Faculty Conversations: 2006-2007

Fall 2006

Watching Each Other Teach Tuesday, September 19. Elizabeth Leer, Education; Diana Postlethwaite, English and Boldt Chair in the Humanities; Anthony Roberts, Dance

‘Good Thinking, Good Funding’: Supporting Faculty Scholarship Thursday, September 21. Jeanine Grenberg, Philosophy and FDC chair; Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak, Political Science and Asian Studies; Mary Trull, English

Teaching with Visualizations: What do your students _see_? Wednesday, September 27. Cathy Manduca, Director, Science Education Resource Center (SERC), Carleton College

Establishing Standards and Criteria for Grading Wednesday, October 11. Barbara Walvoord, Concurrent Professor of English and Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame, IN

Provost’s Sabbatical Series Luncheon Wednesday, October 25. Eric Cole, Professor of Biology, and Anne Sabo, Associate Professor of Norwegian

Linking Assessment and Faculty Development: Carleton’s Writing Portfolio Tuesday, October 31. Liz Ciner, Senior Lecturer in English and Associate Dean of the College, and Carol Rutz, Lecturer in English and Director of the College Writing Program, Carleton College

Real Measurement for Real Pedagogy: Finding indications of student learning in the stuff you already have lying about Tuesday, November 7. Chuck Huff, Psychology and 2006-07 CILA Assoviate; Dana Gross, Psychology

Advising as Teaching Wednesday, November 8. Martha Hemwall, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Dean of Student Academic Services, Lawrence University, WI

Disciplining Interdisciplinarity Wednesday, November 15. Mary Titus, English, Director of the Center for Integrative Studies and 2006-2007 CILA Associate; members of the Interdisciplinary Learning Community

On Again, Off Again: Integrating On and Off Campus Study Tuesday, November 28. Eric Lund, Religion, Director of International and Off-Campus Studies; and others

Spring 2007

New Social Uses of the Web: Student use (and abuse) of Facebook Tuesday, February 13. Greg Kneser, Dean of Students; Dan Beach, IIT

Academic Integrity in a Cut and Paste World: Beyond the Honor Code Wednesday, February 21. Jim Hanson, Religion, Associate Dean of Students

Learning About Thinking, and Thinking About Learning, With Knowledge Surveys Tuesday, February 27. Karl Wirth, Associate Professor of Geology, Macalester College

Provost’s Sabbatical Series Luncheon Tuesday, March 6. Phyllis Larson, Associate Professor of Japanese and Asian Studies; Bruce Nordstrom-Loeb, Associate Professor of Sociology

Critical Factors Affecting the Impact of Liberal Arts Colleges Wednesday, March 14. Charles Blaich, Director of Inquiries, Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Wabash College, IN

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: Watching Students Discuss: A multimedia approach to assessing seminar skills Wednesday, March 21. José Feito, Associate Professor of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Saint Mary’s College of California, 2001 and 2003 Carnegie Scholar

WORKSHOP: What Are We Talking About? Building a conceptual language for understanding seminar discussions Wednesday, March 21. José Feito, Associate Professor of Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Saint Mary’s College of California, 2001 and 2003 Carnegie Scholar

The Meta-Curriculum: Planning theme years at St. Olaf Wednesday, April 4. Dan Hofrenning, Political Science; Jim May, Provost and Dean of the College

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: Teaching Curiosity Wednesday, April 11. Mary Titus, English, Director of the Center for Integrative Studies and 2006-07 CILA Associate

The Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR): What do students learn from this model of undergraduate research? Tuesday, April 17. Julie Legler, MSCS, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research

The Use of Rubrics: From clarifying assignments to facilitating grading Tuesday, April 24. Gwen Barnes and Maggie Broner, Spanish

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: Can you teach virtue in the classroom? Can you learn it? Tuesday, May 1. Chuck Huff, Psychology and 2006-07 CILA Associate

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“Watching Each Other Teach”

Tuesday, September 19

Elizabeth Leer, Education; Diana Postlethwaite, English and Boldt Chair in the Humanities; Anthony Roberts, Dance

All of us understand the communal and collaborative nature of successful scholarship. Teaching for most of us, in contrast, is a deeply private activity taking place behind closed classroom doors. Unlike scholarship, it is shared with colleagues primarily at those points when evaluation for promotion and tenure take place.

What would it be like to open the classroom door: to watch each other teach, and to talk about it afterwards, under different circumstances? Three St. Olaf faculty members had an opportunity last June to learn some structured ways we might begin to create communities of teachers. They participated in a five-day Teaching Partners Workshop sponsored by the Associated Colleges of the Midwest. Join us for lunch and conversation as they share their workshop experiences.

Elizabeth, Diana, and Anthony will model for us a structured exercise called “Microteaching,” a workshop process by which faculty from diverse disciplines learn from feedback on their own teaching, and from the group conversations about teaching and learning that follow.

This Conversation will also provide an opportunity for faculty across the college interested in peer conversations about teaching to connect and consider possible models for future work together, be they Microteaching Workshops, Pedagogical Partners, or Teaching Circles (workshop attendees will talk about what each of these could be).

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‘Good Thinking, Good Funding’: Supporting Faculty Scholarship

Thursday, September 21

Jeanine Grenberg, Philosophy and FDC chair; Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak, Political Science and Asian Studies; Mary Trull, English

(co-sponsor: Faculty Development Committee)

Come celebrate the good research in which your faculty colleagues have been engaging, and strategize as well about finding the structure, time, and funding for your own research projects. Mary Trull has just finished a period of research on the funded by a St. Olaf Faculty Development “released time” grant and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). She researched and wrote a book chapter on public and private spheres in the work of the 17th century writer (and secret agent) Aphra Behn. Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak also had an FDC “released time” grant, and was a finalist for a MacArthur Fellowship. Her project investigates how immigration and citizenship policies provide a foundation for post-WWII Japanese national identity. They will start the conversation with an account of their projects, and of their efforts to find the time and money to do them. Please come join the discussion with ideas, dreams, and plans of your own!

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Teaching with Visualizations: What do your students _see_?

Wednesday, September 27

Cathy Manduca, Director, Science Education Resource Center (SERC), Carleton College

(co-sponsor: Hardy Chair in Science)

This conversation will begin by considering why teaching with visualizations is of interest to faculty across the disciplines – what is exciting, what are the opportunities, what are faculty trying to accomplish with visualizations? Then, using examples from the geosciences, we will explore the differences between what experts (faculty) and novices (students) see in visualizations and how these differences affect our teaching, student learning, and our choices of imagery for teaching.

Cathy Manduca is the director of the Science Education Resource Center (SERC), an NSF grant-funded office of Carleton College. The SERC works to improve undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education through projects that support educators. The office has special expertise in effective pedagogies, geoscience education, community organization, workshop leadership, digital libraries, website development and program and website evaluation. Cathy’s particular interests include bringing research results on teaching and learning into broader use in the geosciences, teaching quantitative skills, and building strong geoscience departments. Her work contributes to programs of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), the Digital Library for Earth System Education and the National SMETE Digital Library. She received her Ph.D. in geology from the California Institute of Technology.

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Establishing Standards and Criteria for Grading

Wednesday, October 11

Barbara Walvoord, Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, Concurrent Professor of English, and Chair of the Assessment Committee, University of Notre Dame, Indiana

Barbara Walvoord is a nationally recognized expert on grading and assessment. She is the author of _Effective Grading: A Tool for Learning and Assessment_ (Jossey-Bass, 1998), and numerous other publications. In this Conversation, she will examine various ways to construct and communicate criteria and standards for grading, including rubrics, assignment sheets, and checksheets – their uses, advantages, and limitations. When does effective guidance become “handholding”? How do we establish healthy classroom attitudes around grades and standards? What are legitimate uses of a faculty member’s “gut feeling” about a student’s work? How do we leave room for creativity and surprise? Please join us for what promises to be an important and fascinating session.

Barbara Walvoord has consulted or led workshops at more than 250 institutions of higher education throughout the U.S., on topics of assessment, teaching and learning, and writing across the curriculum. She was the founding director of four faculty-development programs at research and liberal arts institutions (Central College in Iowa, Loyola College in Maryland, University of Cincinnati, University of Notre Dame), each of which has won national recognition. Her most recent publication is _Assessment Clear and Simple: A Practical Guide for Institutions, Departments, and General Education_ (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2004). She is currently principal investigator for a three-year Lilly Foundation grant to study the teaching practices of 500 teachers of introductory theology and religion at public, private non-sectarian, and religiously-affiliated institutions.

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Linking Assessment and Faculty Development: Carleton’s Writing Portfolio

Tuesday, October 31

Elizabeth Ciner, Senior Lecturer in English and Associate Dean of the College, and Carol Rutz, Lecturer in English and Director of the College Writing Program, Carleton College

(co-sponsor: St. Olaf College Director of Writing)

In addition to completing such onerous requirements as four terms of physical education, Carleton students are required to demonstrate the ability to write well in college. Therefore, faculty must define the expectations of writing at Carleton and assess student writing for the graduation requirement. In this session, Elizabeth Ciner, Associate Dean of the College, and Carol Rutz, Director of the Writing Program, will explain how faculty moved from a method based in one instructor’s judgment of a student’s writing in one course to a midcareer portfolio of writing read by faculty from all disciplines. This improved assessment was supported by a carefully designed program of faculty development. The presentation will feature a little bit of writing, some freebies, and a lot of discussion.

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Real Measurement for Real Pedagogy: Finding evidence of student learning in the stuff you already have lying about

Tuesday, November 7

Chuck Huff, Psychology and 2006-07 CILA Associate; Dana Gross, Psychology

(co-sponsors: Collaborative Assessment of Liberal Learning (CALL), Academic Research and Planning (ARP))

Does your new approach to teaching get students excited about your subject? Help them process knowledge in greater depth? Connect their knowledge to other fields and to their own lives? How do you know? How can you find out if your students are actually learning what you think they are or having the experience you think they are?

Often there are bits of evidence lying about in your classroom that can be used as evidence that what you think is happening actually is. Chuck and Dana will talk about how to take advantage of this found data, and how to make more chances to get it. Their conversation will focus on discovering traces of student experience (in any format) that can be systematically analyzed. They will suggest two approaches to coding those traces to glean structured evidence from them, and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.

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Advising as Teaching

Wednesday, November 8

Martha Hemwall, Dean of Student Academic Services and Associate Professor (adjunct) of Anthropology, Lawrence University, Appleton WI

(co-sponsor: Academic Advising Center)

Martha Hemwall oversees the academic advising program at Lawrence University, a small, residential liberal arts college and conservatory. Her experiences advising students and working with faculty advisors at Lawrence led Hemwall, along with her co-author Kent Trachte, to rethink the nature of academic advising in several conference papers and articles, culminating in “Academic Advising as Learning: 10 Organizing Principles” in the NACADA Journal in 2005. In this conversation, Marti will present these organizing principles, and lead discussion about using a learning and teaching model for academic advising.

Martha Hemwall is the dean of student academic services, adjunct associate professor of anthropology, and coordinator of the ethnic studies program at Lawrence University. She also teaches courses in anthropology and gender studies. With Kent Trachte, she has published three major articles on advising: “Learning at the Core: Toward a New Understanding of Academic Advising,” NACADA Journal 1999; “Advising and Learning: Academic Advising from the Perspective of Small Colleges and Universities,” NACADA Monograph 2003; and “Academic Advising as Learning: 10 Organizing Principles,” NACADA Journal 2005. Martha Hemwall serves as a faculty member to the National Academic Advising Association’s (NACADA) Administrator’s Institute: “Effectively Engaging Faculty in Academic Advising Seminars.” She has presented her work at colleges and universities across the country and delivered keynote speeches for workshops and conferences.

Hemwall and Trachte, “Academic Advising as Learning: 10 Organizing Principles,” is available on the Academic Advising Center website: http://www.stolaf.edu/services/aac/Hemwall.pdf

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Interdisciplinarity: Politics and Practices

Wednesday, November 15

Mary Titus, English and Women’s Studies, Director of CIS, and 2006-07 CILA Associate; Wendy Allen, Romance Languages-French; Bob Entenmann, History and Asian Studies; L. DeAne Lagerquist, Religion; Kris MacPherson, Library and Asian Studies; Mary Walczak, Chemistry

(co-sponsors: Interdisciplinary & General Studies (IGS), Center for Integrative Studies (CIS))

Five faculty engaged this semester in Mary Titus’ CILA Associate Learning Community, titled “Disciplining Interdisciplinarity,” will share some of the insights they have gained into the practical and political aspects of crossing disciplinary lines. Among the topics they’ve read, considered, and discussed are issues of expertise, pedagogy, and institutional structure.

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On Again, Off Again: Integrating On and Off Campus Study

Tuesday, November 28

Eric Lund, Director, International and Off-Campus Studies; Matt Richey, MSCS; Mike Swift, Biology

(co-sponsor: IOCS)

Back in 2001, the self-study report prepared for St. Olaf’s accreditation review included a chapter on cross-cultural learning that proposed new efforts to integrate on-campus and off-campus studies. How much progress have we made on this matter? What should we do to further this effort? Eric Lund will review past proposals and report on the assessments of departmental commitment to ‘incorporating a global perspective’ that were recently gathered as part of the Global Citizenship Year Theme project. He will also report on what students do, on their own initiative, to extend their off-campus learning through subsequent work on campus. Matt Richey will report on some new initiatives being undertaken by the Math, Statistics & Computer Science department, and Mike Swift will report on the Biology department’s efforts to integrate on-campus and off-campus study. Attendees will be invited to share individual examples of efforts to link the two and suggest ways to improve upon what St. Olaf is already doing.

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Spring

New Social Uses of the Web: Student use (and abuse) of Facebook

Tuesday, February 13

Greg Kneser, Dean of Students; Dan Beach, IIT

(co-sponsor: Dean of Students office, IIT)

Have you ever wondered how your students (or your children) are using the web these days? Most of us probably think of the web as primarily a source of information: we look up things, or we may create web pages that others use for information. New uses of the web, referred to
broadly as Web 2.0, are increasingly both interactive and creative. These emerging social uses of the web are exemplified by sites, such as Facebook, de.licio.us, and flikr. In this Conversation, Dan Beach and colleagues from IIT will survey the new social web sites, and Dan will demonstrate a typical student IM communication (translation provided).
Greg Kneser and colleagues from the Dean of Students Office will help us understand how our St. Olaf students are using Facebook and what we might think about their habits.

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Academic Integrity in a Cut and Paste World:Beyond
the Honor Code

Wednesday, February 21

Jim Hanson, Religion, Associate Dean of Students
Diane LeBlanc, Interdisciplinary Studies, Director of Writing
Steve McKelvey, MSCS

(co-sponsor: Writing Program)

As part of his responsibilities as Associate Dean of Students, Jim Hanson has been asked to take a fresh look at the College’s policies with respect to academic integrity issues that fall outside of the St. Olaf Honor System, especially plagiarism (http://www.stolaf.edu/stulife/thebook/academic/plagiarism.html).
Our policies are somewhat unusual among institutions with honor
codes in that plagiarism, while proscribed, is not dealt with under
our Honor System. Jim will offer a couple of examples of academic integrity policies from institutions similar to St. Olaf, and present some ideas for modifying St. Olaf’s current practice. Diane and Steve will offer their thoughts on our current policies, and on the potential changes. Most of all, however, we are looking to your experiences for a good discussion about the issue of academic integrity at St. Olaf,and how those experiences can inform our policy decisions.

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Learning About Thinking, and Thinking About Learning, with Knowledge Surveys

Tuesday, February 27

Karl Wirth, Associate Professor of Geology, Macalester College

(co-sponsor: IIT)

Karl Wirth and his colleagues use “knowledge surveys” via Moodle to assess both student preparation for, and progress throughout, their courses. Karl will talk about the results he and others have had with this method of tracking student learning. Here is a brief description as background:

Traditional classroom assessment tools (e.g., quizzes and exams) generally cover only a narrow range of course content, and may not be well suited for assessing higher-level understanding and skills. There is an real need for new tools that: (1) can be used to provide formative assessments of student understanding; (2) provide more comprehensive assessment of student learning; (3) can be readily employed by students to monitor their own learning and to develop skills of self-assessment; (4) can be used by faculty to understand the effects of curricular changes and innovations; and (5) can be used by faculty and administrators to evaluate curricula and programs. Knowledge surveys, first introduced by Nuhfer (1993), provide a reliable alternative for assessing student learning, and for evaluating courses and programs.

Knowledge surveys consist of a large number of items that cover the full breadth of learning objectives in a course. The questions are worded to cover different levels of understanding (e.g., Bloom levels). When completing the knowledge surveys, students do not provide solutions to the questions. Instead, they indicate their ability to provide answers to the survey items; responses are not graded. Student responses to a knowledge survey administered at the beginning of a course provide information on student background and preparation. During the course, the survey serves as a reading and study guide. Students complete portions of the knowledge survey just prior to taking written examinations to assess their understanding. Knowledge survey results from the end of a course provide a measure of final student learning gains. In our courses, student responses to items included on surveys and exams are correlated, as are survey results and final course grades.

Evaluation of knowledge survey responses yields a wealth of both formative and summative information. The instructor can use survey results to monitor student mastery of course content, and to evaluate the effectiveness of methods employed in the classroom. Student self-assessment skills can be inferred by comparison of responses from several knowledge surveys and exams. Multi-year survey results can also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of different methods employed in the classroom. Knowledge surveys completed by exiting seniors can be used to evaluate curricula and programs.

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Critical Factors Affecting the Impact of Liberal Arts Colleges

Wednesday, March 14

Charles Blaich, Director of Inquiries, Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts, Wabash College

(co-sponsors: Office of the President, ARP, IRP)

Most of us teaching at liberal arts colleges are convinced of the value of our model of undergraduate education, yet we have surprisingly little systematic evidence to back up that conviction. The Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts was established with a grant from the Lilly Foundation to “explore, test, and promote liberal arts education.”

Under Charlie Blaich’s leadership, the Center has undertaken a number of national studies, one example of which is discussed in the article “Do Liberal Arts Colleges Really Foster Good Practices in Liberal Arts Education?” (Journal of College Student Development, Vol. 45, No. 1, Jan/Feb 2004). In 2006, the Center initiated the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, which involves 19 institutions and “focuses on the development of seven outcomes associated with undergraduate liberal arts education and the educational conditions and experiences that foster these outcomes.”

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Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Series: “Watching Students Discuss: A multimedia approach to assessing seminar skills”

Wednesday, March 21

José Alfonso Feito, Associate Professor of Psychology, Saint Mary’s College of California

José Feito was a Carnegie Scholar during 2001 and 2003. During both periods he worked on ways of understanding undergraduate participation in seminar discussions, and how we can teach our students skills that contribute to successful discussions.

Feito’s presentation for this conversation reports on the development and implementation of an innovative video-based assessment tool that explores students’ understanding of discussion-style learning. This conversation should be of value to all faculty interested in improving student discussions in their classes.

As part of a larger effort to understand learning within their general education “Great Books” seminars, a group of Saint Mary’s College faculty worked in conjunction with videographers and information technology specialists to create a meaningful way of tapping students’ evolving perceptions of seminar processes. Our students observed video segments of classroom discussions and rated individual student behaviors with regard to discussion-related learning outcomes such as clear expression, textual support, logical reasoning, and collaboration. We asked ourselves: Can students accurately distinguish quality seminar participation along the criteria emphasized in our learning outcomes? This presentation examines some of the conceptual issues that arose during the development phase of this project, demonstrates the finished video assessment tool and reports on some initial findings.

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Workshop: “What Are We Talking About? Building a conceptual language for understanding seminar discussions”

Wednesday, March 21

José Alfonso Feito, Associate Professor of Psychology, Saint Mary’s College of California

José Feito was a Carnegie Scholar during 2001 and 2003. During both periods he worked on ways of understanding undergraduate participation in seminar discussions, and how we can teach our students skills that contribute to successful discussions.

This workshop will allow participants to explore in depth some of the questions about student discussions that José Feito and his colleagues have been working on, and will include the opportunity for hands-on use of the video assessment tool that José has helped to develop.

What exactly happens when students have a great seminar discussion? Although many of us are firmly committed to discussion-based pedagogies, we do not always have well-articulated ideas of what constitutes good seminar learning. Using current SoTL research as a starting point, this workshop will explore some potential theoretical models for understanding students’ cognitive and social work within seminar discussions. These models will offer new ways to parse the complexity of student discussions and arrive at a deeper understanding of the kinds of learning we hope to faciltitate through this type of pedagogy.

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“The Meta-Curriculum: Planning ‘theme years’ at St. Olaf”

Wednesday, April 4

Dan Hofrenning, Political Science; Jim May, Provost and Dean of the College

(co-sponsor: Dean of the College)

St. Olaf is now in its second “theme year.” Ideally, a year’s theme is a principle that pervades many aspects of the curriculum and life of the college. It should filter into classrooms, and make the informal interactions of students and faculty more substantive. This CILA Conversation will feature comments by Dean Jim May and by faculty who have been involved in planning theme years, but there will be the opportunity to develop new ideas. How should a “theme year” work? What pitfalls might we avoid? What faculty, program, and other resources are we able to draw on? What possibilities are there?

As a reminder: In 2005-06, our theme was “Sustainability,” which was planned to focus the campus community’s energy and conversation on issues of energy and conservation. This year (and next), the overarching theme is “Global Citizenship and the Liberal Arts,” with attention to a related issue in each of four semesters. In 2006-07, those issues have been “Fostering a Global Perspective through Study Abroad,” coordinated by Eric Lund, and “Expressing Who We Are Through Language,” coordinated by Léon Narvaez. Next year, 2007-08, the campus will be asked to reflect on “Liberal Arts in Times of War” in the fall, coordinated by Ed Santurri, and “Civic Engagement and the Liberal Arts” in the spring, coordinated by Dan Hofrenning.

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“The Use of Rubrics: From clarifying assignments to facilitating grading to reconceptualizing the course”

Wednesday, April 24

Gwen Barnes-Karol and Maggie Broner, Romance Languages

There’s lots of talk about using rubrics today as a way of facilitating grading and clarifying course assignments and expectations for our students, but how do you go about creating rubrics that accurately reflect your course goals and tasks? In this presentation, Gwen and Maggie will share their journey from developing a rubric for class participation to rethinking the relationship between tasks, grading, and goals (conceptualization of their courses). Participants will be invited to share their own experiences in the open discussion period.

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