How higher-ed stakeholders view the election

Two in 10 respondents said eLearning would be an important issue in the election.

Stakeholders involved in higher education plan to vote for Barack Obama in the Nov. 6 presidential election, 62 percent to 34 percent, according to an informal survey of eCampus News readers.

Among those involved with public colleges and universities, the gap between Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, is even greater: 65 percent to 30 percent.

Nearly 200 eCampus News readers responded to a five-question online survey in August and September. The results of the survey, while unscientific, provide a snapshot of how those involved in higher education view this fall’s election.

Not surprisingly, the economy was the issue most important to readers, with 58 percent of higher-ed respondents indicating the economy as their first choice. Health care was next, with 20 percent of respondents saying it was the most important campaign issue and 69 percent saying it was among their top three issues.

Education was the third most important issue for readers.

“We cannot have a government where the wealthiest determine rule and law and where politicians owe their allegiance to the wealthy, because they subsidize their campaigns,” wrote one Obama supporter. “There must be a strong middle class, and the focus must be on all of the people of this country, not the wealthiest.”

“President Obama has had four years to make a difference,” wrote a Romney supporter. “When he was elected, his words were that if he couldn’t get the job [done], then we needed to get someone else—and I don’t see where he has even begun to get the economy back on track.”

With public funding for higher education on the decline, it’s also not a surprise that funding was the most important education-related issue to eCampus News readers: 29 percent gave this as their first choice, and 54 percent of readers chose funding as one of their top three education issues.

Revising No Child Left Behind was the next most important education issue to higher-ed survey respondents, with 34 percent of readers naming it as one of their top three choices, followed by student loans (30 percent).

Other education issues that were important to readers included school choice (28 percent), teacher evaluation (27 percent), STEM education (26 percent), Common Core standards and testing (26 percent), eLearning (22 percent), and policies regulating the for-profit education industry (11 percent).


The imperative of higher-education reform: More debt, fewer jobs

62 percent of all U.S. jobs now require postsecondary education; that number is expected to increase to 75 percent by 2020.

America’s colleges and universities are an extraordinary asset for our nation, and the envy of the world. Our universities can claim a substantial amount of credit for the fact that we have more Nobel laureates than any other country and that we lead the world in innovation, in fields from communications to medicine.

Unfortunately, our system is quietly slipping into a crisis brought on by inattention to costs and lack of discipline around federal programs and spending, and exacerbated by the growing competition from other countries determined to prepare their students for success in a global economy.

While our institutions may be leaders in many disciplines, students are not accessing postsecondary education at the rate they should, and those who do find themselves confronted with significant challenges, including the rapidly rising cost of higher education. At the other end of the process, too many students who pursue higher education fail to successfully complete their degrees, and even those who do finish often find themselves with skills mismatched to today’s job market.

“This country is putting more money into higher education than at any point in history, yet a postsecondary education continues to become more expensive for students and their families.”

Increasingly, a postsecondary education is becoming a basic requirement for economic success. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 62 percent of all U.S. jobs now require postsecondary education; that number is expected to increase to 75 percent by 2020. But the current emphasis on the standard four-year degree may be misplaced.

For instance, the Department of Labor found that less than half of the fastest growing professions will require such a degree, while two-year degrees, occupational certificates, and apprenticeships are likely to be the most appropriate preparation for a wide variety of fields.

For years we have focused on increasing access to college—an important goal, to be sure. But somehow success in college has been lost in the shuffle of priorities. Despite spending more than twice as much per student as other developed countries, our degree attainment rate lags behind.

Currently, only 27 percent of community college students and 57 percent of those pursuing bachelor’s degrees will finish within three or six years, respectively. Completion rates are even lower for minority students.

Meanwhile, students and their families face skyrocketing prices for higher education and, partly as a result, ever heavier debt burdens. Since 1982, the cost of college has increased by 439 percent—dramatically higher than the growth even in the cost of health care. These costs represent a growing burden on not just families, but taxpayers who foot the bill for a patchwork of federal financial aid programs.


Making college more accessible—and affordable—for all Americans

In 2010, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of more than $26,000.

Earning a postsecondary degree or credential is no longer just a pathway to opportunity for a talented few; rather, it is a prerequisite for the growing jobs of the new economy.

Over this decade, employment in jobs requiring education beyond a high school diploma will grow more rapidly than employment in jobs that do not; of the 30 fastest growing occupations, more than half require postsecondary education. With the average earnings of college graduates at a level that is twice as high as that of workers with only a high school diploma, higher education is now the clearest pathway into the middle class.

In higher-education attainment, the U.S. is being outpaced internationally. While the United States ranks ninth in the world in the proportion of young adults enrolled in college, we’ve fallen to 16th in the world in our share of certificates and degrees awarded to adults ages 25-34—lagging behind Korea, Canada, Japan, and other nations.

“Education is not a luxury: It is an economic imperative that every hard-working and responsible student should be able to afford.”

We also suffer from a college attainment gap, as high school graduates from the wealthiest families in our nation are almost certain to continue on to higher education, while just over half of our high school graduates in the poorest quarter of families attend college. And while more than half of college students graduate within six years, the completion rate for low-income students is around 25 percent.

Acknowledging these factors early in my administration, I challenged every American to commit to at least one year of higher education or postsecondary training. I also set a new goal for the country: that by 2020, America would once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

To achieve this goal, my administration has worked to make college more accessible, affordable, and attainable for all American families.

Helping middle-class families afford college

America is home to the best colleges and universities in the world—yet tuition and fees have skyrocketed over the past decade, making it more difficult for American families to invest in a higher education for their future.

Today’s college students borrow and rack up more debt than ever before. In 2010, graduates who took out loans left college owing an average of more than $26,000. Student loan debt has now surpassed credit card debt for the first time ever.

Our nation’s commitment to placing a good education within reach of all who are willing to work for it helped build a strong American middle class over the past several generations.

In keeping this promise alive, I’ve expanded federal support to help more students afford college, while calling for a shared responsibility in tackling rising college costs. These efforts have produced the largest investment in student aid since the G.I. Bill, while resulting in a more efficient, reliable, and effective system for students to help them afford college and manage debt.


Canon Portable HDTV Lenses and XF305 HD Camcorders Earn High Marks at Middle Tennessee State University

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., September 27, 2012 – With more than 25,000 students Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) is the state’s largest undergrad school. At its Department of Electronic Media Communications (within the College of Mass Communications), however, student training is strictly
one-on-one when it comes to learning how to use the latest television production equipment to create real-world broadcast-quality programming. Included among the department’s impressive complement of leading-edge imaging technologies are advanced HD portable ENG and EFP lenses and professional file-based HD camcorders from Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions.

MTSU recently took delivery of a new 40 ft. $1.7 million mobile HD production vehicle, which is used by the student-run EMC Productions to cover football, basketball, music performances, awards shows, news events, theatrical performances, and parades for local broadcast and cable stations and a national cable network. Separately, “class” shoots of collegiate baseball, softball, and volleyball provide hands-on student training for actual academic credit. Central to all of this production work is the university’s choice of HD portable lenses for the truck’s complement of ENG and EFP cameras, as well as its selection of small high-performance integrated file-based HD camcorders. A longtime Canon user, MTSU chose a family of 2/3-inch portable lenses that include two Canon HJ18ex28B portable HD super-telephoto EFP lenses (with 2x extenders), five Canon KJ17ex7.7B portable HD ENG lenses, one Canon KJ10ex4.5B portable HD wide-angle ENG lens, and two Canon XF305 professional file-based HD camcorders to deliver the imaging quality required by the university and the distribution channels it feeds.

“We previously had an SD truck that was built in 1991, and it used Canon lenses exclusively,” said Marc Parrish, MTSU director of technical systems. “We love our Canon lenses for sports. We use the HJ18ex28B portable HD super-telephoto EFP lenses during football games in the end zones. They’re compact, yet fast enough to get enough light in them for our ‘hero shots’ of players and coaches.”

Canon’s HJ18ex28B portable HD super-telephoto lens is designed for challenging location productions where superb video capture is needed over a long range of focal lengths using portable HD EFP cameras with 2/3-inch imagers. Representing the very best in contemporary optical and mechanical design, the HJ18ex28B delivers a focal-length range of 28 to 500mm (up to 1000mm with its built-in 2X extender), and has an impressive optical speed of f/2.8 up to a focal length of 286mm. The HJ18ex28B offers the longest focal length of any lens in its class, and yet weighs less than 6 lbs. and requires no mechanical support system to mount to an HD camera.

“We also have the Canon enhanced digital servo zoom controllers on our two HJ18ex28B lenses, and we love the focus on them,” Parrish added. “We run these lenses in basketball games under low lighting. Our basketball arena is not set up for TV, but these lenses can zoom in and really capture pristine imagery in there – even on a tight shot with low light – and enable our HD ENG and EFP cameras to produce really great colors.”

MTSU’s five compact, cost-effective Canon KJ17ex7.7B portable HD ENG lenses have also proven to be extremely flexible performers, helping the university to produce broadcast-ready HD video in a number of different applications. “Those are used for our main game cams, where you don’t have to get the shot real tight and it can stay a little bit wider,” Parrish explains. “We also use the lenses for hand-held HD cameras on the field in football. In basketball, we use them for both hand-helds and for the game cam.”

A “second-generation” Canon HDgc category 2/3-inch portable HD lens, the KJ17ex7.7B portable HD lens features new optical coatings that reduce flare and enhance contrast. The lens also minimizes ghosting artifacts that can be stimulated by strong light sources, including nighttime or arena shooting, which are common to sports production.

MTSU’s Canon KJ10ex4.5B portable wide-angle HD EFP lens, which provides a generous range of focal lengths and an exceptionally wide field of view, has proven ideal for the students’ numerous live-entertainment assignments. “We do music videos and concerts, and the Canon KJ10ex4.5B is essential for that,” noted Parrish. “We often shoot at smaller music performance venues, and the wide-angle performance of the KJ10ex4.5B is perfect for getting everything into the picture even when the room isn’t very large. This lens also works extremely well on small jib arms.”

All of MTSU’s Canon HD portable ENG/EFP lenses also feature advanced Canon Digital Drive units built into their handgrips. Canon Digital Drive technology provides microprocessor-driven servo control of iris, zoom and focus, along with position memory and user-defined functionality. Users can – if they wish – pre-program iris settings, repeatable “padded” zoom start/stop positions, steady and slow zoom creeps, and focus settings with no mechanical play or gear backlash.

Versatile HD Camcorders
Further broadening MTSU’s production flexibility are its two Canon XF305 professional HD camcorders. Affordable, rugged, compact, and weighing just 6 lbs., the XF305 is equipped with a Genuine Canon 18x HD L-series zoom lens with Instant AF and a Full Manual Focus mode with mechanical “hard” end stops, clearly engraved distance markers, and a 35mm equivalent zoom range of from 29.3mm to 527.4mm. The XF305 records full HD video directly to Compact Flash cards and employs Canon’s advanced MPEG-2 4:2:2 50Mbps XF codec for exceptional image quality and robust workflow compatibility with leading editing systems. This camcorder’s many features also include a four-inch, 1.23-megapixel LCD monitor (with built-in waveform and vector scope display) that can be positioned at either the right or left side of the camera body, and (on its rear panel) industry-standard HD-SDI output, a genlock input, and SMPTE time code terminals for multi-camera productions.

“The genlock input is a primary reason we chose the Canon XF305 HD camcorders,” Parrish remarked. “We can genlock them to our truck and not have to run the video from the XF305 through a frame sync. The XF305’s are our handheld cameras for shooting scoreboards and announcers in the talent booth. The HD video they produce looks exceptional. We run the XF305’s in the booth because we can feed the signal from them back via HD SDI, and genlock it to our system.”

MTSU’s Canon XF305 professional HD camcorders are also used ENG-style by students to shoot “packages,” location video interviews for player profiles that are played back during the games. The affordability and ruggedness of the XF305 HD camcorders enables students to learn (and occasionally make mistakes) without risking a more expensive ENG camera. Integrating the HD video from the XF305 camcorders with MTSU’s larger ENG cameras “looks really good,” according to Parrish.

“We’re very pleased with Canon,” Parrish concluded. “The university had very high expectations for these Canon HD portable ENG and EFP lenses and file-based professional HD camcorders. Our Canon sales rep explained all the ins and outs and what we could expect from this equipment. We got what we expected and are proud of the results.”

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions. With approximately $45.6 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents registered in 2011† and is one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. In 2012, for the ninth consecutive year, Canon U.S.A. has received the Readers’ Choice Award for Service and Reliability. Committed to the highest level of customer satisfaction and loyalty, Canon U.S.A. provides 100 percent U.S.-based consumer service and support for all of the products it distributes. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company’s RSS news feed by visiting
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†Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.
All referenced product names, and other marks, are trademarks of their respective owners.


The future is bright: projectiondesign® ships new 3-chip 3D projector

Smallest, brightest and most powerful 3D projector for small to large screen applications

The F85 3-chip DLP® projector is the latest 2D and 3D capable projector to join projectiondesign®’s unrivalled line up of innovative projectors.

Boasting an impressive set of features designed for demanding applications, the F85 series is the brightest projector in the projectiondesign range. The projector boasts a brightness of up to 11,000 lumens, and a contrast ratio of 14,000:1 for crisp, detailed images. The projector is available in WUXGA or 1080p resolution versions as well as a special version that can optically switch between REC709 and DCI P7 colour spaces. It brings colour saturation and accuracy, optional image processing and connectivity to any installation space.

“Performance, versatility, connectivity, brightness and low cost of ownership were our objectives when creating the new F85 series,” says Anders Løkke, Marketing Director at projectiondesign. “The F85 is compatible with a range of input and outputs including X-PORT™ module connectivity and bandwidth opening up the markets in which it can be used including rental and staging, live events, visitor attractions, advanced visualization and simulation and training.”

As well as 2D imaging, the projector can be used in active or passive 3D stereoscopic mode removing the requirement for multiple projectors in stereoscopic set up. The F85 series can display sequential 3D at up to 120 Hz, as well as frame rate convert any input signal to 120 Hz with the X-PORT DCC120, and combine two input streams to a single sequential.

The projector benefits from proprietary Advanced Color Optical Processing (ACOP), which combines both fixed and motorized optical filters to enable optical calibration with near infinite accuracy and without any loss of bit depth. When combined with projectiondesign’s RealColor color management system, ACOP ensures on-site color calibration with performance to achieve any desired color standard.

The projector is available with an impressive set of optical lenses for a wide range of focal distances ensuring fit in the most challenging of installations and architecture. Powered lens shift system with user adjustable optical color processing filters. The unit uses projectiondesign’s DuArch™ dual illumination architecture for high performance and extended lamp life and at 400W brightness, the F85 ensures the brightest imaging possible.

Adding to its installation flexibility, the unit weighs just 24.1 kilograms. The F85 series is available now.


The 5 most educated countries in the world

The Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development recently released its Education at a Glance 2012 report, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The report examines OECD and G20 countries where the data was available. According to the report, which includes vocational training as part of higher education/post-secondary education, here are the five most educated countries in the world…

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California law will aid injured student athletes

California will become the first state to mandate financial protections for student athletes who suffer career-ending injuries in some of the state’s top college sports programs under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown announced signing Thursday, the Associated Press reports. SB1525 protects athletes at the four universities that receive more than $10 million annually in sports media revenue — the University of Southern California, UCLA, Berkeley and Stanford. They will have to give academic scholarships to students who lose their athletic scholarships if they are injured while playing their sport. They also will have to cover insurance deductibles and pay health care premiums for low-income athletes, among other provisions…

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Former Boston U. president John Silber dies

John Silber, the sharp-tongued, pugnacious public intellectual who transformed Boston University during a quarter-century as president and mounted an unsuccessful run for governor of Massachusetts, died Thursday. He was 86, the Associated Press reports. Silber died of kidney failure at his Brookline home, BU spokesman Colin Riley said. Silber took over BU, then a financially troubled commuter school of middling reputation, in 1971 and used his forceful — some said imperious — personality to remake it into a prominent national university…

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Calif. governor signs bill to boost students’ online privacy

In signing the bill, Brown has made California the second U.S. state to prohibit colleges from demanding students’ social media passwords.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a pair of privacy bills making it illegal for employers and colleges to demand access to social media accounts.

Brown announced on Sept. 27 that he signed AB1844 by Assemblywoman Nora Campos, a Democrat from San Jose. The bill prohibits the state’s employers from demanding user names and passwords from employees and job applicants. The restriction does not apply to passwords or information used on employer-issued electronic devices.

The governor also signed SB1349 by Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco. This companion bill makes it illegal for the state’s colleges and universities to demand social media user names and passwords from students and prospective students.

In signing the bill, Brown has made California the second U.S. state to prohibit colleges from demanding students’ social media passwords. Earlier this year, Delaware became the first state with such a law.

Brown announced the bills via Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus. He says the legislation will protect Californians from “unwarranted invasions.”

See also:

Delaware bans colleges from requiring students’ social media passwords


Gates Foundation supports college readiness apps

More than half of community college students require a remedial class.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is awarding upwards of $100,000 to developers who propose apps and online tools that help high school students prepare for college, fund their schooling, and complete the sometimes circuitous application process.

The College Knowledge Challenge started Sept. 27 at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., where 100 developers gathered for a “hack-a-thon”–an effort to create useful technologies aimed at better preparing incoming college students as the need for remedial classes continues to rise across the U.S.

Anyone can submit a proposal to the Gates Foundation through the organization’s website. Winners of the $2.5 million grant competition will be announced in January, according to the foundation.

Foundation officials said they would encourage web-based tools that incorporated social media platforms like Facebook, where low-income and first-generation college students might find a supportive academic peer group.

Other apps might help incoming students construct a four-year plan toward college graduation. Students from College Summit Northern California partner high schools will serve as advisers to the competition’s app developers.

The foundation has for years funded efforts to cut down on the growing need for remedial education in colleges and universities. Students don’t earn course credits in remedial classes, making higher education more expensive for tens of thousands of freshmen.

An ideal application would target college students who most often start their campus careers mired in remedial courses, said J.B. Schramm, founder and CEO of College Summit, a group working alongside the Gates Foundation in the College Knowledge Challenge.

“First generation and low-income families typically do not have access to the information, coaching, and support needed to navigate the college-going process,” said Frome. “A platform of electronic tools dedicated to confronting and solving the obstacles to postsecondary navigation and success is an exciting potential opportunity for all students, regardless of their economic circumstances.”