McGraw-Hill LearnSmart®, Proven Adaptive Study Tool, Now Available for Use with Any Higher Education Course Content

McGraw-Hill Education expands access to industry-leading adaptive learning product to help an even greater number of college students study more efficiently and improve their grades

NEW YORK, NY – March 28, 2013 – Today, McGraw-Hill Education launched a new version of the company’s market-leading adaptive learning program, McGraw-Hill LearnSmart®, which enables students and professors to take advantage of LearnSmart’s proven benefits regardless of whether the content used in the course was produced by McGraw-Hill Education. With this expansion, McGraw-Hill Education aims to help improve education and results for a market of more than 15 million students who are currently enrolled in the 31 course areas for which the new version of LearnSmart is available. More than 2 million students have used LearnSmart in tandem with their McGraw-Hill Education course materials since LearnSmart’s launch in 2009, making it the most widely used and intelligent adaptive study tool in higher education. Nearly 500,000 students have used LearnSmart in the first quarter of 2013 alone.

LearnSmart, which McGraw-Hill Education developed in conjunction with adaptive technology partner Area9, personalizes learning by continually assessing students’ knowledge, skill and confidence levels and then designing targeted study paths that help students improve in the areas they need to the most. By allowing students to focus their outside-of-class study time on the topics and concepts that are most challenging to them, LearnSmart has been shown to help students study more efficiently, develop greater proficiency and earn better grades.

Because this new version of LearnSmart is organized by course learning objective rather than the objectives of specific textbook content, students and instructors can use it with any title or even with open source material in the course areas where it is offered.

“We’ve heard it from students, professors and institutional leaders — our adaptive learning technologies improve student performance and help institutions with critical issues such as engagement and retention,” said Brian Kibby, president of McGraw-Hill Higher Education. “By providing more students with access to LearnSmart, we expect to see a greater number of students studying more efficiently and effectively, mastering their coursework and achieving stronger results in their classes.”

The decision to expand access to LearnSmart comes on the heels of several other company announcements and milestones related to adaptive learning. Earlier this year, McGraw-Hill Education launched LearnSmart Advantage, a new suite of adaptive learning products for the college market that includes SmartBook™, the world’s first-ever adaptive e-book, and it recently introduced LearnSmart to the high school market. Last summer, McGraw-Hill Education announced plans to make LearnSmart – which was traditionally sold only to instructors and institutions – available for students and parents to purchase directly.

LearnSmart can be purchased at a starting price of $24.99. The program is accessible on nearly every computer and iOS device for today’s mobile students. McGraw-Hill Education expects to make LearnSmart available for the Android platform in the months ahead.

For more information about McGraw-Hill LearnSmart, visit: www.mhlearnsmart.com.

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About McGraw-Hill Education
McGraw-Hill Education is a digital learning company that draws on its more than 100 years of educational expertise to offer solutions that improve learning outcomes around the world. McGraw-Hill Education is the adaptive education technology leader with the vision for creating a highly personalized learning experience that prepares students of all ages for the world that awaits. The Company has offices across North America, India, China, Europe, the Middle East and South America, and makes its learning solutions available in more than 60 languages. For additional information, visit www.mheducation.com.

Contacts:
Brian Belardi
McGraw-Hill Education
(212) 904-4827
brian_belardi@mcgraw-hill.com

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Elite women’s college rejects transgender student, prompts outcry

A transgender high school student has had her application to a prestigious all-women’s college denied because she is tagged as legally male on government documents, prompting a vocal online and social media campaign on her behalf, Reuters reports. Calliope Wong, 17, a Connecticut senior who was born a male but has identified as female since adolescence, says Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, twice opted not to read her application and returned it in the mail. Almost all of Wong’s paperwork to Smith, including transcripts and references, identifies her as female. But the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form from the U.S. Department of Education marks her as male, she told Reuters on Thursday. Smith’s admissions office told her the FAFSA designation makes her ineligible, based on Smith’s policy that applications and supporting papers consistently reflect that the student is a woman…

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Post recession, college degree is key to even entry-level jobs

With the competition for new jobs as fierce as ever, a college diploma is no longer an asset job seekers can do without, new research shows, LiveScience reports. A study by CareerBuilder discovered that employers are looking for educated applicants to fill not only highly skilled positions, but also lower-skilled jobs. More than 30 percent of the hiring managers and human resources professionals surveyed are hiring more employees with college degrees for positions that were historically held by high school graduates. The research shows the trend is most prevalent among financial services companies, but also spans a variety of industries, including manufacturing, transportation and utilities, information technology, professional and business services, retail and hospitality…

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Amazon plans to buy social network for book fans

Amazon.com Inc said on Thursday it plans to acquire the book recommendation website, Goodreads, Reuters reports. In buying Goodreads, Amazon gets a community of bibliophiles primed to buy and recommend books – one of its key areas of business.

“Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world,” Russ Grandinetti, Amazon vice president, Kindle Content, said in a release.

Based in San Francisco, Goodreads is a social network site that lets bookworms catalog and review books. Co-founded by Otis Chandler, whose family once published the Los Angeles Times, Goodreads has more than 16 million members, who have generated more than 23 million reviews…

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Adaptive learning helps personalize instruction for students

Adaptive learning has steadily gained popularity in higher education.

Many experts believe adaptive learning will elevate education in the future, and the technology already has found its way into several higher-ed software programs.

In adaptive learning, specially designed computer programs assess students’ subject-matter knowledge and then create individual learning maps based on those findings. If a student struggles in one area, the program repeatedly reinforces that topic, and it lets students progress quickly through areas in which they demonstrate mastery.

In the past few years, multiple learning companies have recognized the trend toward adaptive learning and are vying to create the most successful model that garners the best results for students.

At last year’s EDUCAUSE conference in Denver, McGraw-Hill Education announced that its LearnSmart adaptive learning technology has surpassed 1 million student users since its launch in fall 2009.

Hailed as a “personal digital tutor,” LearnSmart allows students to “study smarter, not longer.” Available in more than 40 subject areas, LearnSmart identifies a student’s weaknesses in a given subject and uses animated online tools to remedy them. Teachers implement LearnSmart into their coursework to ensure that students grasp the subject matter in their own way, and that all students are progressing.

 

“This information can prove invaluable in helping educators identify the students that may otherwise fall behind in a course before it is too late,” a recent McGraw-Hill LearnSmart Effectiveness Study explains.

(Next page: How LearnSmart and similar programs are improving learning outcomes)

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Congressional inaction could cost college students

Incoming college freshmen could end up paying back about $5,000 more for the same maxed-out student loans their older siblings have, if Congress doesn’t act.

Congressional inaction could end up costing college students an extra $5,000 on their new loans: The rate for subsidized Stafford loans is set to increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent on July 1, just as millions of new college students start signing up for fall courses. The difference between the two rates adds up to $6 billion nationwide.

Just a year ago, lawmakers faced a similar deadline and dodged the rate increase amid the heated presidential campaign between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But that was with the White House up for grabs and before Washington was consumed by budget standoffs that now seem routine.

“What is definitely clear, this time around, there doesn’t seem to be as much outcry,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “We’re advising our members to tell students that the interest rates are going to double on new student loans, to 6.8 percent.”

The new rates apply only to those who take new subsidized loans. Students with outstanding subsidized loans are not expected to see their loan rates increase unless they take out a new subsidized Stafford loan. Students’ nonsubsidized loans are not expected to change, nor are loans from commercial lenders.

But it translates to real money for incoming college freshmen who could end up paying back $5,000 more for the same maxed-out student loans their older siblings have.

House Education Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., and the committee’s senior Democrat, George Miller of California, prefer to keep rates at their current levels but have not outlined how they might accomplish that goal. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., last week introduced a proposal that would permanently cap the interest rate at 3.4 percent.

Adding another perspective to the debate, Obama will release his budget proposal on April 10.

Neither party’s budget proposal in Congress has money specifically set aside to keep student loans at their current rate. The House Republicans’ budget would double the interest rates on newly issued subsidized loans to help balance the federal budget in a decade. Senate Democrats say they want to keep the interest rates at their current levels, but the budget they passed last week does not set aside money to keep the rates low.

In any event, neither side is likely to get what it wants. And that could lead to confusion for students as they receive their college admission letters and financial aid packages.

“Two ideas … have been introduced so far—neither of which is likely to go very far,” said Terry Hartle, the top lobbyist for colleges at the American Council on Education.

(Next page: More details about these two proposals)

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Epson Introduces the Ultimate Meeting Room Productivity Tool

Contact:
Duane Brozek
Epson America, Inc.
562-290-5683
Duane_Brozek@ea.epson.com

Kati Elliott
KEH Communications
410-975-9638
kati@kehcomm.com

Epson Introduces the Ultimate Meeting Room Productivity Tool

BrightLink Pro 1410Wi Provides an Easy-to-Use Instant Collaboration Projection Solution to Present, Annotate, Capture, and Share

LONG BEACH, Calif. – March 27, 2013 – Epson today introduced the BrightLink® Pro 1410Wi – an ultra-short throw meeting room projector designed to provide increased organizational productivity and efficiency. The BrightLink Pro turns a traditional whiteboard, wall or virtually any flat surface into a new digital surface and offers a variety of features to boost meeting room collaboration, including video conferencing compatibility and remote collaboration.
The BrightLink Pro projector solution can be used as a digital whiteboard, to present and annotate on existing content, and can instantly capture and share newly created content by saving, printing or e-mailing through the network – no computer or special software required. A simple to use, but powerful device, users can power BrightLink Pro on and present, annotate and capture with no technical expertise needed to drive a collaborative instant meeting. With a 100-inch, widescreen display area, users can display presentations and a live meeting at the same time with the split screen option. In addition, users can connect up to four BrightLink Pro units that all reside on the same network, regardless of location, for remote collaboration.

To enhance ease-of-use, the BrightLink Pro comes with a Control Pad, which acts as a convenient USB hub, an extension to USB ports or as a remote control unit. Meeting participants can use the Control Pad to connect to USB thumb drive, a PC or printer. To further streamline meetings, it also offers buttons to power the BrightLink Pro on and off, and to select major functions, including Whiteboard Mode, Source Search, Capture, Print, or Save.

“With the BrightLink Pro 1410Wi, Epson is creating a new category in the display industry with a powerful and simple solution to address a need faced in every meeting,” said Sean Gunduz, product manager, Corporate Projectors, Epson America. “The BrightLink Pro works as a stand-alone appliance, with no computer or software required, making it very simple to use and allowing users to project, collaborate, capture and maximize their productivity.”

In conjunction with Chief Milestone AV Technology, Epson is offering all-in-one mounting solutions with the BrightLink Pro to corporate users that want a sleek finish to match existing conference room décor. These mounting solutions include the BrightLink Pro, mount and whiteboard, bordered by one of three different finishes – a deep cherry, sleek aluminum or beautiful teak – to seamlessly fit in with the existing décor at any corporate setting. Users can also purchase a basic package with the BrightLink Pro and wall mount, with no special finish.

“We’re very excited to partner with Epson to create a completely new integrated solution for customers,” said Derek Derks, business development manager, Chief Milestone AV Technologies. “This new all-in-one system combines an Epson BrightLink Pro with Da-Lite screen technology and Chief mounting systems to create a complete installation and superior customer experience.”

More About BrightLink Pro – the Meeting Productivity Tool
The BrightLink Pro 1410Wi offers several features to boost meeting room collaboration, including:
– Three Times Brighter Colors with Epson1: Epson 3LCD 3-chip technology ensures the projection of brilliant images with true-to-life color

– Images in HD: Delivers high definition WXGA widescreen resolution and 3,100 lumens of color brightness and 3,100 lumens of white brightness2

– Digital Whiteboard: Users can simply turn on the projector and start writing without using a PC; images, basic shapes and templates can be inserted and up to 50 pages created; multiple pages can be saved as a single PDF or multiple PNG files on a USB or network drive, printed to a local or network printer, or e-mailed to another user

– PC-Free Annotation: Allows users to connect the BrightLink Pro to a variety of devices, including most tablets and smart phones, document cameras, DVD players, and more, to share their content; annotate on it, capture and share their notes without a computer

– Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Leveraging the free Epson iProjection™ app, users can bring their own iOS Apple devices running iOS 4.2 or later and most Android devices running Android 2.3 or later, project on BrightLink Pro, annotate, capture and share.

– PC Interactivity: Turns the interactive pen into a wireless mouse and Provides flexibility to run any application on a computer, access the web and edit documents on the go; can be enabled via a combination of HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, and USB cable or wirelessly using free EasyMP® Network Projection

– Video Conferencing: Allows users to connect a video conferencing system to display an image as large as 100-inches diagonal, effectively replacing the need for a flat panel display

– Remote Collaboration: Using EasyMP Network Projection v2.81 (or higher), users can share content via the network on up to four remote BrightLink Pro units; all locations have the ability to annotate on the projected image and their annotations are visible at all four locations as well as the computer

Availability and Support
The Epson BrightLink 1410Wi projector will be available in April through VARs and resellers for $2,999* or $3,999* and $4,499* for the Chief Milestone AV Technologies all-in-one aluminum and wood finish solutions (respectively). Epson’s projectors come with a two-year limited warranty (three years for Brighter Futures customers) that includes two elite technical support services – Epson PrivateLine® phone support with direct access to an expedited support telephone line via a phone card included with the product, and a two-year Road Service projector replacement program that includes projector exchange in one business day with paid shipping. For additional information, visit www.epson.com/blpro.

Color Brightness Specification and Projector Performance
The new color brightness specification (measuring red, green and blue) published by the Society of Information Display (SID) allows consumers to compare projector color performance without conducting a side-by-side shootout. With today’s high definition content, corporate and higher education presenters can display content with higher quality in brighter environments. For a truly impressive image, projectors need to offer both high color brightness and high white brightness. High color brightness is important for larger screen sizes and provides flexibility for a variety of screen materials. Without sufficient color brightness, images may be muddy, soft and lose detail, even in a dark room. For more information, visit http://www.colorlightoutput.com.

About Epson
Epson is a global imaging and innovation leader whose product lineup ranges from inkjet printers and 3LCD projectors to sensors and other microdevices. Dedicated to exceeding the vision of its customers worldwide, Epson delivers customer value based on compact, energy-saving, and high-precision technologies in markets spanning enterprise and the home to commerce and industry.

Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corporation, the Epson Group comprises more than 81,000 employees in 97 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and the communities in which it operates. Epson America, Inc. based in Long Beach, Calif. is Epson’s regional headquarters for the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. To learn more about Epson, please visit: www.Epson.com.

You may also connect with Epson America on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/EpsonAmerica), Twitter (http://twitter.com/EpsonAmerica) and (http://twitter.com/EpsonEducation) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/EpsonTV).
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* Estimated street price; Brighter Futures education pricing available

1 Compared to leading 1-chip DLP business and education projectors based on NPD data, July 2011 through June 2012. Color brightness (color light output) measured in accordance with IDMS 15.4. Color brightness will vary depending on usage conditions
2White and color light output will vary depending on mode selected. White light output measured using ISO 21118 standard.

Note: EPSON is a registered trademark, EPSON Exceed Your Vision is a registered logomark and Epson iProjection is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation. BrightLink and PrivateLine are registered trademarks of Epson America, Inc. All other product brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Epson disclaims any and all rights in these marks.

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Harvard asks graduates to donate time to free online humanities class

Alumni of elite colleges are accustomed to getting requests for money from their alma mater, but the appeal that Harvard sent to thousands of graduates on Monday was something new: a plea to donate their time and intellects to the rapidly expanding field of online education, the New York Times reports. For the first time, Harvard has opened a humanities course, The Ancient Greek Hero, as a free online class. In an e-mail sent Monday, it asked alumni who had taken the course at the university to volunteer as online mentors and discussion group managers. The new online course is based on Professor Gregory Nagy’s Concepts of the Ancient Greek Hero, a popular offering since the late 1970s that has been taken by some 10,000 students. The online version, which began last week and will run through late June, has 27,000 students enrolled. Its syllabus includes Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” dialogues by Plato, poetry by Sappho and other works…

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North Carolina University halts trial against student critic

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said on Tuesday it had asked its student-run honor court to halt proceedings against a student who claims she is facing retaliation for criticizing how the school handles sexual assault cases, Reuters reports. Student Landen Gambill is accused of violating the university’s honor code and could be expelled if found guilty of intimidating the male student she says raped her. On Monday, her attorney asked university officials to dismiss the honor court’s “reckless prosecution.” He said Gambill had filed a retaliation complaint against the state’s flagship public university with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

“The retaliatory charges against my client are inappropriate, unconstitutional and utterly without merit,” attorney Henry Clay Turner said in a letter to university Chancellor Holden Thorp.

The federal education department is looking into allegations lodged in January by five women, including Gambill, who said reports of sexual harassment and assault have not been properly investigated by the university…

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New law allows student groups to discriminate, still get funding

Student groups at Virginia colleges can still collect college funding even if they are not all-inclusive, after Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed the Student Group Protection Act into law Friday, the Huffington Post reports. Under the new law, Virginia colleges cannot withhold funds from religious or political student groups that don’t accept certain members based on religion, sexual orientation or personal beliefs. For example, a student group could exclude lesbian students by citing religious beliefs or require that all members are of a certain faith, but it would still be eligible for college funding.

“We think that under the bill as it’s crafted, the university would have to fund a white supremacist organization,” Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, told the Commonwealth Times

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