So, CeeVee, tell me a little bit about yourself

Before you do anything else, go to go2web20.net. Take a lunch, you’ll be there for a while, but that website is so much fun to browse. I had the pleasant chore of choosing any Web 2.0 application, exploring it and sharing it with my classmates in IT780. The most difficult portion of this assignment was selecting which tool I wanted to use. There were so many applications just in the business section of go2web20, that I could have spent an entire semester going through them all. I settled on CeeVee because every professional needs a CeeVee, and most need several different versions.

CeeVee could not be any easier to use. The fillable fields and built in formatting make CeeVee construction pretty much fool proof. CeeVee does, however, offer some features that I would not use. You have the ability to add a picture (very small) to your CeeVee. If I were creating a generic CeeVee, one to be viewed by peers or one to go on a website, I would include a portrait. If I was seriously job hunting, I would not. CeeVee also offers several opportunities throughout the editing process to share your CV through Facebook. I would not share my CV in an unsolicited manner and would be taken aback if I started received CVs through Facebook. I just don’t think the forum is appropriate, so I would pass on that feature.

Finally, CV offers you themes and backgrounds for your online CV. The backgrounds I found to be limited, cluttering, unprofessional and distracting.

The good thing about these three minor issues is that they are strictly optional. I don’t like them, so I am not going to use them. However, if they fit someone else’s needs, then they are there for the taking. I think CV does a good job on flexibility in customization in that sense.

If you would like to learn more about CeeVee, view my presentation here:


And like sands through the hour glass, these are the blogs of our lives

Upon reflection, it startles me to realize that I have been blogging for as many years as I have. I’ve been spending so much time studying blogs recently, that the concept took on a feeling of novelty all over again. When I think about it though, blogging has become as mundane and routine as email (although, if I think really far back, I can still remember the feeling of amazement watching my mom send her first email to a friend in Hawaii and my mom explaining to me that the message would reach her in about 3 seconds.) It’s hard to believe 3 seconds is considered a latency issue. The blog I have kept up all this time has been personal and for entertainment only.

Since entering this program, I have developed two professional blogs and all at once, blogging went from being my favorite time waster at work, to being a useful, powerful and professionally relevant tool. This particular blog records each lesson learned in this class in a much more secure and organized way than any handwritten or typewritten note I could have ever authored. Not only that, but I anticipate being asked by a colleague or potential employer, “So, what did you do in grad school? What did you learn?” Instead of rambling about lessons and concepts that may be meaningless and immaterial to them, I can show them this blog and thereby demonstrate my acquired knowledge. That will be so much more effective than simply describing my experiences with words.

And the lessons learned this semester are indeed pertinent and useful. Each application was explored thoroughly and as I sit here at this moment, none of them has given me the impression that I would not or could not use each again. Each application is free and user friendly which has gone a long way on incorporating it into my law office use (overheard in a medium sized firm is always a major concern).

All in all, this has been a thoroughly worthwhile semester. I have learned a lot, I enjoyed it, and I have something to show for it.


Discussion 5

Chapter 4 deals with how Web 2.0 applications have changed the face of education. Web 2.0 takes learning from a cognitive act (as with Web 1.0) to an act of participation. Information has gone from being created by a single entity to becoming a collaboration of users in a community. Knowledge is created collectively. Web 2.0 applications put learners in touch with broader spectrums of information than Web 1.0. Not only do learners have input of the collective knowledge, they also have the ability to give and receive feedback, added a layer of engagement to the thinking process. Instructors are faced with the challenge of designing curricula that successfully navigate the less effective cognitive loads and take advantage of the effective cognitive load. Cognitive strategies have also shifted in the education’s adaptation to Web 2.0 applications. Learning is not as linear or well structured. The chapter contextualized models of instructional design in the current landscape of Web 2.0 applications. New models are being developed for e-learning. New ID models are learner centered. Social interaction also features heavily into newer models due to the collaborative nature of Web 2.0. The chapter acknowledges the need for assessments in the implementation of its suggested model. It also weighs traditional ID models against new cognitive behavior inherent to Web 2.0 applications.

The chapter is very well organized and moves at an effective pace in the presentation of the information. I see no weaknesses in this chapter.

This chapter contains information that is vital to teachers practicing in the current educational environment as education is only going to move forward with technology, it will not move backwards. This chapter provides educators with a blue print to plan an effective implementation of Web 2.0 applications into their curricula.

I have covered some design models in another class this semester, but much of the theoretical bases described, as well as the cognitive shifts associated with the incorporation of Web 2.0 application was new to me.

I think this chapter encompasses the future trends of this topic quite well. Web 2.0 is already permeating every facet of society including education and this chapter makes reasonable predictions for the continued adaptation of Web 2.0 into the learners’ lives.
This chapter did not leave me with any questions. All points were thoroughly covered.


Discussion 4

Chapter 2 focuses on the ethical and social responsibility related to the use of SNS in education. Social networking is widely popular, to the point of being ubiqitous among students and young professionals. And perhaps because the level of virtual connectivity is so prevalent, young users may be desensitized to what should be considered appropriate sharing as far as their contributions of personal, private material. Dissimination of personal content in a SNS can change the way professors and future employers think about a student. Furthermore, legal ramifications for SNS abuse are evolving (albiet slowly) to catch up with the phenomenon. Though the book sites some universities’ in loco parentis duties, these examples are of universities, and I would argue that parental duties, natural or in loco are dissolved at the age of majority (which is 18 in many states and 21 in Mississippi). The text asks the question of educators, do educators have a right of free expression in the cyberworld independant of their school duties OR do educational institutions have a duty to police the online content of their instructors to ensure the values of the institution are upheld? I don’t think there is an answer for this question right now as it is still hotly contested. Teachers have been fired for posting negative comments on Facebook about co-workers and students, litigation has ensued, and I think it will either be decided by the state supreme court or more likely, the United States Supreme Court, as these issues can be construed as dealing with First Amendment right or Section 1983 discrimination claims. The book goes on to discuss the pitfalls of SNS such as hazing and privacy issues. Students as well as faculty can be victims of cyberbullying and can also be perpetrators. In terms of a reasonable expecation of privacy, the chapter explores how information placed in a “public” domain can be damning to the poster and the recipient of such information. This ties in to the book’s next section on the relationship between your professional persona and non-professional persona in the age of the search engine. Employers are not supposed to discriminate against potential candidates based on a myriad of factors. However, these factors are available for public consumption and it is often hard to prove that a candidate was turned down because of something on their Facebook page that a potential employer did not like.
This chapters strength is that it did an excellent job articulating that the issues presented in this chapter do not have a solid foundation in practice or policy to rely on. The courts have not yet decided many of these issues and it is up to the educational institutions to police their own conduct. This is no small task and is directly related to the axiom “Your freedom ends where my freedom begins.” This chapter is also very strong in its references and its conclusion encouraging institutions to create safe SNS environments. If this chapter had a weakness it would be that legal decisions are continually being published and this chapter may become outdated, but that will be taken care of in any subsequent editions.

Teachers and educators should use the information in these chapters first and foremost as cautionary tales. The book points out that there is more negative media associated with the harm that SNS activity can cause than the advances in teaching. This is sad, but true. For teachers to successfully incorporate SNS into their curricula, they will need to be able to tread the proverbial mindfield with great care and aforethought.

The future trends I seen in this subject matter are more related to the legality that the technological or educational advances, but that is probably because I work in the legal industry. I will say however, that these legal issues MUST be decided and legislation and policy must be written on solid legal ground before educational advances can continue. Teachers, at this point, do not know where their duties begin and end and that is not fair to them. In one example from the book, a teacher was friended on Myspace by a student and given access to the student’s extra-curricular (ie juvenile delinquent) activities. The teacher reported the behavior to the parents out of a duty to protect the child and the parents sued. If the teacher had NOT reported the behavior and the student died from an alcohol related incident the parents would have sued the school because they “knew or should have known” about the student’s behavior and intervened. I see these cases every day. So right now, teachers are in trouble if they do, and in trouble if they don’t.

This chapter, while not presenting any new information to me particularly, was still quite informative and extremely timely. Cyberbullying related suicides have escalated in 2010 and I have seen an increase in lawsuits between students/parents and school districts over SNS content.

This chapter includes a nice balance of examples to provide a healthy understanding for all facets of this complex topic. I like that the chapter covered all of the angles and thereby showed how educators’ hands are in essence tied until the courts provide legal relief.


Discussion 3

Chapter 15 of the text focuses on Podcasting. Particularly, the chapter begins with a description of the modern education landscape, in that learners need to be able to access information from anywhere at anytime. Podcasting has become a useful tool in transmitting information in this matter. Podcasting is so prevalent in fact, that all worthwhile news outlets have a podcast. Universities have also contributed to the iUniversity, educational podcasts on iTunes. The nature of podcasting is that individuals have the power to convey their messages and are not dependant on corporations or government. Chapter 15 also touches on the social change that follows hand in hand with the technology and information exchange from podcasting. Podcasting is one of many tools that makes physical barriers of conventional learning obsolete. It also makes life easier in the tradition of all modern conveniences: taking a complicated task and making it simple. Follow the notion of technological revolution, Chapter 15 spends time discussing the cyclical relationship between lifestyle and technology. Technology improves our lifestyles and our lifestyles dictate technology. Chapter 15 highlights the benefits of e-learning and podcasting’s place in the e and mobile pantheon. E-Learning enables students to cut out time and resource wasters such as commutes and keeping up with copious amounts of hard copy data. However, while podcasting does demonstrate many modern conveniences, it also has its limitations. For example, it is limited in the manner in which information is conveyed and therefore rules out learners who experience education best through hands on training. Overall, podcasting, e-learning and technology are reshaping our lifestyles, cultures, habits and abilities with pros and cons.
This chapter is strong in its sociological standpoint. However, that is also where it may be considered to have a weakness. On the one hand, it is assumed that the reader is familiar with the notion of podcasting, and many details about its functions and origins are glossed over. On the other hand, considering the detail that was afforded the chapter on Wikis, by comparison, this chapter seemed slightly imbalanced. It is important to note however that this commenter read Chapter 15 after quite a long day, and it may very well read differently in the morning.

The sociological information in this chapter should be useful to teachers in that this is more than a recitation of how to perform the task through technology. This chapter also offers information on how this technology affects different types of learners as well as students, not just in their academic lives, but in their lives as a whole. This nuanced and broader view of podcasting as an education tool can help teachers implementing podcasting accordingly.

This chapter’s entire attitude was that podcasting is a tool that is firmly fixed in society at many different levels including education, and I agree. As with the other Web 2.0 tools discussed in this book, it is too powerful and too easy not to be taken advantage of. I was not aware, until this class, how much content iUniversity had to offer, now that I have been exposed though, I plan on taking language courses and am interested to see what else is out there in the world of podcasting.

The new information gleaned from this chapter revolved around the sociological aspects of technology. It had never occurred to me that Web 2.0, podcasting in this instance, for all its power and convenience, may actually isolate some learners. I am also intrigued by the relationship between society and technology and how they drive and depend on each other.

These chapters always leave me with more questions, but it is not for a lack of content, rather it is limitless possibilities in which these applications can be applied. Practically speaking, this chapter explained the theory and application of podcasting adequately and did a nice job of illustrating how e-learning is changing students today


Discussion 2

Chapter 7 discusses the merits of collaborative learning and the tools available to facilitate it. Specifically, Chapter 7 identifies discussion forums as an awkward and less effective manner of collaboration and notes that many students do not like to perform collaborative work online. However, Chapter 7 lists the virtues of collaborative work including the challenges new ideas face, as well as the authenticity of the material introduced. Chapter 7 follows this theme to the inception of Wiki software, which is a type of social networking software that has a lot of potential for collaborative applications. Wikis are appropriate for a large number of users or small teams. Materials suited for development in Wiki include project glossaries and FAQ pages. As Chapter 7 continues, it provides detail on the set up of Wiki software, describing the access to the software; how to create an appropriate frame work for a Wiki page that is not as directionless as turning over a blank canvas, and how to develop instructions for students. When dealing with collaborative works, Chapter 7 includes content on dispute resolution and encouragement in group editing to ensure that the collaborative process runs smoothly. Chapter 7 concludes with a look to the future of Wiki software forecasting the changes that will need to be made in the software and on the part of academia for Wiki to reach its full academic collaborative potential.

Chapter 8 takes the foundation of Wiki and expands it into the Wikibook concept, meaning that rather than access to editing rights of a web page, wikibooks would enable entire chapters and volumes to be collaboratively edited. Chapter 8 notes that the most important factor in Wikibooks is that they are shared. Wikibooks can be viewed as disruptive technology (although I personally prefer the term ‘innovation’), but in essence, Wikibooks can spark random acts of thinking without the stamped approval of academic administration. This, to me, sounds like authentic learning. Chapter 8 touches on the fact that education reform is an issue in this country and that there are studies that show that students are not work force ready. In this context, Chapter 8 discusses the challenges in academia including outdated curricula and reliance on standardized tests. Moving from the educational climate of 1988 to 2008, Chapter 8 notes the importance of independent and critical thinking and the subsequent and necessary shift to digital learning. Chapter 8 describes three Wikibook experiences with students in 2006, 2007, and 2008 and addresses the issues that can occur in a Wikibook. Particularly, issues in a cross-institutional Wikibook included tension, instructional issues (disruptive technology), need for coordination and leadership skills and motivational issues. Chapter 8 closes with an acknowledgment that in order to progress, the existing Wikibooks, POLT and WELT will need to continue to develop.

Chapter 7’s strengths are many. It opens notions of collaboration that acknowledge pros and cons of collaborative academia as it exists today. The organizational approach to defining the Wiki was very accessible to me and I have no experience with Wikis. I appreciate the references to students’ needs as well as instructors’ needs. Chapter 7 also has a great length. It neither cuts off abruptly, nor carries on for too long. I cannot offer any weaknesses on this Chapter as this is my first encounter with Wiki. I did not feel, upon reading the material, that anything was lacking.

Chapter 8’s only weakness was that the concept was a little confusing, however, that assessment is based entirely on my novice experience with Wikibooks. I had to reread some sections just to visualize an online collaborative project that is a different beast from a typical Wiki page. Chapter 8’s strengths follow Chapter’s 7’s in that it is extremely well organized. I particularly liked the comparison in the academic climate of 1988 to 2008. I also found the three Wikibooks discussed to be very interesting and that the pitfalls were offered candidly and in an effective manner to provide instruction on how to create a better Wikibook. I also enjoy the “Looking to the Future” predictions in both Chapters 7 and 8.

Instructors (teachers, and in my case, lawyers) can use Wiki projects to promote thinking beyond regurgitation, to allow participants to become well versed in the forms of other people’s work product and thereby broaden horizons on the dissemination of information. Wiki projects fit right in with distance learning (and distance business collaboration). It’s much more cost effective than setting long distance conference calls or traveling out of town/state. Movable type printing presses revolutionized the flow of information because it allowed information to travel, to reach more people. Wiki projects are the next logical step in evolution of thinking. Movement of information is no longer an issue, in the form of output. The issue now is allowing information (documents, ideas, projects) to be created, in the context of input and Wiki software addresses that issue.

As I mentioned in my discussion on strengths and weaknesses, I really liked the future forecast at the end of each of these chapters. Wiki has the potential to be too powerful, too cheap and too easy not to become relevant to the future. While I think that Wiki and Wikibooks will become the routine for academia, as the book stated, possibly replacing hard copy text books, I do see a longer road for Wiki in business. In litigation, there are too many levels of standards, particularly in confidentiality and authenticity that would allow Wiki to grow as quickly as it might in education. But it is certainly not a fad.

In terms of what I learned from these chapters, I’m afraid it was all new to me. I had a very superficial concept of Wiki in that, I’ve used Wikipedia and some other lesser wikis and had a vague awareness that wikis could be edited by anyone, but that was the extent of my understanding. I’d never even heard of a Wikibook before.

These chapters absolutely gave me insight into the use of technology education. As stated above, I had a vague awareness that wikis had a sort of “accesible editing/input” concept, but I had never thought about it in terms of collaboration. I like the point the book makes about working collaboratively resulting in better ideas. After reading these chapters, I see so much value in applying Wiki to education first and business second. The chapters did leave me with questions, but only in the sense of “what next”. I’m glad our next assignment is hands on wiki experience because I want to see how well I can do it and if I can translate it into the legal practice.


Discussion 1

Chapter 16 begins by describing the current environment of digital learning including summaries of fully online classes and hybrid classes. One of the aspects of the digital learning environment is that students may experience isolation since they will never physically interact with their instructor or classmates. This can lead to procrastination and disinterest (a lack of engagement). Educators are addressing this problem by turning to the enhanced connectivity opportunities offered by web 2.0.
While this chapter addresses the idea of community, it is important to note the reference to McMillan’s summary of the most essential elements of community did not include physical proximity or common location. Therefore the construct of “community” can exist digitally. As Wighting opined in the chapter, students achieved a sense of community throughout connectedness. Because Web 2.0 offers mechanisms that enable connectivity (ie Wighting’s “connectedness”) an emphasis on developing a sense of community was established in distance learning. Students are attracted to the idea of community. Web 2.0 has the tools to build a community. Educators recognized these variables and implemented methods to ensure their progress.

The chapter follows the next logical step in the merging of a desire for community and web 2.0 applications that provide interaction on par with the requirements with developing a sense of community; namely, social networking (SN). Social networking can be categorized by user profile or by page content. The majority of SN sites are aimed at young adults. And perhaps SN sites’ focus on young adults is not by chance. Most SN users are a part of Generation Y, referred to as digital natives. Their relationship with this level of technology from birth enables a different attitude and aptitude towards digital connectivity. Simply put, it is just not that big of a deal for a 20 something to attend a fully online class as it may be for a 40-something; the latter well remember what education was like before email existed.

Looking ahead, this chapter sketches a forecast for digital teaching and learning, following the evolution of the social networking site to the SN operating system and how the latter will place an emphasis on the user rather than the content. Research is being performed that demonstrates that collaborative work can take place in a SN site. Collaboration requires similar goals, which is one of the elements of building a sense of community. As the chapter describes a specific education SN site, positive feedback from learners was reported. Surprisingly, though generation Y (born after 1980) were referred to as digital natives, no significant difference was noted regarding a students age or gender relating to their ability to engage in a sense of community in a SN learning environment.

This is a strong chapter that thoroughly covers the variables of SN sites and education. As I moved through the chapter, what questions were raised, were then answered in the next section. Therefore, as I sit here now in the reflection of this chapter, I cannot easily define any weaknesses in this material.

Teachers/Educators and in my case, private sector professionals can use the information presented in this chapter to understand the possibilities associated with SN sites beyond social applications. Sense the elements of community coincide with elements in learning and in the work force, it follows that SN sites are the logical step in evolution. This chapter also provides valuable information on how different students interface with this technology, supporting the theory that SN sites applied to education and business are not gender or age exclusive.

The relevancy of this chapter clearly does not indicate this trend in education as a passing fad. Because this technology is powerful to develop a community regardless of proximity, in real time, and at comparatively no cost, it is simply too powerful to not be the next wrung on the education and business development ladder. The material of this chapter demonstrates that to not take advantage of and develop these tools is to scorn progress and such attitude is in direct conflict with the basic theory of the pursuit of knowledge.

Having experienced both a fully online class, as well as a hybrid class involving the use of a SN site, this chapter was not completely new material to me. However, the content regarding the sense of community was new. Though I had experienced it, I had never encountered the concept “put into so many words.” I also was not aware of how integral community was to the success of a class. It was worthwhile to read the reactions of other students who had also experienced this learning style. Furthermore, this chapter is the first reference I have encountered to SN operation systems and I am interested in learning more about that.
This chapter most definitely aided in my understanding of the subject matter. As I stated in my response to the question regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the chapter, I found that this chapter had no weaknesses and therefore found no information to be lacking or presented in a confusing manner. This chapter did not leave me with questions unanswered, but rather interest to continue study of this topic and the follow the evolution of this technology in the fields of education and business.


Come up and see me some time.

It’s hard to log onto the Internet these days without the leviathan social network of Facebook peeking into your cyber-frige and helping itself, and while it may be easy (and with good cause) to bemoan Facebook’s clutter and privacy concerns, there is no doubt that social networking has permanently changed social interaction, for better and/or for worse.

We were tasked with creating our own social networks using the SNS host/generator, mixxt.com. Of all the assignments completed in this class, of all the applications tested, I think Mixxt takes the blue ribbon for the semester. I am working on another project that entails developing a tutorial to instruct paralegals about Web 2.0 technology. The tutorial needs to be as interactive as possible, but through the development, I still found myself relying too much on presenting information to readers in a text format. Therefore, I decied to create my social network to be a companion to that tutorial and allow paralegals learning about Web 2.0 technology to experience it in a friendly, legally focused environment. Some of my co-workers at my law firm have already joined. From the perspective of the tutorial, I am no longer limited to text based instruction with a smattering of images and videos. I can now invite the learners to blog, chat, post in the forums and upload media to the social network.

We used mixxt to create the SNS and it literally fell together in minutes. Mixxt has been the easiest application to use thus far. I was able to create pages and manage members, just with little to no effort on my part. I was pleasantly surprised by the available layouts, as well.

The inclusion of a social network in a tutorial is one of many aspects of using SNS in education. I have been very pleased with my experience of SNS in course work. It does add to the sense of community in the class and it also makes it easier for shy students to participate.

You can visit (and join!) my social network here:

VISIT AND JOIN THE TECHLEGAL SOCIAL NETWORK!


For those of you within the sound of my voice…

Podcasting has become as ubiquitous as emailing and does add a nice layer of diversity to a text based world. My favorite example of podcasting is Ricky Gervais’s show, but that is strictly entertainment and therefore has no place on this blog (*wink*). We used Podomatic.com to create our own podcasts and it could not have been easier to use. I recorded my cringe-worthy audio in Audacity and uploaded it to Podomatic and BOOM, my first episode was ready to go.

My experience with podcasting has taught me that I loathe the sound of my own voice, and that people who make it look (and sound) easy really have an impressive talent. Furthermore, to create a worthwhile podcast, it REALLY helps to have a well thought out plan. Make notes, be familiar with your topic, do some test runs, or talk to someone about what you want to say. This may not be that big of a deal for teachers, who are using podcasts to upload lectures (which is a great idea) and are used to running through the same linguisitics over and over, but it is a good plan of action for amateurs.

For the legal field, I think it would be interesting for oral arguments, summations, and other particularly interesting testimony (at trial and therefore a matter of public record) to be converted to podcasts. It would add a level of transparencey to the judicial system and could also be applied to local governments. Let voters be a “fly on the wall” in counsel meetings through unedited podcasts. The technology is easy enough for anyone to master and is not cost prohibitive.

You can listen to my inaugural podcast here:

LINDA’S PODCAST ON PODOMATIC.COM

But your time would be much better spent looking for a podcast meaningful to you and then share it with me right here!


I’m sitting at my high-powered desktop, surfing the net on my phone

As it turns out, I was not the last person on earth to sign up for a Facebook account, but I may very well be the last person to get a cell phone with a data package.  I bought a shiny, new smartphone months ago and at the moment of plan selection, opted for unlimited text only because, really, what else is there?  I’m not going to Google from my phone!  I have laptops for that!  

Recently, I was explaining to my 85 year old grandparents what I am studying in college (the Internet) and I was describing to them the mobile website I’d developed for a class project.  Because my grandparents are very comfortable in their time warp, I had to break the conversation down into frames of reference they could understand.  First, I said, we have computers.  And they were with me on that.  Then, there is the Internet that you get to from your computer.  They’re still with me.  Now, we have cell phones that are actually computers- you can talk on them AND look at the Internet, just like you can with a ‘big’ computer.  I lost them entirely.  As I was trying to explain what all cell phones can do now, I slowly began to realize what all cell phone can do now.  The power is mind boggling, actually.  I gave up trying to exlpain it to my grandparents and began answering their questions about why the little silver records (CDs) won’t fit on their record player and how the other little silver records in the boxes with Jimmy Stewart on the cover, were actually movies, but did not go in the tape player.  I so love my grandparents, but that is a whole other blog.

So!  I built a mobile website and then got a data package so I could look at it on my phone while sitting at my desk computer.  Smashing!  Seriously though, the whole concept of mobile technology is and will be a game changer in every facet of society.  My mobile site is designed around an upcoming family vacation to Disney World.  We’ll be traveling in a large group, assembling in Florida from many different states, and I though the mobile website would be a great way to blog, tweet, text, snap pics and generally log the journey while waiting in line for rides and sitting in restaurants.  But the education and business possibilities for mobile technology are limitless.  Does anyone know how many “apps” there are in existence for use at this moment?  If bazillion wasn’t a real number before, it is now.

The site below is powered by winksite(.com), which is free and oh so easy to use.  Anyone can do it!

WDW 2011 Mobile Website


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