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Application  of  Web  2.  0  Technologies:  
How  to  u'lize  open  source  to  improve  e-­‐Learning  Environments  

Presented  By:  Jennifer  Styron,  M.Ed.  


Ning  
http://www.ning.com/  

  Faculty  are  constantly  looking  for  innova've  ways  to  connect  


students  with  one  another  as  well  as  engage  them  in  the  
learning  process.  This  need  for  engagement  is  even  greater  in  
online  learning  environments.    

  Social  networking  consists  of  “grouping  individuals  into  specific  


groups,  like  small  rural  communi'es  or  neighborhoods”  (hGp://
www.wha'ssocialnetworking.com/Contact_Us.html,  2010).    
  Ning  is  a  free  social  networking  site  and  was  site  chosen  for  the  
online  cohorts.    
Ning  
http://www.ning.com/  

Ning  was  u'lized  because  it  allowed  


students  to  upload  video  capstones.  
Students  could  then  view  and  provide  
feedback  on  other  classmates  posts.  

Provides  a  secure  site  for  students  


to  connect,  discuss,  and  upload  
course  related  materials.    
Wikis  
http://www.wikispaces.com/  

  A  Wiki  is  a  website  that  allows  the  easy  crea'on  and  edi'ng  of  any  
number  of  interlinked  web  pages  via  a  web  browser  using  a  
simplified  markup  language  or  a  WYSIWYG  text  editor  (“Wiki”,  
2010,  para.  1).    

  Wikis  have  broken  down  distance  barriers  allowing  users  from  across  
the  world  the  ability  to  par'cipate  in  and  simultaneously  create  Wiki  
sites.    
  Another  added  benefit  of  Wikis  is  the  ability  for  users  to  collaborate  
on  the  development  of  a  site  and  monitor  the  sites  as  the  produc'on  
of  the  site  occurs.    
  Wikis  provide  users  with  the  ability  to  revert  to  previous  versions  of  
the  site  as  well  as  determine  which  user  has  made  revisions  and/or  
whether  or  not  the  revisions  are  accurate  and  appropriate.    
Blogs  
http://www.wordpress.com/  

  Blogs  are  a  par'cular  type  of  website  (web  +  log=blog)  in  which  1)  
an  individual  maintains  and  publishes  entries  of  commentary,  
descrip'ons  of  events,  or  other  material  such  as  graphics  or  video;  
and  2)  are  displayed  in  reverse-­‐chronological  order  (“Blog”,  2010,  
para.  1).    

  Educa'onal  advantages  to  u'lizing  blogs  within  educa'on  which  


include    
  the  promo'on  of  cri'cal,  analy'cal,  crea've,  intui've,  and  
associa'onal  thinking  (HueGe,  2006);  and    
  the  poten'al  for  interna'onal  collabora'on  and  discussion  (Yuen,  p.  
2).    
Jing  
http://www.jingproject.com/  

  Jing  provides  
 Jing  features  tools  that  allow  you  
  Screen  and  video  capturing     to  insert  cap'ons,  highlight  
  Sharing  capabili'es  such  as  the   important  areas  or  draw  arrows  to  
ability  to  upload  to  TwiGer   emphasized  elements  of  an  image.    
Example  of  Jing  in  e-­‐Learning  instruc'on:    
Wiki  Direc'ons  for  both  online  and  tradi'onal  courses.    
  
References  
1. Blog. (2010, June 22). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 17, 2010, from http://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
2. Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social Network Sites: Definition, History and
Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), Article 11. Retrieved July
17, 2010 from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html
3. Brown, K. (2010). What is Social Networking. Retrieved from http://
www.whatissocialnetworking.com/Contact_Us.html
4. Huette, S. (2006). Blogs in Education. Retrieved from http://tep.uoregon.edu
5. Wiki. (2010, July 17). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 17, 2010, from http://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki
6. Yuen, S. C. (2008, August 10). Jing Project. Blog posted to http://blog.yuen.us/
7. Yuen, S. (2010). Using Blogs in Education [PDF Document]. Retrieved from http://
dragon.ep.usm.edu/~yuen/teaching/it780/blog.htm

For  addi(onal  informa(on,  feel  free  to  contact  the  author  at  Jenn_Styron@mac.com  
Application of Web 2.0 Technologies: How to utilize open source to improve e-Learning Environments
Presentation given in Second Life  by Jennifer Styron
July 22, 2010
I. Ning
Overview of Social Networking and Ning
Ning is a free social networking site and was the site chosen for the online cohorts. Social networking
has been around for many years and is a way of grouping individuals with similar interests together so
that they may collaborate and work together on specific tasks. Social networking consists of “grouping
individuals into specific groups, like small rural communities or neighborhoods”
(http://www.whatissocialnetworking.com/Contact_Us.html, 2010). Social networking can occur face to
face or in the online environment. The most notable social networking expansion can be seen in the
online environment with the creation of sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Bebo. Since such sites
have emerged individuals have seen an increase in the use of such sites to network with colleagues,
friends and family sharing similar interests and experiences.

A social networking site then involves areas within an online environment that allow individuals to
socially network with one another. Boyd and Ellison, 2007, constructed a definition of a social
networking sites as, “web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public
profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection,
and (3) view and traverse their list of connection and those made by others within the system” (para.
5). A social networking site then can have many implications for teachers and students. As educators
teachers are constantly looking for innovative ways to connect students with one another as well as
engage them in the learning process. This is critical within the education sector as student engagement
has been linked to student achievement. By understanding the benefits of a social networking site
educators can utilize it to provide students a safe learning environment online which allows access to
peers, resources, and tools to help make them successful within the course.
For example, a class website which allows only students within the course to access, post comments,
and discuss is considered one type of social networking site. There are many different ways to
incorporate and create an online social networking site. First, one could utilize school resources to
develop and create a site. While this could be time consuming it would allow teachers to customize
their own social networking space incorporating and modifying the site as needed. While there are
many advantages to creating your own site the disadvantages include costs and time.
To alleviate such disadvantages many educators utilize existing companies which have already created
such social networking spaces such as Facebook groups of MySpace groups. Ning is another example
of a company who has created such networking spaces. Established in 2004, Ning provides such online
social networking environments to those who wish to utilize it. One of the benefits to Ning is that it is
an open source software so educators can utilize it without having to consider the costs of developing
and implementing such a technology independently.
Learning Outcomes

The development and deployment of social networking sites to be utilized for online courses was a
great learning experience for me. Three learning outcomes which were unexpected at the creation of
the sites were 1) utilizing Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) to alter the appearance of my social network

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


site and 2) the introduction, comprehension and development of Favicons and 3) the need for guided
directions for video uploads. The only outcome that significantly impacted faculty use of the social
networking site was the video upload challenges however, from an instructional design standpoint,
CSS and Favicons are considerations that should be taken into account when developing social
networking sites for online cohorts. In addition, the need for structured instructions on how to upload
video as well as define types of video extensions should have been provided. This was something that
was not initially provided for students which was needed. For the second online cohort which utilized
social networking sites directions were provided which made the uploading process much smoother.

Thoughts and future learning goals


Future learning goals will include exploring other open source venues for educators who wish to build
social networking sites for their learning environments. At the beginning of 2010, Ning announced that
they would no longer provide free services. This is problematic for the program as most faculty have
become familiar with Ning and have integrated it into their courses. As I have started to do some initial
research on potential social networking options for educators who currently have Ning sites, I haven’t
been too enthused by the alternative products available.
In line with the exploration of other Web 2.0 tools as well as content presented online regarding the
Ning movement (http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/04/ning-fails-at-free-social-
networking/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Ftech
biz%2Fmedia+(Wired%3A+Techbiz+-+Media) I can’t help but wonder whether or not the trend from
open source solutions to proprietary software and applications is on the rise. If so, this could have huge
implications for the education arena, which already relies so heavily on these types of tools for
teaching and learning. In addition, one of the challenges of utilizing Web 2.0 technology is getting
faculty on board. Once faculty have had to scramble a couple of times to quickly move content from
one platform to another, I can’t help but wonder whether or not they will lose motivation in integrating
such tools within the learning environment.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


II. Wikis
Overview of Wikis
A Wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages
via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor (“Wiki”, 2010,
para. 1). Wikis have shown various benefits within education settings and can serve as a fundamental
tool within the education setting. For example, Wikis have broken down distance barriers allowing
users from across the world the ability to participate in and simultaneously create Wiki sites. Another
added benefit of Wikis is the ability for users to collaborate on the development of a site and monitor
the sites as the production of the site occurs. Wikis provide users with the ability to revert to previous
versions of the site as well as determine which user has made revisions and/or whether or not the
revisions are accurate and appropriate. Outside of the education realm and/or with appropriate
permissions granted, visitors who are not necessarily classmates or faculty can also contribute to the
development of a Wiki site. Such collaborative experiences are essential for today’s student
particularly because of the global world we now live in and the probability that as a future employee
one will be asked to participate in similar work environments.
Learning Outcomes
Learning outcomes include the planning and development of the Wiki assignment, ongoing monitoring
of Wiki sites, prompting by the faculty member, and dispute resolution precautions. These are areas in
which I believe are critical to the success of Wikis and will need to be designed and developed by the
faculty member. At first, I didn’t understand why this would be so critical however, after reviewing
examples of Wikis that integrated these activities as well as those that did not, I could see a clear
difference in student understanding of expectations and the overall development of the Wiki. Faculty
who wish to integrate Wikis should allocate time during course design to prepare instructions, dispute
resolution precautions and frequently asked recourses as well as to build initial Wiki spaces.
Thoughts and future learning goals
While there are obvious benefits associated with Wikis in education I think there are essential
instructional design elements that must be built by the faculty member prior to the assignment.
Examples would include the development of Wikis prior to the assignment with instructions on
completing the assignment, group and members goals as well as resolution procedures should there be
a conflict at any time during the Wiki project. In addition, faculty involvement should be continually
integrated into the assignment to guide students in the development of the Wiki. Without strong
instructional design practices integrated within the assignment, the technology no longer enhances the
learning experience rather it serves merely to show that a Wiki has been used.
In addition to instructional design practices, intellectual property policies should be taken into
consideration because there will be multiple individuals involved with creating this assignment. Also
privacy considerations of those students who do not wish for their Wiki to be shared publicly should be
considered and alternative equitable assignments created for such individuals. These policies and
procedures may seem tedious but once created will set the sound standards for the creation,
development, and dissemination of Wikis created in education.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


III. Blogs
Blogs are a particular type of website (web + log=blog) in which 1) an individual maintains and
publishes entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video;
and 2) are displayed in reverse-chronological order (“Blog”, 2010, para. 1). There are many education
advantages to utilizing blogs within education which include the promotion of critical, analytical,
creative, intuitive, and associational thinking (Huette, 2006); and the potential for international
collaboration and discussion (Yuen, p. 2). Instructional Technology and Design experiences in regards
to blogging come from personal experience as a doctoral student. Information posted in this section are
specific to my individual learning outcomes as a doctoral student rather than those administering and
assisting in the implementation of the Web 2.0 tool.
Learning Outcomes
My most recent use of a blog tool was with Wordpress.com, a Web 2.0 blog technology. Previously I
have created blogs using Blogger.com however I was particularly interested in learning how
Wordpress.com was different/similar to Blogger.com and in determining which tool I would prefer to
use. Below are a list of the most important learning outcomes I had during the completion of this
assignment.

Layout: I liked the numerous options provided at Wordpress.com. In addition, many of the layouts
presented advanced features and more professional layouts than those available on Blogger. com
however, I felt that Blogger.com was extremely easy to use compared to Wordpress.com. My first
mistake was working on my documents before choosing a layout that I liked. Generally, when working
on IT projects it is important to lay out your content and “map” the content information you wish to
include on a project. I spent a great deal of time formatting my content and creating pages which, when
I changed layouts, were not available for use. This was extremely frustrating. For a novice user I feel
as though Blogger.com offers a much more consistent blog site containing the same components on all
layouts as opposed to those offered on Wordpress.com.

Professionalism: Though I am sure that given the right amount of tools Blogger.com sites can look just
as professional, I was extremely excited about the outcome of my site. I tried to utilize the same color
scheme throughout my blogs and incorporate links and pictures to each post to make my entries more
visually appealing and interesting. With attachments such as video and pictures I found
Wordpress.com more flexible with the layout of these items than Blogger.com.

Professional Reflection: Often times in courses we are asked to reflect on chapter readings and/or
personal findings during the completion of a project so I enjoyed this assignment because I feel as
though there are few times when we are asked to select any topics of interest and write about them
which, in my opinion, helps us develop critical thinking specific to our profession. In addition, it
sparks conversations between colleagues that often are not sparked within regular discussion.

The second component I enjoyed about this assignment is having the freedom to express my personal
viewpoints about whatever topic I so choose (with a few restrictions of course). At first, I spent a great
deal of time trying to decide what I wanted to write about, but as I wrote my first post I realized that
the beauty of a blog is you can write about anything at any given time and then categorize them to
allow for easy navigation for the user. I really enjoyed this and hope to continue adding posts to my
blog as I read interesting articles, assess innovative technologies, etc.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Importance of assignment in your professional field
I think it is extremely important as an Instructional Technologist to be able to review, reflect, evaluate,
and derive a professional opinion on innovative technologies and current issues in the field. This
allows us to utilize certain skill sets that are essential in our field and allows us as individuals to
professionally grow and develop. Critical thinking and the exploration of the application of certain
technologies is a key component to the successful deployment and development of instructional
technologies therefore I see the importance of this assignment in two areas 1) allowing us to explore a
Web 2.0 technology of which we can evaluate and use to familiarize ourselves with the product and 2)
allowing us to continue development of our own critical thinking skills.

Thoughts and future learning goals


The use of both personal and professional blogs has various applications which vary depending on the
individual who is utilizing the technology. Blogs are unique in that they allow an individual the
freedom to reflect on any topic of interest and/or develop and follow other blogs in areas that are of
particular interest to the individual. I see various applications for blogs in education specifically 1)
providing teachers with a journaling scenario for students so that they can track their own development
through a course or assignment 2) allowing a teacher to embed technology skills within the curriculum
and student’s academic development, and 3) providing a way for outsiders (maybe the author of a
particular text, a professor in certain discipline, or an international colleague) to collaborate and/or
network with those who share similar interests.

I would be interested to see how blogs are used in the future education and how professionals in the
higher education realm start and/or continue to utilize this technology. Personally, I believe blogs can
serve as memoirs in the future to the thoughts and processes of some of the most brilliant minds if
individuals adopt the use of this technology and the information on how to utilize and integrate blogs
continues to diffuse.

To view how I’ve utilized both Wordpress.com and Blogger.com visit my blog at:
http://jennstyron.wordpress.com/

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


IV. Jing
Overview of Jing
Jing is a free, screen capturing tool that allows users to capture screen shots and video from a
computer. In addition to capturing this information, Jing not only allows the user to save captures to
the desktop but also provides upload capabilities for the user to share their captures through websites
and Twitter. Screen captures have been particularly useful in the development of instructional
materials and course tutorials for students. In addition, these resources allow faculty to integrate
beginner, intermediate, and advanced level tutorials so that students can self-select their level and
utilize the instructional materials which best suit their needs.
Learning Outcomes

I was extremely impressed when Jing was introduced to our Instructional Technology course and have
found it extremely useful for faculty, staff, and personal friends who need such a tool. For example, I
was working with a Director of Campus Recreation who needed to capture some short video demos he
had purchased to make an interactive website for his referees. This site featured the appropriate hand
gestures for ref calls as well as 30 second video clips to help the referees learn the various calls during
training. Jing was an excellent tool for this particular staff member and was able to quickly and easily
allow him to create these resources.
In addition, I have utilized Jing to create handouts for online students which assist them in a wide array
of activities such as setting up Wikis and blogs as well as log on instructions for Blackboard. Through
the use of call-outs and screen captures, students are easily able to complete tasks independently which
1) increases their confidence level when engaging with Web 2.0 technologies and 2) provides
instructional assistance to online course faculty. Both faculty and staff who have been introduced to
this tool have been extremely pleased with its ease of use and the ability to capture screen and video
shots.
Thoughts and future learning goals
Though for a free product Jing is amazing, I typically use Snapz Pro X which is similar to the features
Jing offers. The advantages to this software is that they allow you to choose the format in which you
save captures and screencasting as well as allow you to record videos over five minutes. This is a
software in which I had to pay for but it was relatively cheap and have certainly gotten my "bank for
the buck".
Another tool in which was introduced me to around the same time as Jing was Camtasia, and that
software is equally amazing. I look forward to having the funding at some point to purchase this
software (after my days of being a graduate student are at an end) because I believe it truly allows you
to build highly effective instructional materials. For the time being, Camtasia software costs are
relatively high, thus I’ve utilized Jing and Snapz Pro for most of my personal school work and
professional assistance provided to faculty and staff.

For more information on Jing, visit http://jingproject.com/

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Examples of Ning Networks
EDA 631: Landscape of Leadership

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Instructional Technology Student Association Ning Site

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Example of Wiki Created
The University of Southern Mississippi Teacher Leader Institute

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Example of Personal Blogs
Jenn Styron’s Personal Blogfolio for IT 780 and Blog for IT 645

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Example of Instructional Materials created using Jing:

How to create a Wiki


Go to the url: http://www.wikispaces.com/

Wikispaces allows educators to utilize its services for free so the first thing you will need to do is
create an account.

Once you log into your account, you will be on the “My Account” page. You will notice along
the top of the page you have three tabs dashboard, mail, and settings.

The third tab, settings, will allow you to edit most of the information you entered when you
created an account including your username, email address, password, and additional settings.

The second tab, mail allows you to send email messages to anyone who is in your wikispace with
you. So for example, if I had a co-creator on my wikispace I could quickly send her an email
from this account.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


The first tab, dashboard, is like a homepage which organizes information such as your inbox and
the wikis you’ve created.

Next we will create a wikispace. On the left hand navigation bar you will see a “Make a new
space” icon. Click on this link and you will be able to name your site. So, for example I will
create a usmeda wiki. This means if I wanted to visit this space I would type in:
http://usmeda.wikispaces.com. Next click “Create”. If the name is already taken, you will be
prompted to select another wiki name.

Once you have created a valid wikispace name, you will be prompted to a “Getting Started with
your Wiki” page. This will provide you tools to help get you acquainted with a wiki. You can
also choose to bypass this information by clicking the “Skip Getting Started” link in the top left
hand corner.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


The page you are now on is considered your homepage for your wikispace. A wikispace is
similar to a website because it allows you to create multiple pages and link to them. For example
if you created a course wiki you might have a home page, assignment page, instructor
information page, etc. of which you would link your homepage to so users could access each
page. Once you created these pages they would show up in the Navigation bar on the left side of
your screen.

Next we’ll get acquainted with the layout and items on this page. In the top left hand corner you
have two navigation areas “Action” and “Navigation”. Action allows you to create a new page,
view recent changes and manage space. “Create a new page” will allow to create and name a
new page. “View recent changes” allows you to view any changes that group members or
persons who have been granted administrative access to modify your wiki have made. For

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


example, I will show you a log from one of my course assignments. Here you can see what
changes both me and my partner made.

To view the changes made I can either click on the date or the page and it will bring me to that
page. It will have highlighted the changes that have been made to that page and you can choose
to keep them, edit them, or delete them.

The last area under “Action” on the left navigation bar is “Manage Space”. This will be a very
important area for you to understand. At the top of the page you see an “About” section. Here
you can view who created the wiki, the organizer of the wiki, and the members who have joined
the wiki space. Next is the “Content” area. Here you can click Pages to view the pages you have
created for this wiki, Files which will show you all the files you have downloaded to the wiki
(such as images you have imported for your pages), Templates to change the template of your
wiki and Tabs to tag items on you wiki.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Next is the People section. Here you can add members to your group under the Members button.
The Permission icon is next and it is used to establish who can view, and edit your page. For
educators we have two free options, public and private. You can make your wiki public which
means anyone in the world can view and edit it, you can make it private which means anyone in
the world can view it but ONLY members can edit it. Finally is the Invite People icon which
allows you to send personal emails to those people you wish to extend membership to. Once they
decide to join the organizer will need to approve their membership and then they will be able to
edit the page as they so choose.

The next section two sections I encourage you to explore on your own. These areas are relatively
self explanatory and allow you to customize your wiki, edit/export information, and even delete
your wiki. Now let’s go back to our homepage by clicking home in the “Navigation” section on
the left navigation bar.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


We will now look at the horizontal navigation bar along the top of the page. First you will see a
star and the page name you are on. Currently we are on our home page therefore we see home.
The next button you will use frequently. This is the “Edit This Page” button. We will explore the
features of this button later but for now know it allows you to edit the content of your page. You
then see four tabs. Page allows you to view the actual home page. Discussion allows you to leave
a comment about the page you are on. The history button will again show you the date and
person who edited the page keeping a history of edits to the page. Finally the notify me button
will allow you to be notified if any of these tabs or all of them have been modified.

For now we will click back on the page button. After returning to the page section we will click
on the edit this page button and be prompted to our editing screen. You will notice that your
wikispace has faded to confirm you are in edit mode. You will also see a toolbar at the top of this
page. Similar to a word document, you have the options of entering text, bulleting items, creating
hyperlinks to other wikipages or external pages, inserting images, embedding widgets onto your
page, and add tables. PLEASE remember to click save once you have entered your information.
If you do not save your edits they will not appear on your page and will not be logged in your
history file.

On the bottom of the page you can also add a page note or tag. Wikispaces also provides you
with an additional area to save your edits in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

So, let’s take a look at a page I have previously created. Here I simply clicked on the edit this
page button, inserted my text by copying it from a word document I had already created, changed
the color and size of my header and added links to my other wikipages and external pages. Once
I clicked save this is what my home page now shows. You can see that now I have the edit this
page button in the top right hand corner allowing one to continually edit the page.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


I then clicked on edit this page again and inserted a table on my toolbar. I was able to create the
table, insert a picture, add text, and again create links to pages using my toolbar. After clicking
save, this is what the table on my page looked like.

Finally by clicking on the embed widget icon on the toolbar (little TV) you can add video to your
wiki such as YouTube videos.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


Once you have inserted your video and clicked the save button your embedded video will look
like this.

As you will find, the more you play around with wikispaces the more you will learn about how
to create a wiki. I hope this tutorial provided you with the general basics of how to create an
account, log in, and get started on creating your wiki.

© 2010 by Jennifer Styron. All rights reserved.


V. References
Blog. (2010, June 22). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved July 17, 2010, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
Boyd, D. M., & Ellison, N. B. (2007). Social Network Sites: Definition, History and Scholarship.
Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13(1), Article 11. Retrieved July 17, 2010 from
http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol13/issue1/boyd.ellison.html
Brown, K. (2010). What is Social Networking. Retrieved from
http://www.whatissocialnetworking.com/Contact_Us.html
Huette, S. (2006). Blogs in Education. Retrieved from http://tep.uoregon.edu
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