Wearable Tech is Coming to Your Campus This Fall! #CampusTech


Emory Craig, Director eLearning and Instructional Technology, The College of New Rochelle

Facilitators will wear and lead a discussion on the ways wearable technology will reshape the teaching-learning environment and the potential impact of wearables on the interactions between students and faculty. Projects and videos from Google Glass and Narrative Clip Camera will be reviewed.


  • Examples: Google GlassVuzixMeta 3D GlassesOculus RiftNarrative Clips Lifelogging Camera
  • Why wearable tech? Always on, always there, continuous data, augment reality, hands-free, nearly transparent, localization…
  • Huge growth potential for wearables: sports, activity trackers, health, wearable cameras, smart watches, clothing, motion trackers, smart glass.
  • Challenges: Privacy issues of course, battery life is an obstacle…
  • PWRGlass is an extra battery back and Lenovo’s battery pack was just announced.
  • Pivithead SMART Glasses are new but with no display.  Have modular pods.
  • Wearables as fashion?  Misfit Shine is example. Just announced, Lechal Shoes vibrate to give you directions.
  • With wearables:
    • Would we still need lecture capture tools when everyone can record their own?
    • Will class sessions become open public spaces?
    • All interactions with students can be documented…
    • Boundaries between campus and community will be erased.
    • Public vs private boundaries will disappear.
    • Social media and chat are primary means of online communication.
    • Data analytics and assessment will produce volumes of information.
  • How do these provide value in learning environments?
    • First person video
    • Hands-free documentation
    • Integrate social media
    • Easily connect with others
    • Virtual field trips
    • Bring in outside experts
    • Experiential learning (HistoryPin Project)
    • Street Museum
    • Augmented Reality on Google Glass [Video]
    • Battlefield 5 on Google Glass - Gamification of the physical and virtual world… [Video]

“Google Glass making every moment a teachable moment…” – Andrew VandenHeuvel

More about the Presenter: Emory Craig
Director eLearning and Instructional Technology, The College of New Rochelle

Emory Craig Photo

As Director of eLearning at the College of New Rochelle, Emory Craig is responsible for eLearning initiatives at the College, including planning, program development, support and training of faculty, and the integration of emerging technologies into the curriculum. As a six campus system, CNR serves both traditional age and adult students in the NYC metropolitan area. An active participant in EDUCAUSE, ACM, AACE and other organizations, he has also worked with consortiums and projects such as AMICAL and NGLC to further the innovative use of new technologies in the teaching-learning environment. A frequent presenter at conferences his current research is on the use of video and social networking platforms to engage students in the global community and the value and impact of wearable technology on higher education. His paper on the use of Twitter in Online Learning Environments won a Best Paper Award at the Sloan Consortium International Conference on Online Learning. 

NYU TorchTech – Forging a Global IT Community #CampusTech

Evan Silberman, IT Director, New York University, Silver School of Social Work presenting TorchTech at Campus Technology 2014

Evan Silberman, IT Director, New York University, Silver School of Social Work presenting TorchTech at Campus Technology 2014

Presenter: Evan Silberman, IT Director, New York University, Silver School of Social Work

Project: TorchTech

  • A community-led group for fostering collaboration, building relationships, sharing information, and impacting strategy for IT across a large, distributed university.

“It’s all about people and all about connectivity.”

  • It takes a village… it takes a community to nurture and grow a community.
  • Principles and philosophy = collaboration, knowledge sharing, and relationship building.
  • Goal is to cultivates a coordinated approach to IT across NYU’s three campuses in New York City, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai,
  • A place for common dialog and coordination.
  • Annual events: UnMeeting (no agenda, meet people, and you create the sessions), Cloud Computing Panel Session, Share Fair (poster sessions was the most attended event), Networking Breakfasts,
  • Creating conversation across the campus and get people out of their offices to meet each other.
  • Most of the members (41%) are from many schools and universities.
  • 61% are individual contributors.
  • 585 attended at least 1 event.
  • Employee retention is a potential benefit – invested in NYU and invested in each other via opportunities through the network they build.  to cut across the hierarchy and administrative departments and schools.
  • It offers common dialog and coordination.
  • Collect aspirational interests are captured at each event.  What would folks like to see?  Turns out this matches the goals of the university.
  • A steering committee of about 20 people keep things moving and there is leadership support for resources such as time and catering, etc.
  • Governance can be a challenge, but it’s an organic process to encourage openness while harnessing collective voice, building a community of practice, and also leadership is involved.

More Information about the Presenter: Evan Silberman

IT Director, New York University, Silver School of Social Work

Evan Silberman Photo

Mr. Evan Silberman is the Director of Information Technology at the New York University Silver School of Social Work, the founder of TorchTech, a first-of-its-kind volunteer-led organization for IT professionals at NYU with over 900 members across NYU’s global networked university, and Chair of the NYU Chief Information Officers Council. In his capacity as Director of Information Technology, he is currently leading the School through the development of its first online course set, among other multifaceted technology initiatives. Previous to NYU, Evan was Manager of Academic Technology for Yeshiva University where he oversaw Academic Technology for three campuses. For five year, he was also the technical consultant to the United Nations Institute of Training and Research (UNITAR), where he developed and implemented IT strategy for the UNITAR New York Office, and lead a privately funded, Computer Information Technology Training (CITE) programme for 192 permanent missions to the U.N.

He is a certified Project Management Professional and is a candidate for a M.A. in Educational Technology at the New York University, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. He also speaks internationally, and recently presented to the U.N. about online learning.

Evan was also awarded the prestigious NYU Give-A-Violet Award, and nominated for the NYU Team Achievement Award.


CT 2014 Innovator Awards Presentation & Keynote Session—Anant Agarwal: Reinventing Education’ #CampusTech


Anant Agarwal is the CEO of edX presenting ‘Reinventing Education’ at the2014 Campus Technology Conference

The morning keynote began with the presentation of the 2014 Campus Technology Innovators Awards.

Congratulations to the following institutions!

  • Kennesaw State University – New Learning Models Virtual Assessment Center
  • City Colleges of Chicago – Data Analytics Open Book
  • PAR Framework – Student Systems and Services Predictive Analytics and Reporting Framework
  • Georgia Institute of Technology – Student Services, AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center
  • University of Washington – MyPlan Integrated Planning and Advising System
  • Marist College – Teaching and Learning, The Fold
  • NYU Silver School of Social Work – TorchTech
  • University of Oklahoma – One University Digital Initiative
  • Penn State University – DNA Compiler
  • University of Denver – Anderson Academic Commons (Penrose Library) Renovation
  • NYU Stern School of Business – Langone Lab 

Keynote: Reinventing Education


EdX is a non-profit, open source enterprise founded by MIT and Harvard in 2012. When we launched edX as a MOOC (massive open online courses) portal, our mission was to increase access to quality education, conduct research into how students learn, and improve on campus teaching and learning. While that three-part mission remains constant, this presentation will provide an overview of how the edX platform has expanded and evolved in new, unpredictable ways to include transforming education through SPOCs (small private online courses), blended courses, collaborations with both for-profit and non-profit entities, and adoption of the open source edX platform across entire countries and global regions, including China, France and the Arab-speaking world.

This presentation will provide an overview of edX’s growth over the last two years, including a summary of who our students are, what makes our courses popular, how our open source platform is evolving. It will also cover

Presenter: Anant Agarwal
CEO, edX

Anant Agarwal Photo

Anant Agarwal is the CEO of edX, an online learning destination founded by Harvard and MIT. Anant taught the first edX course on circuits and electronics from MIT, which drew 155,000 students from 162 countries. He has served as the director of CSAIL, MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. He is a successful serial entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies including Tilera Corporation, which created the Tile multicore processor, and Virtual Machine Works.

Anant won the Maurice Wilkes prize for computer architecture, and MIT’s Smullin and Jamieson prizes for teaching. He holds a Guinness World Record for the largest microphone array, and is an author of the textbook “Foundations of Analog and Digital Electronic Circuits.”

Scientific American selected his work on organic computing as one of 10 World- Changing Ideas in 2011, and he was named in Forbes’ list of top 15 education innovators in 2012. Anant, a pioneer in computer architecture, is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a fellow of the ACM.

He hacks on WebSim, an online circuits laboratory, in his spare time. Anant holds a Ph.D. from Stanford and a bachelor’s from IIT Madras. Anant’s twitter handle is @agarwaledu.


  • Learning has changed… what is the new classroom?
  • edX
    • edX is a learning destination and a non-profit MOOC provider.
    • Over 50 partners (Berkeley, U Washington, Boston U, etc.)
    • 3 part mission is to: 1) expand access to quality education, 2) improve on campus education, and 3) to advance research.
    • Expand ACCESS to Quality Education
      • 155,000 students enrolled in first course “Circuits and Electronics”
      • 7,157 were certified, 9,318 passed the mid-term, 8,240 took the final, 10,547 made it to the mid-term
      • For those of you that are wondering…155,000 is a big number!
      • 196+ countries
      • 2.5 million learners
      • 5 million course enrollments
      • 200 courses in English, French, Manderin and Hindi
      • 50 institutions
      • 150+ blended classes with 15,000+ enrollments
      • Virtual online labs and gamification provides ability for students to perform these in new ways, over and over again.
      • Credentialing and Course Sequences improves pass rate and success rate to 60%
      • edX has been open sourced and it is available for download
    • IMPROVE Campus Education
      • Active Learning – Lectures are part of a learning sequence. Short 5-6 minute videos are interweaved with interactive exercises.  The goal is to move from passive to active learning.
      • Self-paced Learning – The videos can be paused, rewind, access the transcript, pace themselves.
      • Instant Feedback – Provide for online grading and computerized assessments.  Much more than simply multiple choice through machine learning.  Feedback is one of the most valuable pieces in gamification.
      • Gamification – Virtual labs, simulations, and experiments can peform these easily multiple times.
      • Peer Learning – Students learning from each other via discussion forums and interaction.
      • San Jose State University research in that retake rates drop from 41% to 9% with a blended approach. [PDF Report]
      • Bunker Hill Community College students score and average of 10 points higher than MOOC students on the same exams in a blended learning setting.
      • Blended formats really allows for more personalized and project-based instruction in class. – Jaime L’Heureux, Professor, Bunker Hill Community College
      • Technologies provide a wide series of options, opportunities, and tools for teachers to blend.
      • 23 classes on campus at MIT impacting 2,800 students via MITx. 2 of 3 students are using the edX platform in blended learning setting.
      • edX provides a “new age textbook”.
    • ADVANCE Research
      • Big data and gathering learner events from courses and MOOCs.
      • 3 billion records of data and student events have been gathered.
      • What parts of the learning process is effective?  We need to learn how students learn to be more successful.
      • Who says a lecture needs to be an hour.  For videos looked at 5 million watches and tracked how long the videos were watched.  They ranked from 1 minute to an hour.  The median length of videos was 6-9 minutes was the optimal followed by 9-12 minutes.
      • A/B Testing to Improve Learning – A/B tests can now be created in edX Studio enabling course teams to author experiments to randomly split groups of students.  That is you can show one group of students to another.  Events can be tagged by groups providing instructors with the ability to analyze results about which options that work the best.  Studio now supports authoring of A/B tests.
  • Audience Questions
    • How are employers potentially using certificates and badges? Is there any value to a certificate?  It’s only been 2 years and so we currently have anecdotal evidence.  Linked in profiles can include these certificates and jobs have been awarded based on these.
    • As a student if I had a certificate for the circuits course would I still have to take the MIT course?  Universities are grappling with these issues.  MIT has admitted some students based on edX courses.  It’s cruel to make the students take the same class again.  We’ll have to see what happens.
    • Of the 7,000+ students that got a certificate, how many have translate that into college credit?  Today, edX has issued certificates and many universities have begun to offer credit. How do we ensure the student is the one that does the work? SoftwareSecure is a provider of verification and webcam along with an ID.  Person authentication, but edX is currently not doing activity verification.  There are some challenges.
    • What is edX doing with Google? The data stays with edX.  Single sign on, Google Hangouts, CBX provides Studio content integration, and many more opportunities.

“Learning and retention is related to the depth of mental processing.” – Craik and Lockhart, 1972

Innovation in Higher Education: Leadership and the Role of Technology #CampusTech

Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski from UMBC

Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, President University of Maryland Baltimore County

Opening Keynote


President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Dr. Hrabowski’s research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He also was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Additionally, he is a Federal 100 Award recipient, one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and one of “America’s 10 Best College Presidents.”


  • Introducing Dr. Hrabowski was Patrick Gallagher, event director.  This year there are 240 sessions, 8 keynotes, and 150 vendors at the Campus Tech conference.
  • UMBC is a model for innovation.
  • Success is never final, what’s next?
  • Use of technology in redesigning teaching and learning is a focus and UMBC is a model institution.
  • There is so much data around us and what gives the data a story is that context we need to be able to use it effectively.
  • College presidents fought against the veterans act.  They thought it would be the downfall of the academia.
  • Higher Education Act brought more people into college – to educate.  HEA “to strengthen the educational resources of our colleges and universities and to provide financial assistance for students in postsecondary and higher education.”
  • We are leaders and educators and not just technologists.  We do noble work in education and we need to realize that.
  • Other countries are moving ahead of the USA, at one time we were #2 behind Norway and now we are ranked #12.
  • EDUCAUSE – The Top-10 Issues in IT.  Using analytics, partnerships, and faculty are a focus.
  1. Improving student outcomes through an institutional approach that strategically leverages technology
  2. Establishing a partnership between IT leadership and institutional leadership to develop a collective understanding of what information technology can deliver
  3. Assisting faculty with the instructional integration of information technology
  4. Developing an IT staffing and organizational model to accommodate the changing IT environment and facilitate openness and agility
  5. Using analytics to help drive critical institutional outcomes
  6. Changing IT funding models to sustain core service, support innovation, and facilitate growth
  7. Addressing access demand and the wireless and device explosion
  8. Sourcing technologies and services at scale to reduce costs (via cloud, greater centralization of institutional IT services and systems, cross-institutional collaborations, and so forth)
  9. Determining the role of online learning and developing a strategy for that role
  10. Implementing risk management and information security practices to protect institutional IT resources/data and respond to regulatory compliance mandates*
  1. Developing an enterprise IT architecture that can respond to changing conditions and new opportunities*

* Tie

  • A large % of high achievers leave within the first year by changing their majors.  How do we go about changing the expectation and “weeding out” courses? >  Let’s redesign our courses.  We need to be innovative for the sake of completion.
  • Most kids that start out in science don’t make it – let’s change this mindset!
  • We need to build community with students because relationships matter.  We need to connect faculty and students to build retention.  
  • Let’s share more than syllabi between 2 year and 4 year institutions.  Building relationships among professors on a variety of campuses.  We need to have regular meetings across our institutions.
  • How can we change the behavior of students… those that don’t take advice that we give them?  We can bring in mentors and advisors of students that have made it through as these folks are “one of them”.
  • Convince young people of the possibilities.
  • Innovation means building on the faculty/staff/student relationships and trying things!

“Technology needs to be infused in all we do – not as an afterthought.”  

  • Technology is so pervasive and the chief technologist needs to be able to ask good questions, listen carefully, and have the ability to communicate.
  • Use technology to transform the institution as the institution transforms the lives of students.

“Teachers touch eternity through their students.”


“Watch your Thoughts because they become your Words, watch your words because they become your Actions, watch your actions as they become your Habits, watch your habits as they become your Character, and watch your character as this becomes your Destiny…”

Related:  Freeman A. Hrabowski, III – TED Talk “Set high expectations for all students: Freeman Hrabowski at TED2013

GVSU Professors Receive Blackboard Exemplary Course Awards at #BbWorld14

GVSU Exemplary Course Award

Maurice Heiblum (Senior Vice President, Higher Education, Corporate And Government Markets), Katie Blot (Senior Vice President, Education Services), Mark Belles (Senior Vice President, K-12), Eric Kunnen (Emerging Technologies Coordinator, GVSU), Jay Bhatt (President and CEO Mark Strassman, Senior Vice President, Industry And Product Management)

Congratulations to GVSU professors Szymon Machajewski and Julia VanderMolen for being awarded the 2014 Blackboard Exemplary Course Award.  Along with 67 other winners from 43 institutions from around the world, professors Machajewski and VanderMolen were highlighted in a special recognition luncheon at the BbWorld conference in Las Vegas, NV.

I was honored to receive the catalyst award on behalf of GVSU and Professor Szymon Machajewski.

GVSU Awards at BbWorld14 Luncheon

Closing Keynote: Geoffrey Canada #BbWorld14

Closing Keynote: Geoffrey Canada

canadakeynoteSpeaker(s): Geoffrey Canada

In his 20-plus years with Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc., Geoffrey Canada has become nationally recognized for his pioneering work helping children and families in Harlem and as a passionate advocate for education reform. Since 1990, Canada has been the President and Chief Executive Officer for Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), which The New York Times Magazine called “one of the most ambitious social experiments of our time.” In October 2005, Canada was named one of “America’s Best Leaders” by US News and World Report.


  • “If we don’t do something different we will preside over a decline and demise of the nation.”
  • In Harlem, no one was going to college – how did we allow this to happen?
  • Detroit was worse the Harlem, Camden was worse, Flint was worse…
  • As a nation we have developed the most toxic situation through allowing a huge number of kids to not get an education.
  • You cannot get a job without an education today.
  • We lock up all the guys when they break the law.  We incarcerate more people per capita than any other country. We have created an industry around incarceration that is rivaling our education infrastructure.
  • You can’t educate poor kids, yes you can.  Poverty makes it difficult but they can absolutely be educated.
  • What have we done with our treasure in this country?
  • $30,000 a year is the average cost to incarcerate and in New York it is $157,000 – what are we getting? Nothing and no one thinks that is a crisis.
  • How come in our country we haven’t done the modest investment to save our kids at $5,000 per child?  What do we get for this investment?  Kids that can work, provide for their families, be productive, etc.
  • Global Warming is a focus and until it effects us we don’t give attention to it.  So we have an education problem, when are we giving attention to it.
  • 75% of American children can’t qualify for military service.  30% won’t graduate high school and you can’t go into service.  10% have a felony.  30% disabilities.  27% of children are so obese that they can’t qualify.  This wasn’t the case 20 years ago.  WHO let’s this happen?  WE did.  This is a national disaster because we can’t field a military program.
  • College grad rates in middle class. We need to wake up.  People think ed reform is an issue for the inner cities, it’s not.  Today in the white community unwed births are higher than the 60’s in the black community.  In America today our education crisis is more than just black and latino.
  • People get mad when you change something in education.  If you are a teacher and you cannot teach you should find another job.  This isn’t controversial.  I’m not beating up on teachers.   If you are a barber and can’t cut hair, get another job.
  • Education calls for talented people skilled in their job.
  • If we can’t get rid of poor teachers let’s send them to the upper class communities.
  • I believe you can look at data and evaluate and see if someone is doing a good job or not.
  • If you don’t know that the right answer is… do what rich people do!  The goal for their children is to go to college and expect them to go.

If you are a teacher you should have the same expectations for your classroom as you do for your children.

Creating a Master Online Course and Blackboard Learn Presence #BbWorld14

Creating a Master Online Course and Blackboard Learn Presence

mastercoursesessionSpeaker(s): Lisa Capan, Monica Hill

Due to popular demand, this session is being run a third time. In an effort to improve the use and familiarization with Blackboard Learn™, The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) has adopted a new requirement for all faculty to create a Blackboard Learn™ Presence in the classroom (Online, Blended and Face-to-Face). In addition to this initiative, CCBC is also piloting a new initiative, the Distance Education Course Summit (DECS), in an effort to help ensure all online and blended courses are developed according to the Quality Matters (QM) rubric. The ultimate goal of DECS is to have all CCBC online courses achieve QM certification and become the Master Online Course in Blackboard Learn™. During the DECS, faculty have the opportunity to collaborate with experts in instructional design and media, subject matter experts, and the CCBC Library to ensure faculty have the resources necessary to develop courses that achieve high quality online course design and content.
  • Master Online Course Initiative
    • Each online course will have 1 master course.
    • Create consistency
    • Better course management
    • Help meet student expectations
    • Driver for master course initiative was for accreditation and the recommendations were: increase student success rates, must show initiatives and progressive efforts made by 2017.
    • Quality Assurance
      • Alignment of objectives with online course components
      • Consistency between course sections and multiple sections
      • Enhanced instructor effectiveness and time (spend less time creating content vs spending time connecting with students)
      • Ability to have more courses achieve Quality Matters certifications
    • Efficient online course management using Bb Learn Content Management
      • Shorter prep time for faculty
      • Opportunity to offer more sections
      • Comfort of assigning adjuncts with consistent quality courses
      • Ability to edit and fix issues with content in one time/one place
    • Quality Matters
      • The master online course will be QM certified assuring:
        • Consistency in QM standards in every courses of the same course number
        • Common menu template and navigation, continuity of design, layout, and expectations for students (via approval from academic senate)
        • Adherence to standards for course and program objectives
    • Team Building
      • Team-built course, providing the best practices from multiple faculty who have experience teaching the course online
      • Provides the students the most engaged and enriched learning experience while attaining consistent learning outcomes
      • Faculty, instructional designers, librarians, instructional technologists, instructional media developer, DE coordinator (one for each school)
      • Content belongs to the college
    • Benefits and Flexibility
      • Course objectives can be met in a variety of ways…
      • The master online course can be developed to provide different themes or activities for  faculty to choose from, all while meeting the course objectives, providing flexibility for faculty via modules
      • Master course template is pre-copied into the courses for faculty
    • Efficiency
      • Once the template is developed, provides faculty more time to then concentrate and focus on facilitation of the course an engaging students online via Bb Collaborate
    • Distance Education Course Summit (DECS)
      • DECS is a 1 day “think tank” session (4-6 hours) to help ensure all online and blended courses are developed according to QM rubric
      • Goal: All CCBC online courses achieve QM certification
      • DECS differs from QM process in the DECS occurs at the beginning of the course development process
      • QM concentrates on the quality of navigation and structure of the coruse
      • DECS concentrates solely on the quality of the content and learning objects for the online course
  • Blackboard Learn Presence
    • All courses have a presence on Bb and there is a CCBC requirement for all faculty to create a presence in F2F classes
    • Increase awareness of Bb and how it can be use to supplement/support F2F instruction
    • Increase student engagement
    • Support conservation efforts and no more snow days! :-)
    • Prepare students that will eventually take an online courses
    • Student benefits: 24/7 access to course documents, communicate with classmates and instructor via DB and chats, send secure messages to instructor, become familiar with Bb before taking an online class
    • Faculty benefits: Upload all course documents, no need for extra copies, communicate with students via chat, send secure messages to students, flip the classroom, extend discussion and other classroom activities, secure submission of assignments
    • All faculty at CCBC are required by Spring 2014 to have a Bb presence, and all adjunct by Fall 2014
    • Requirements of Bb use: instructor info, syllabus, midterm progress and final grades posted
    • Training includes: face to face (Bb Learn Presence Training, Bb Learn Intro Training), online (CCBC designed and Bb on demand), and support (job aids, online learning admin, Bb admin, 24/7 help desk)
    • Lessons Learned
      • Initial resistance
      • Eagerness for more training on uses of Bb Learn in F2F classes
      • More flexibility needed in F2F training availability
      • “Quick and Dirty” version of online training developed
      • Communication, Communication, Communication!
    • Next Steps
      • Rollout to adjuncts (communication, DE coordinators, CCBC sharepoint daily posts, Bb announcements on landing page, all hands on deck on professional development days
      • Aggressive “no more snow days” initiative
      • Collect data on efficacy of Bb Learn Presence and impact on student retention and success in preparation for 2017 Middle States revisit
    • Anticipated Outcomes
      • Continuity of instruction (no more snow days)
      • Greater use of Bb Learn in F2F classrooms
      • Eliminate the use of 3rd party software vendors that do what Bb can do (places a support issue if students and faculty use non-supported projects)
      • Convenience and flexibility for students & faculty
      • Increased student engagement
      • Greater integration of technology in F2F curriculum
      • Less paper
      • More security of assignment and communications