Now that you've figured out the content you want in your course, you need to assign that content in a way that makes sense for you and your course goals.
First, you need to figure out when you want those assignments to be due, and I would recommend a consistent pattern so students aren't caught unaware. Many instructors use the due date and time of 11:59pm on Sunday, but certainly others make sure the readings and adaptive quizzes are done just before each class (so maybe 9:45am for a M/W/F class that starts at 10am) but have homework done the day after class (so maybe 11:59pm on T/R) and quizzes every other week on Sunday night. You need to do what makes sense for you and your teaching style--but again, I would advocate for consistency, wherever possible, that you can outline in your syllabus.
You also need to determine the settings for each assignment. Maybe for a quiz, you let students only take it 1 time, but for a homework, you let a student have 3 attempts. Maybe you drop the lowest 1 grade in the category quiz but the lowest 3 grades for anything in the category of homework, if you assign more homeworks. Maybe the adaptive quizzing is worth 25% of the students' overall grade in Achieve, 25% for homework, and 50% is for summative quizzes or tests. And, of course, you need to determine how much the work in Achieve counts toward the overall course grade. All of this info, of course, should appear in the syllabus as well.
(For more information on the assignment settings and gradebook settings, check out the links to the knowledge base.)
Good luck as you work through the details of creating all your assignments in Achieve!
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When creating a new course in Achieve, you will often be presented with the option to start with a pre-built course or browse resources. Each of these options has pros and cons, which we will describe below. The help articles listed below will also give you some insight into next steps once you have decided whether to start with a pre-built course.
Start with a Pre-built course
Add resources to your course
Are a great starting point for beginner instructors who would like a default approach to organizing their course
Are organized into units according to the text on which your course is based
Have a wide variety of curated resources already added to the course based on what is typically used or recommended
Have even more resources available to add from the Content Library if you'd like to supplement what comes with the pre-built course
The items in a pre-built course are already added to your course and do not need to be added from the Content Library, but you can always remove them or add more. You can choose from the items added to your course which ones you would like to assign with a due date and points .
Bulk assigning may be more difficult in a pre-built course
If you would like to assign items in bulk in a pre-built course, you will have to find each of the items in the course and check the box for it. In some cases, it may be easier to find and select resources to assign in bulk when browsing resources in the Content Library because it has a search feature. However, if the item is already added to your course (as many will be when using a pre-built course), you will not be able to assign it in bulk using the Content Library. The checkboxes will be greyed out and not allow you to select the item for bulk assigning.
If you choose to Browse Our Library Of Content rather than Start With A Pre-Built Course, you will no longer have the option to use the pre-built course . Make sure this is the option you want before you select it. (If you choose not to use the pre-built course and later decide you'd like to try it, you can do so only if you create a new course.) Browsing resources rather than using a pre-built course allows you to:
Search for and add only specific resources to your course (You can type in a term to search for, or filter items by Chapter/Topic, Resource Type, or Recommended Use)
Easily create your own units and course organization as you add items to your course
Easily assign items or change their visibility as you add them to your course
If you're not sure, start with a pre-built course
A pre-built course gives you a starting point to work from when building your course. You can still add resources or remove any you don't like. You can also add or remove units and reorganize resources in the pre-built course. The only drawback of using a pre-built course is that it may be more cumbersome to assign items in bulk or organize items in your course , since you can't do it as part of the process of adding them.
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Now that you've figured out your Achieve course delivery method, you need to determine how you want to manager you sections. A Section Manager with sections is the easiest way to manage the content of multiple sections from one place-- the Section Manager. It’s also the easiest way to manage course sections of the same course taught by multiple different TAs/instructors. However, Section Managers do have certain limitations.
In Achieve, you can create course sections under a Section Manager. All of the sections are copies of the Section Manager course, and depending on settings you choose, they may inherit changes from the Section Manager.
How does a Section Manager work?
Section Managers do not allow the following actions. These actions would instead be taken in each course section.
Viewing assignment scores or completion information in the assignment list, gradebook, and reports
Creating due date exceptions or student-specific assignments
Creating groups of students
Performing LMS integration
How do the sections work?
The course sections under the Section Manager have two different permission sets: Restricted Access and Full Access. In general, Restricted Access is used when you want changes in the Section Manager to flow down into the sections. Restricted Access instructors have limitations on the changes they can make within the course, while Full Access instructors have complete control over the content. The differences between these section types will be covered in more and more detail throughout this article.
Is a Section Manager with sections the right set up for me?
A Section Manager with sections is the easiest way to manage the content of multiple sections from one place-- the Section Manager. It’s also the easiest way to manage course sections of the same course taught by multiple different TAs/instructors. However, Section Managers do have certain limitations.
You will not be able to integrate your Section Manager with an LMS or enroll students in it. You will only be able to set up integration with the section courses under the Section Manager once those have been created.
You will not be able to customize the name, course code, or course start/end dates for each section. This information will be inherited from the Section Manager.
You will not be able to edit Diagnostic activities once sections are created.
The alternative to creating a Section Manager with sections would be to create copies of a single course (not tied to a Section Manager). Functionally, this is almost exactly the same as creating Full Access sections. The only benefit of creating single course copies is that they can have unique course names and start/end dates, while Full Access sections can only inherit this information from the Section Manager. There are also drawbacks to using single course copies. A course coordinator can quickly add an instructor or TA to a Full Access section, but this is not possible for a single course copy. This would have to be done through Macmillan Learning Customer Support. Also, this setup only allows you to add content items you create to a single course, rather than all of your sections. See the table below for further comparison.
Comparison of section/course types
Below is a table with a brief comparison of the different section types under a Section Manager (Restricted Access and Full Access) vs. course copies that are not tied to a Section Manager. We'll cover the differences between Restricted and Full Access sections in more detail later in this article.
Restricted Access section
Full Access section
Course Copy (not tied to a Section Manager)
Who controls how content is organized in the section course?
Section Manager instructor
Full Access section instructor
Course Copy instructor
Who controls who has instructor access to the section courses?
Section Manager instructor
Section Manager instructor
Macmillan Customer Support
Can I customize the course info such as the course name, course code, start and end dates?
No, it’s inherited from the Section Manager
No, it’s inherited from the Section Manager
Newly created Files and Links from the Section Manager are automatically added to the section course
No, but you can add these manually
Newly created Assessments and Writing assignments from the Section Manager are automatically added to the section course
No, you can only add these to one course
Receives changes to the content of Assessments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to the content of Writing Assignments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to the Target Score and Topics for LearningCurve Adaptive Quizzes and Read & Practice assignments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to Diagnostic assignments from the Section Manager
Receives changes to the content of the course from the Section Manager
Section instructor can change the content in the section course or assignments
Section instructor can change assignment settings such as due date and points
*Full Access sections will receive changes to LearningCurve Adaptive Quizzes and Read & Practice assignments from the section manager only if the assignment has never been opened in that Full Access section.
For more instructions, go here to create a Section Manager and see how to manage those sections as well. (And, as always, talk to your local representative, specialist, or sign up for a training if you want more information about how these choices apply to you and your course goals.)
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Now that you've decided to use Achieve, you need to determine how to set up your Achieve course to align with your course goals. Some topics that you need to think about, for instance, might be:
Does your school offer a First Day or Inclusive Access program that you should participate in?
Are you required to use your LMS? If so, should you offer Achieve through your LMS (be that Canvas, Blackboard, D2L/Brightspace or Moodle)?
If you are teaching more than one section of the same course, or managing a course with multiple sections and instructors, should you use the Section Manager feature where you create a course and have all sections use a copy or branch of that course?
Once you get into the content of Achieve, do you want to use a pre-built course or start from scratch with our resources to design your own course? Which resources make the most sense to use and assign?
How do you want to set up your assignments and grading policies? Will you give students multiple attempts or a grace period to get work done? How much is the work in Achieve going to count toward the overall course grade?
I wish I could tell you that deciding to use Achieve was the LAST step in the process, but really, you're only just getting started. A series of articles will follow on some of these topics to help you figure out what course design makes the most sense for you, your course goals, and your students. Stay tuned!
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When we were doing research to develop Achieve, both students and instructors told us that they needed more than just discipline content; they needed tools to help students be great students, regardless of the course content. A student’s ability to adapt problem-solving behaviors to different academic tasks and feedback is critical for successful learning. This ability, also referred to as self-regulated learning, has been defined as a set of interrelated skills and motivations that control learning [1, 2]. In order to better support students’ self-regulated learning, we’ve created the Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys in Achieve.
If the surveys are in your course, you will find them under the Resources tab. Instructors report that they are easy to assign and easy for students to complete and, most shockingly, students LIKE the surveys!
When asked how they felt about the Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys, students said….
“It shows that there is a lot more room for improvement not just in psych, but also other classes.”
“The questions in the survey helped me to reflect on what I did to better myself and encouraged me to improve further .”
“The surveys helped me to reevaluate my goals and ensure I was on the right track for this class to get the grade I desire.”
“The surveys helped me better look at how I studied and participated in class. It gave me better study habit ideas .”
Not only do students like the surveys, but our data suggests that using Goal-setting and Reflection Surveys impacts student course performance.
Students that complete their surveys experience higher final course grades
Students completing up to 2 surveys perform 2 - 3% better on their course grade than their peers not completing surveys.
Students completing 3 - 5 surveys perform up to 5.5% better on their course grade than their peers not completing surveys .
Students that complete their surveys also perform better on internal Achieve assignments like practice quizzes and homework (Ranking 8% - 12% higher in their classes than their peers not completing surveys)
AND…. Students completing their surveys also complete up to 36% more of their assigned Achieve activities.
But it’s not just about the students. What do instructors say they learn from the surveys and the reports?
“It helped me understand how each student is doing and where we need more work.”
“The report was valuable to me as it revealed students' level of interest in the course, what they seek from the course and how they will apply the outcomes of the course to their lives. I truly used all parts of the information included in the report.”
“It's interesting and helpful to see the number of students who report being off track. It's also helpful to see what obstacles they report facing to staying on track and the strategies they intend on using moving forward.”
“It provided good insight about where many of the students can use some additional instruction and resources to boost learning.”
How many of the surveys are instructors assigning?
For courses that assign only 1 survey, only 38% of students complete the survey.
Courses that assign 2 - 3 surveys experience more than twice the number of students completing the surveys (77 - 82%).
Courses that assign 4 or more surveys experience a significant drop in student survey completion rates (47% or less)
What does this mean for us?
There is a sweet spot of using/assigning the Goal-setting & Reflection Surveys. We recommend instructors assign 2 - 3 surveys per semester for maximum student engagement.
If you want to learn more about the surveys, check out our introduction to surveys article.
 Zimmerman, B. J., & Schunk, D. H. (Eds.). (2001). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: Theoretical Perspectives. Routledge.
 Broadbent, J., & Poon, W. L. (2015). Self-regulated learning strategies & academic achievement in online higher education learning environments: A systematic review. The Internet and Higher Education, 27, 1-13.
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As we start the semester, don’t forget that Macmillan provides a variety of tools to help get your students registered for your class. You can see slides, videos, and syllabus inserts on our First Day of Class page to get you through the start of the semester regardless of which product you’re using.
That said, a few students will always run into some issues, so here is one easy thing, per product, to tell your students or do yourself.
“I’m still waiting for the code.”
When students buy access to Achieve, LaunchPad, or Sapling through the Student Store , they do not get emailed an access code; they purchase the access directly to the product. Some students wait for the email to arrive that includes their access code. That’s not necessary (and no email will arrive with a code). Once you pay for access, you can enter the product.
“I can’t find your course on the Store.”
LaunchPad: We sometimes get reports that students “can’t find” their instructor’s LaunchPad course. Remember, you need to activate your course in order to make it available for students. And if you activate the course at 1pm on Monday, it won’t appear in the Student Store at 1:02pm on Monday; it will appear the next day.
Sapling: If you are using a Sapling course that is LMS-integrated, then that course is NOT available to buy through the Student Store. Students can only purchase access directly through SaplingLearning.com. So if students can’t find your course on the Store, that’s one likely reason.
Achieve: You need to make your Achieve course Active before students can enroll into it. You also are asked for your course start date when you set up your course. If your course starts on 1/25 and you put that into Achieve, your course will remain in draft status until 1/25, which is why students won’t be able to purchase access until 1/25.
If you have more questions, you can always check out our Support Community for more help.
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Do you need technical support setting up a grade book, opening up a course for students, creating assignments, or anything else? If you are using Achieve, LaunchPad, iOLab, or Sapling, and you need technical support, visit the Macmillan Support Community, where you can search our knowledge base, chat, or fill out a form describing what's going on.
(And that goes for instructors and students alike!)
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As more courses move online, one question we keep getting is, “How do I offer assessments in the most secure way possible?”.
We have had a number of instructors ask us about test security, and we also know that a lot of your schools already have programs for proctoring and browser lockdown. As such, we are not adding our own options for proctoring and lockdown (and be forced to charge for it accordingly), but rather we are providing more tools to make exporting our tests to load into your campus LMS easier. Directions to export a test created with Macmillan Learning Test Bank into your LMS are here .
In addition, each of the individual digital products that we offer have tools to help with test security. You can read through those options below. And we had a very useful webinar with Eric Chiang where he reviewed ideas for test security.
Lastly, we have moved most of our test banks to the Macmillan Learning Test Bank, accessible only only to a verified instructor. With this system you can:
Create paper or online tests that you can export to your LMS using your web browser;
Drag and drop questions to create tests;
Create and edit your own questions and edit publisher-created question sets.
Learn more here: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Getting-Started-with-the-Macmillan-Learning-... .
If you are using a Macmillan Learning digital product for your online class, here are some suggestions below to help you with assessment security.
For LaunchPad Users:
Set a Passcode - Requires a student to enter an instructor-specified Passcode to begin the quiz.
Limit the Number of Attempts - For higher stakes assessment, only allow students to submit the assessment one time.
Time Limit - This ensures that all students are provided the same amount of time to complete a quiz. If the quiz is not completed within the time limit, the quiz is automatically submitted when time expires. The time limit will also limit students’ ability to look everything up or get too much assistance.
Scrambling - Instructors use this setting to randomize the order of question, the order of answer choices, or both.
Feedback Control - This gives instructors the control over what information is available to students after they submit a quiz, such as whether to show the correct answers.
Visibility - Instructors use the Visibility setting to "hide" a quiz from students until a specific date and time.
Hide Grade - Instructors can elect to hide students' quiz grade until the due date has passed.
Question Pooling - can further add to the variability of the assessment so that not all students receive the same questions on the exam and instead receive a random set of questions from a set of them. Instructors can set up multiple pools within one assessment to ensure students receive the right number from each desired topic the test should cover.
You can see all of these settings explained in this article on setting up assignments: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/LaunchPad-Tips-for-setting-up-assignments and the article on question pooling: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/LaunchPad-Creating-a-quiz-with-question-pools
For Sapling and Achieve Users:
For Assessments, use the Quiz / Test policy and add a time limit also. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies
Time Limit - This ensures that all students are provided the same amount of time to complete a quiz. The time limit will also limit students’ ability to look everything up or get too much assistance. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-Make-an-Assessment-timed
Use question pools - Although many of our questions already contain variation, using Pools can further add to the variability of the assessment so that not all students receive the same questions on the exam and instead receive a random set of questions from a set of them. Instructors can set up multiple pools within one assessment to ensure students receive the right number from each desired topic the test should cover. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-Create-and-edit-question-pools-in-mobile-assignments
Scrambling - Randomizing the order the questions are delivered could also be a viable option so no one has the same question 3. This can be set in the Grading Policies for an assessment. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policieshttps://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies
Visibility - When assigning the assessment, instructors should use the visibility settings to ensure students don’t see the exam until the instructor is ready for them to see it. By setting the student visibility to a certain date range, instructors can choose exactly when the assessment becomes visible to students and when it closes from visibility. For higher stakes tests, it is recommended that this window be as short as possible. https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/article/Sapling-Learning-View-or-change-mobile-assignment-grading-policies
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As the semester comes to a close, you'll need to start thinking about wrapping up student grades and then creating your new course for the next semester. Here are a few links to help: LaunchPad: For this semester: Make sure you zero scores for unsubmitted assignments. Make any other changes to student grades. Export your gradebook (as needed). For next semester: Copy your existing course (and update the due dates) or create a new course. (And, if needed, branch from a course Master to create section copies.) Update the assignments (changing questions, changing due dates) as needed to meet your course goals. Make sure your course is available for students. Sapling / SaplingPlus: Make any final changes to student grades. Export grades (as needed). Copy your course or let the Client Success Team (email@example.com) know if you wish to use Sapling next semester. Update the assignments as needed to meet your course goals (whether that means changing the questions or changing the assignment settings). Achieve: Make any final changes to student grades. Export the grades (as needed). Either copy your prior course or create a new course. Update the assignments as needed to meet your course goals. And once you've done all that, consider yourself ready for the next semester!
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We have been doing A LOT of work on Achieve Read & Practice this fall, so here's a recap of what you and your students will have for January 2020. Course List: The Course List redesign (that you'll see when you first log into Achieve in mid-December) organizes courses for students and instructors in collapsible buckets allowing users to easily find their current courses and access past courses. Master Section: There is a new Master Section option that will allow one instructor or coordinator to set up their course and then create individual section courses (for themselves or other instructors) from the Master Section. The coordinator can set all of the consistent course info for all sections in one place. These settings pass down to the sections. Section courses are set up in a grid format where the coordinator can specify the section name, meeting days and times, instructor(s) teaching, and the level of access that the instructors will receive for that section. (If an instructor has Restricted Access, the instructor has clear indicators regarding what actions they can and cannot take.) Within the tools, coordinators will be able to edit the content and push the updates to Restricted Access sections until the first grade return. We recommend using Restricted Access for your own sections when you want to manage the content for all of your sections in one place. Preview as Student: I nstructors can preview the course as a student, including My Course and Gradebook. Contextual Help: From the "Help" in the upper right of each page, we added in Help links to the most commonly asked questions--like how do I assign something on the "My Course" page or how do I sync with my LMS on the "Gradebook" page.
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In an effort to make sure you are all ready to go before classes start, here's a short checklist of how to prepare yourself and your students to use LaunchPad this semester. Course Set Up – Prior to Term ❏ Bookmark the LaunchPad sign in page: https://www.macmillanlearning.com/college/us/digital/launchpad/ ❏ Attend a training and develop confidence in your ability to use LaunchPad ❏ Learn your username and password (and don’t put it on a post-it note in your office for students to see) ❏ If you are using an LMS in conjunction with LaunchPad, make sure your integration is set up correctly and that you’ve attended the LMS training session . ❏ Bookmark Instructor Help and know how to contact Customer Support ❏ Set up a new course for the new term. (You can copy your existing course and branch it, if you have multiple sections of the same course, or create a new course .) ❏ Make a series of assignments for students to complete. If you are new to LaunchPad and want to start small, we typically recommend that you begin with LearningCurve. ❏ Confirm that your assignment settings match the goals of your course. (For instance, do you want to make the assignments due before class to enable discussion or after class, to confirm understanding.) ❏ Activate your course so it is available for students to enroll into. ❏ Prepare for your First Day of Class with students by using our FDOC tools or by talking to your local representative . Getting Started with Students - First Day of Class ❏ Provide students with the access information needed to join your course, whether they are buying access through the Macmillan LearningStudent Store or purchasing codes directly from your campus bookstore. ❏ Explain to students why you are having them use LaunchPad and show how it can benefit them ❏ Make students aware of the three purchase options: purchase now, enter an access code, and pay later. ❏ Make sure students know when and how to contact Customer Support . ❏ Make students aware that the full ebook is included in LaunchPad, and it’s available to be downloaded for reading offline . Gradebook Results and Assessment – During and After the Term ❏ Review the gradebook to identify common student misconceptions and inform course and lecture plans ❏ Use individual student data for early intervention ❏ Download my student results from LaunchPad (or, if using an LMS, from the LMS) ❏ Think about how to change and improve your course for next semester ❏ Review the Macmillan “ Webinars on Demand ” for new ideas on how to use LaunchPad in your course.
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The team has been working hard on improvements to LaunchPad this year. A lot of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’ like security improvements and changes to how LaunchPad works for visually impaired users working with JAWS, but a few to highlight are: We just released some student onboarding changes that adds a "Purchase Access" and "Enter A Code" button to the top of the LaunchPad course if a user has less than 30 days of access remaining. This is designed to make life (and purchasing) easier for students using Trial Access. To further help with student onboarding, we increased character limit of the LaunchPad school name field so institutions with a very long name won’t be truncated, making it easier for students to find their school. We removed the Flash Player from the LaunchPad System Check since a) we have very little Flash content in LP anymore and b) Flash is going away, as you know. The "Zero score for unsubmitted" Gradebook Preference is now disabled by default for copied/branched course. This prevents the issue where an instructor creates a copy or branch of an existing course but doesn’t update the due dates and then when students enroll in the course, they automatically receive a zero for all past due assignments.
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Okay, so I will confess that Question Pooling is probably my favorite part of LaunchPad. (Yes, I'm a nerd and I'm okay with that.) Hopefully you know all about question pooling already and this post is a boring reminder...but just in case, here's a recap: With Question Pooling, you can create a group of questions from which one or more (depending on the setting) is chosen at random for students (and we do this for some of our pre-built quizzes already) . If you pick questions that are all related to the same topic (which is sensible to do, by the way), then students are all being quizzed on the same concept, but the actual question they see varies--making cheating harder to do (not that students cheat, but you know, hypothetically...) and giving you a more diverse question base. So you could end up with a quiz where students see 10 questions, but those 10 questions are pulling from a pool of 50 questions, so each student likely ends up with a slightly different quiz from each of their colleagues. Check it out and let us know what you think!
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At this point, hopefully you've gotten all your students into LaunchPad and you want to see who has started to do work. So you open up the gradebook and bam--there are ALL these pieces of data in the gradebook. What do they mean and how can they help you and your students? I think one of our BEST resources is the LaunchPad Gradebook Tutorial . This help article shows everything you need to know about the gradebook and more! Check it out and let us know what you think!
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If you're just starting out with LaunchPad and you are overwhelmed with the number and variety of resources in the product, just start with LearningCurve. Assign one LearningCurve before each class period so students come to class prepared for discussion. This will allow you more freedom in your class to talk about what's important, and you can see which students are doing the work or which topics are causing problems. And though it's hard to believe, students consistently, over the years, report actually enjoying doing work in LearningCurve because they can make progress, ask questions, and they actually learn! They view the interface as 'game-like' and the online format allows them to learn without feeling silly by asking questions in class. It's a win-win, so give it a try! And if you're nervous, reach out to our implementation team of help in setting up your course quickly and easily. We're here to help!
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