Welcome to Educational Informatics Lab, OntarioTechU, Canada   Click to listen highlighted text! Welcome to Educational Informatics Lab, OntarioTechU, Canada

Queer(ing) Online Communities

You are invited to participate in a research study entitled Queer(ing) online communities. You are being asked to take part in a research study.

Please read the information about the study presented in this form. The form includes details on study procedures, risks and benefits that you should know before you decide to participate. You should take as much time as you need to make your decision. You should ask the Principal Investigator (PI) or study team to explain anything that you do not understand and make sure that all of your questions have been answered before signing this consent form.  Before you make your decision, feel free to talk about this study with anyone you wish, including your friends and family.  Participation in this study is voluntary.

This study has been reviewed by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (Ontario Tech University) Research Ethics Board #17724

You have been invited to participate in this study because you might self-identify as being part of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.


When exploring online learning or online communities, 2SLGBTQIA+ students often have a different experience than non-2SLGBTQIA+ students. This research project looks at queer as an identity and a research paradigm. When referring to queer as an identity, it is important to note that this term is not used by everyone who identifies as Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, and others (2SLGBTQIA+) and that care should be taken to use language that participants use for themselves. 

Online learning environments are not always safe or welcoming to 2SLGBTQIA+ students. This research project investigates how we can democratize knowledge and increase inclusion in online spaces for 2SLGBTQIA+ students. The rationale for this dissertation stems from the desire to create both safe and inclusive learning environments for queer students and democratize learning within online learning communities. This has the potential to inform practices for both online learning and inclusive design based on the intersectional approach being used within this research. 


Participants will complete a survey (GREx – LimeSurvey) that touches on their experiences as a 2SLGBTQIA+ community member with online learning communities. This data will be used to examine potential barriers to online learning communities as well as individual experiences within online learning environments. The survey should take 15 minutes to complete.

Potential Benefits and Risks

Potential Benefits:

You will not directly benefit from participating in this study. 

Potential benefits include enhanced understanding of what barriers can impact 2SLBTQIA+ learners when engaging in online learning spaces. This information would lead to recommendations on how we can make online learning communities safer and more inclusive. These recommendations would be beneficial for all individuals, as reducing barriers to participation opens access to education. 

Potential Risk or Discomforts:

There are very few social and psychological risks that could occur during the study. The biggest risk for participating is being identified in a study as queer or 2SLGBTQIA+. Both psychological and social risks could apply if participants are to be at the receiving end of homophobic behaviour based on you participation in the study. We will not be collecting any identifying information to connect participants to this survey. 

If you feel uncomfortable at any point, please exit the survey. There will not be any data stored or submitted in this case. 


Gerstein Crisis Centre (24/7): 416-929-5200
Toronto Distress Centre (24/7): 416-408-4357
Toronto Rape Crisis Centre (24/7): 416-597-8808
Trans Life Line: 1-877-330-6366 | www.translifeline.org
Durham Rape Crisis Centre (24/7): 905-668-9200
Wellness Together Canada: call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to 741741 for adults
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: (24/7) 1-866-925-4419

Use and storage of data

The data is collected into a database and stored indefinitely on EILAB servers that are hosted by the EI in downtown Oshawa. The server is maintained with all standard security measures. Access provided to all data for the rest of the research team has all identifying information stripped (including email addresses and any names) from it. Physical access to all servers is restricted to those with appropriate and established credentials. DigitalOcean is responsible for the security of all servers, maintaining these behind established firewalls and ensuring compliance with all security needs. 
All information (survey data, interviews, video and audio data) collected during this study will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside the study unless required by law. You will not be named in any reports, publications, or presentations that may come from this study. Research data will be kept indefinitely for potential use as secondary data in similar or related future studies.


This research study includes collecting data, which will be aggregated (not individually presented) to protect your anonymity. Data collected through surveys will not contain identifiable information.

Your privacy shall be respected. No information about your identity will be shared or published without your permission, unless required by law. Confidentiality will be provided to the fullest extent possible by law, professional practice, and ethical codes of conduct. Please note that confidentiality cannot be guaranteed while data is in transit over the Internet.

Voluntary Participation

Your participation in this study is voluntary and you may partake in only those aspects of the study in which you feel comfortable. You may also decide not to be in this study, or to be in the study now, and then change your mind later. You may leave the study at any time without affecting your relationship with the university. You will be given information that is relevant to your decision to continue or withdraw from participation.

You may refuse to answer any question(s) you do not want to answer, or not answer an interview question by saying, ‘pass’.

Right to Withdraw

Your participation is voluntary, and you can answer only those questions that you are comfortable with answering. The information that is shared will be held in strict confidence and discussed only with the research team. If you withdraw from the research project at any time, any data that you have contributed will be removed from the study and you do not need to offer any reason for making this request. You will be given information that is relevant to your decision to continue or withdraw from participation. You may withdraw at any time without loss of relevant entitlements, will not affect your relationship with the university, research team, or donation.

If you would like to withdraw during the surveys on the GREx dashboard, please exit the browser. No data will be saved. Once you have submitted your survey, the data will automatically be saved to the database and may not be withdrawn as it will not have any identifiers associated with it at that point. The deadline to withdraw from this project is December 31, 2024.


There will be a $150 donation to PFLAG Canada in lieu of individual incentives. This donation will be made regardless of individual participation in the study.

Debriefing and Dissemination of results

The research report is anticipated to be available by the Winter of 2025. You can receive a copy of the study results, regardless if you remain with or withdraw from the study, by visiting the EILAB website for updates on the study results (www.eilab.ca/QOC).You are welcome to contact any researchers to learn more about the results.

Participant rights and concerns

Please read this consent form carefully and feel free to ask the researcher any questions that you might have about the study. If you have any questions about your rights as a participant in this study, complaints, or adverse events, please contact the Research Ethics Office at (905) 721-8668 ext. 3693 or at researchethics@ontariotechu.ca.

If you have any questions concerning the research study or experience any discomfort related to the study, please contact the researcher Jessica Trinier at Jessica.trinier@ontariotechu.net. 

By signing this form you do not give up any of your legal rights against the investigators, sponsor or involved institutions for compensation, nor does this form relieve the investigators, sponsor or involved institutions of their legal and professional responsibilities.

Click below to be taken to GREx, the online survey tool to complete the survey 2SLGBTQIA+ Online Experiences found under “Queering Online Communities”. Enter an email address as the access code – this email address will not be made available to researchers.

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