked to participate in one mid-way check-in via a survey within the portal. The assessments that you complete in the portal will also be used as part of this research.

The overall research study period will last until June 2021. There will be up to a total of 200 participants in the CLIMB program who will be invited to complete short online surveys, complete assessments, and participate in mid-point check-ins with the CLIMB Centre coordinators. Participating in this research study is voluntary, and you can leave the study at any time. If you choose to leave the study, you also have the right to remove your data from the study. If you choose to withdraw, please contact NLC at climbcentre@nlc.bc.ca or Tracy Donnelly, the Dean of Continuing education who has oversight of the NLC program at tdonnelly@nlc.bc.ca . If you choose to leave the study after you have submitted your responses, you also have the right to remove your data from the study. However, if you decide to withdraw after June 2021, we cannot remove your data from the aggregated results. However, we will delete all your data from the stored study data set and accordingly your information will be no longer available for future secondary data analysis of the study data.

What are the possible benefits and risks?

There are no direct benefits to you for participating in this research. However, this research will be a chance to make your voice heard. The information you share will help us understand what is working well in CLIMB and what can be improved for future participants. We do not believe that you will experience any significant risks to your wellbeing by participating in this research.

What information will be collected about me?

The purpose of this research is to gain understanding on how best to provide mid-career workers with support and information as it pertains to making a decision about future training and/or returning to college. Northern Lights College is conducting this research. This research has been funding by Future Skills Centre and the Government of Canada. The expected duration required to answer these research questions is anywhere from 25-60 minutes total. This includes one pre study-survey that consists of eleven multiple choice questions and these same questions will be asked as a post-survey at the conclusion of your portal journey. This pre and post study survey will ask you questions about your readiness for training. Additionally, you will be invited to participate in a mid-point check-in by a survey within the CLIMB portal. You will only be asked to answer the survey questions you choose to answer, and we will continue to offer you a reminder (at the pre, post and mid-point of journey) that your participation in this study is completely voluntary and you can choose to end your participation at any time.

The NLC team will also collect information about your participation in CLIMB, such as whether you complete different components of the online portal, the results of your online assessments, and whether you enroll in and complete any other training with NLC after you finish the portal.

How will you use my information?

NLC will only use information about you to conduct research to improve CLIMB. We will do this by studying the information you provide in surveys and check-ins, and the information we collect as you participate in the CLIMB program.

Who will you share my information with?
The program team at CLIMB will share your first name, last name, and email address with the evaluation team at Blueprint so that they can contact you and invite you to participate in their evaluation study. Participating in Blueprint’s study is voluntary and will not affect your participation in the NLC study, or in the CLIMB program.

The program team at CLIMB will also share your CLIMB online portal assessments, as well as results of your assessments, and information collected from you during the mid-way check-ins by CLIMB coordinators regarding your feelings about returning to school, with the evaluation team at Blueprint. This information will be used only for research purposes and will not impact your participation in the program or any other services you might receive now or in the future from Northern Lights College.

How will you protect my personal information?

NLC will not include your name and personal information in the final reporting of the study results and/or reports on what is learned from this study. Results and reports will only contain aggregate information. The only people that will have access to your name and data results are the CLIMB Centre research team. The only individual identified data that will be shared is between Northern Lights College and Blueprint and the Future Skills Centre, including Ryerson University and the Conference Board of Canada. Sharing between NLC and Blueprint will be done on a secure server designed for this type of data sharing. Despite all the protections, unintentional release of information could happen although the chance of accidental release is small. To ensure confidentiality the research team will only discuss participants in private place. Additionally, unless it is needed to support a participant, the team will not use the individual names and/or individual identifiers. Discussions about participants will only be held with the relevant people within the research team. All data that is collected from you will be stored on a secure, access-controlled and encrypted server accessible only to the members of the CLIMB Centre research team. Any data that is made available to the Blueprint evaluation team will be shared via encrypted file transfer and stored on a secure, access-controlled and encrypted server accessible only the members of the Blueprint evaluation team. All data will be retained for the life of the FSC project, unless you have requested your data to be withdrawn from the study prior to December 2021. All results will only be shared for the purposes of improving the program and for sharing research results on what is working well.

Who can I contact for more information or to withdraw from the research study?

You can contact the NLC CLIMB Centre directly at climbcentre@nlc.bc.ca or contact Tracy Donnelly, Dean of Continuing Education at tdonnelly@nlc.bc.ca if you have any questions about the research study, including the scientific and scholarly aspects of the research; concerns about the use of your information; or if you would like to withdraw from this study.

Institutional Review Board

An Institutional Review Board (IRB), Veritas IRB, has reviewed this study. An IRB is a group of scientific and non-scientific individuals who perform the initial and ongoing ethical review of the research study with your rights and welfare in mind. Please call the IRB if you need to speak to a person independent from Northern Lights College and Blueprint.

If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, call the Manager of Veritas IRB 24 hours per day and 7 days per week at 514-337-0442 or toll-free at 1-866-384-4221.

Consent agreement

I agree to participate in the Northern Lights College research study of CLIMB, and I agree to the collection and use of my information for research and to improve the program. In particular, I:

  1. Acknowledge that I have reviewed and understood the information above, and that I am aware of who to contact in order to obtain more information or to end my participation in the research.
  2. Understand that my participation in this study, including providing my consent, is voluntary and that I may withdraw my consent at any time. My decision to participate or not participate and the answers I give will not affect my enrollment in the program or any other services I receive.
    Authorize Northern Lights College to share my contact information with researchers at Blueprint, so that they can contact me and invite me to participate in their evaluation research.
  3. Authorize Northern Lights College to share the data it collects about me in this study with researchers at Blueprint, in order to help Blueprint better understand how participation in CLIMB impacts my outcomes.

I understand that my consent is being taken electronically. This is done when I select the box that represents my decision to participate. Upon selection the name I provided at sign up for program will be immediately connected to my decision to participate. I am agreeing that selection an option is my e-signature for purposes of this consent process.

Please check one of the boxes (on the website page) which will represent your e-signature. Options are:

○ I consent to participate in the NLC research of CLIMB

○ I do not consent to participate in the NLC research of CLIMB