Perks, Tom

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    Obesity and its relation to employment incomes: does the bias in self-reported BMI matter?
    (University of Alberta, 2015) Perks, Tom
    This study explores what difference, if any, the bias in self-reported body mass index (BMI) has on our understanding of the relationship between body size and income attainment. To accomplish this, aggregated data from Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 of the Canada Health Measures Survey, in which information on both self-reported and measured BMI was collected, are used. Based on subsamples of female and male employees, OLS regression analyses contrasting the effect of self-reported and measured BMI on income show that for women, self-reported BMI leads to underestimates of a negative body size effect, whereas for men, self-reported BMI leads to overestimates of a positive body size effect. Additional analyses examining the appropriateness of correction factors to improve the accuracy of self-reported BMI effect estimates suggest correction factors do little to reduce these systematic errors.
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    Classroom re-design to facilitate student learning: a case-study of changes to a university classroom.
    (Indiana University. Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching, 2016) Perks, Tom; Orr, Doug; Alomari, Elham
    This case study examines the physical aspects of a particular university classroom, and what affect specific changes to the classroom had on the perceptions of students, instructors and observers regarding the room as an effective learning space. We compare survey and focus group data collected from students taking courses in the classroom prior to changes to the physical environment with comparable data from students taking courses in the same classroom after specific changes had been made. Immediately following changes to the classroom, notable increases were observed in reported perceptions of student satisfaction with the physical environment, including perceptions of the classroom as a more effective and engaging learning space. Similar perceptions of improvement as a teaching-learning space were reported by instructors and observers. However, subsequent follow-up data collection and analyses suggested little if any sustained increase in perceptions of efficacy of the room as a learning space; indeed, most reported variables returned to baseline levels. The implications of these findings and their relevance to classroom design nevertheless may provide insight regarding the manner in which physical space might support or even enhance teaching and learning.