Tue Dec 2 13:17:49 2008
1109 - Fall 2010
Old: 1089 - Fall 2008
10976 - Journalism & Mass Comm, Sch of
Old: 10976 - Journalism & Mass Comm, School
Old: Dan Sullivan
Sponsor E-mail Address:
this course fulfills:
- TS Technology and Society
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed core
requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed
outline, laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or method.
Core courses must meet the following requirements:
<no text provided>
This course uses the basic methodologies and tools of economics to examine how changes in communication technology affect media organizations and the functioning of media in the global economy. Among the key principles students learn are scarcity and the law of exchange, the function of markets and the role of prices, and some of the problems associated with information as an economic good. Students also learn about the implications of having most major media companies be multinationals, and how different traditions about the role of media in a society affect the way these organizations work in different parts of the world.
Describe how the course meets the specific bullet points for the proposed theme
requirement. Give concrete and detailed examples for the course syllabus, detailed outline,
laboratory material, student projects, or other instructional materials or methods.
Theme courses have the common goal of cultivating in students a number of habits of mind:
New: Jour 3551 (The Economics of New Media) fits well with the goals of the theme courses for a liberal education, contributing significantly to all four of the common goals for these courses. The course engages students to,
1. Think ethically about important challenges facing our society and world:
New media technologies offer the promise of tremendous economic value and enhancing the economic well-being of the world. They also pose a threat in terms of the impact they may have on many cultures, on the distribution of well-being in the world, on the rights of individuals (for example to privacy), and on the potential for misuse (for example, facilitating pedophilia). The discussion of how to regulate these technologies in week 13 examines the interface of economic principles with social justice values (including those related to the global impact of the Internet).
2. Reflect on the shared sense of responsibility required to build and maintain community
Students readily understand that the Internet is a global medium. Students also understand how this medium works to facilitate social networking. These two points of knowledge provide a solid basis for getting them to consider what the responsibilities are that accompany the opportunities afforded by Internet and related new media technologies; and economics provides an intellectual framework for understanding how what has “value” for them may represent a “cost” to someone else.
3. Connect knowledge and practice
This course is all about how individuals use these technologies to create all sorts of value, some of it personal, some of it for consumers, and some of it for society. At the same time it continually underscores that point that understanding why some things work and others don’t requires a solid grounding in theory.
4. Foster a stronger sense of our roles as historical agents
The Internet is changing at such a rapid rate that students easily grasp a sense of how it has changed their lives and continues to do so. Moreover, by constantly making comparisons to “old media” and the changes they brought about, students get a clear understanding that it is not the technologies themselves, but how they are used, that matters. One key theme is how these technologies are changing their own understanding of what concepts like “community” and “privacy” and “intellectual property” mean, and what that in turn means for the future of our society.
The course also satisfies the specific requirements for the Technology and Society theme by meeting each of the criteria for such courses as follows:
1. Course examines one or more technologies that have had some measurable impact on contemporary society.
This is a central focus of this course – as it says in the introduction (from the syllabus, “The Internet is the most significant new technology impacting our society today. And it is likely to play an increasingly important role in the life of most Americans in years to come. Moreover, it is playing a direct role in our increasing global interdependence. Most of the development of applications for using this technology is being done by commercial enterprises. Many people have great ideas for new ways to use the Internet or other new communications technologies to create value. The problem is figuring out why any consumer would pay for these new offerings or any enterprise would invest in them. On Day 1, we talk about the significance of the Internet and related information and communication technologies, and why it is important to understand them from a number of different perspectives (including an economic one). The Internet is not only technically different from other mass media; it is also the only one where consumers also become producers of content.
2. The course builds student understanding of the science and engineering behind the technology addressed.
This is integrated into several lectures and into the first four case studies. In particular, in week two talks about the fundamental nature of new media (the nature of the network, the interfaces, “language” and protocols required to produce viewable web pages) and how it differs technically and operationally from “old” media technologies. And then in week 4, we discuss the more recent developments (commonly referred to as web 2.0). To understand the economic and social significance of these technologies, students must first understand what is technically unique about them. The various case studies focus on what these technologies can do. But as a starting point, they require the student to understand how they work, how they were developed and how they have evolved. Finally, in week 15, the course concludes with a discussion of what is likely to come next – both what is possible technically and what economic incentives exist for someone to want to develop it. The final case study requires students to do their own imagining of the future and to invent a new Internet-related enterprise.
3. Students discuss the role that society has played in fostering the development of technology as well as the response to the adoption and use of technology.
This element is addressed in a number of ways. First, the second text for this course is a narrative on the evolution of Internet technologies told through two perspectives: a business one and a social one. The author discusses the key technical features of search and other elements of web 2.0. A theme of the book, which is also a theme of this course is how decentralized the development of new media technologies has been and how most arose in very specific social contexts – from Facebook which began in a college dorm room to Craigslist, which was one individual trying to do a favor for friends, to Google, which was a couple of grad students trying to do a better job of connecting the public to information it valued. We also discuss the role of the government and public policy in fostering the rapid development and deployment of these technologies. More specifically, week two begins with a discussion of how the Internet came to be, and the second half of the course (week 9) begins with a discussion of how it went from being an academic network to becoming a largely commercial enterprise. Moreover, the first case study requires students to look specifically at the development of the social applications of the Internet, and case 4 examines how society (and the courts) have sought to balance the twin social goals of innovation and respect for property. In week 7, attention is paid to who has access to and the ability to use the Internet and how that can skew its impact on society.
4. Students consider the impact of technology from multiple perspectives that include developers, users/consumers, as well as others in society affected by the technology.
As noted earlier, a key idea communicated in this course is that the development of the Internet and related technologies has been highly decentralized and often the work of individuals working alone. Students come to understand that a key dynamic of such a process is the interplay between consumers/users, developers and the government. The significance of considering these technologies from multiple perspectives is especially central to the discussion in week 5 (on building “communities” on the Internet) and week 7 (how different players have come to use the Internet in the production and distribution of news and public affairs content. Moreover, case studies 1 and 2 require students to understand the multiple roles that some individuals play – as consumers, as developers and as members of the relevant community and/or public.
5. Students develop skills in evaluating conflicting views on existing or emerging technology.
This is part of the design of the case studies, which in every case require students to choose between alternatives and defend their choice. More specifically, in case study no. 3 (“Profiting by adding value to content generated by others”) and case study no. 4 (“File-sharing”), students must address not only the conflicting economic interests created by the technology’s capacity for collaboration and copying, but also the conflicting ethical principles. Moreover, in weeks 3, 10 and 15, the class discussion focuses on competing views of how best to use these new technologies and will require students to defend one view.
6. Students engage in a process of critical evaluation that provides a framework with which to evaluate new technology in the future.
This is a key purpose of both the case studies and the two exams (the instructions for the exams tell students they are being graded on their framing of the problem and their reasoning and not on the conclusion they reach). This course continually points to the future – as it states in the introduction in the syllabus, “The aim here is not simply to better understand or be able to assess what is happening today; it is also to give students a foundation for critically evaluating future developments, both technical and economic, related to digital technology from both a personal and a societal point of view.” The course finishes with a discussion of two issues that could have significant implications for the future of these technologies over the next ten years (“cloud computing” and “spectrum allocation”). Moreover, the final case study requires students to do their own imagining about the future, and to be able to make a sound technological and economic argument for why what they propose makes sense as a commercial enterprise and to justify its social value as well.
Finally, this course also enhances students’ ability with respect to the following student learning outcomes:
1. Can identify, define and solve problems
Justification: The case studies all present students with “problems” in the form of determining which alternative is best that require them to first define exactly what the issue and points of difference are before developing a “solution.”
2. Can locate and critically evaluate information
Justification: Every case study involves two competing enterprises with different approaches to a given use of digital technology. Students must determine which alternative they prefer and support their conclusion with information they must gather from the two enterprises.
3. Can communicate effectively
Justification: The instructions for both the case studies and the two exams both tell students that their grade is affected by how well they articulate their point of view rather than whether they get some pre-ordained “right answer.”
4. Understand the role of creativity, innovation, discovery and expression across disciplines
Justification: All sorts of people are making creative uses of the Internet. The various case studies will give students a feel for the many different ways in which people can use this technology to innovate their field or area of interest and the novel ways in which they can communicate with others about what they are doing. These case studies, as well as the readings, also highlight the many different paths to discovery.
5. Have acquired skills for effective citizenship and lifelong learning
An important feature of this course is imbedding the study of the economic forces underlying the development of these technologies in the ethical and social context in which they are occurring. Students will come to understand that many issues that may appear to be simply technical or economic have important social and ethical dimensions that public policy must take into account. These include competing rights, the very uneven distribution of access to these technologies, and the implications for our democracy of allowing too much concentration of ownership in the name of stimulating innovation.
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provide a provisional syllabus for new courses and courses in which
changes in content and/or description and/or credits are proposed that
include the following information: course goals and description;
format/structure of the course (proposed number of instructor contact
hours per week, student workload effort per week, etc.); topics to be
covered; scope and nature of assigned readings (texts, authors,
frequency, amount per week); required course assignments; nature of any
student projects; and how students will be evaluated.
The University policy on credits is found under Section 4A of "Standards for Semester Conversion" at http://www.fpd.finop.umn.edu/groups/senate/documents/policy/semestercon.html . Provisional course syllabus information will be retained in this system until new syllabus information is entered with the next major course modification, This provisional course syllabus information may not correspond to the course as offered in a particular semester.
New: Spring 2008
JOUR 3551: Economics of New Media
(3 Credits, A-F only)
Faculty: Dan Sullivan
Cowles Professor of Media Management and Economics
Office: Room 230
Office Hrs: Wednesdays 9:00-11:00 a.m. or by appointment
E-mail: email@example.com (preferred method of contact)
The syllabus for this course is available in alternate forms to students with disabilities upon request. Please call the Undergraduate Student Center (Room 110) at (612) 625-0120.
General: The Internet is the most significant new technology impacting our society today. And it is likely to play an increasingly important role in the life of most Americans in years to come. Most of the development of applications for using this technology is being done by commercial enterprises. Many people have great ideas for new ways to use the Internet or other new communications technologies to create value. The problem is figuring out why any consumer would pay for these new offerings or any enterprise would invest in them. Solving this problem depends, in large part, on understanding what is new (and unique) about “new media,” and what value they add. This course focuses on organizations attempting to use the Internet and related technologies to create new value or to improve the “efficiency” of their existing operations. Particular attention is paid to why companies such as Google and Yahoo are so successful, and why traditional media organizations are struggling to make money on the Internet.
This course is also designed to contribute to a liberal education – that is, (using the words of the Council on Liberal Education) to provide “an educational experience of growth and discovery through which students become knowledgeable, thoughtful, ethical and engaged public citizens.” The Internet is an information and communication technology that is becoming increasingly central not only to the lives of most students but to the political, social and economic life of our society. Some see it as the platform that will propel us to a new level of well-being; others see it as a major threat to the existing order and as something that will benefit a few at the expense of many. As the first truly global medium, many of its potential effects are not at all clear. Understanding how the technology works and what it is capable of, what are its possible applications from an economic and social perspective, what the values are that drive its actual use, and trying to imagine how it can or should evolve in the future should enable you to effectively contribute to the public discourse related to these technologies. This course is not about giving you answers; it is about giving you a set of tools and frameworks to improve your understanding and your ability to articulate a point of view regarding what about the Internet creates value for individuals and society and what does not.
Specific: The first three weeks of the course will focus on gaining an understanding of the basic technical, media, social and economic/business concepts central to this course. Particular emphasis will be placed on understanding the fundamental nature of these technologies and their underlying science and how these interact with basic economic forces to produce the Internet as we know it today. Most of the remaining weeks will then focus on using these concepts to better understand what is (and is not) unique about the Internet (and related technologies), to examine some of the major current uses of the Internet, including the social and economic forces driving them, and to evaluate some of the major issues that are receiving attention from the media and from public officials, especially those that involve conflicts between the principles of market economics and the values and ethics associated with a healthy and just democratic (and increasingly global) society. For most topics and issues, the approach will be to combine a general discussion of the topic with a discussion of specific initiatives, organizations and websites. The list of topics and issues is shown in the course calendar. The initial list of organizations/enterprises and websites that we will study is posted on the WebCT site for this course, but this list may be modified or added to as we go through the semester (students are encouraged to offer suggestions for sites or organizations that the class should study). The aim here is not simply to better understand or be able to assess what is happening today; it is also to give students a foundation for critically evaluating future developments, both technical and economic, related to digital technology from both a personal and a societal point of view.
Context: This course is one of the core courses for the University’s Interdisciplinary Minor in New Media Studies, the overall mission of which is to enable students to explore how information is created in new media, the role and impact of those media on human communication, and how emerging digital technologies change the ways in which various types of content can be created, managed and distributed and, in so doing, potentially change the content itself. This course and the minor of which it is a part are intended to instill in students a sense of inquiry about these emerging technologies in ways that enable students to integrate their economic, social, ethical and cultural implications.
Goals and Objectives of this course: This is an exploratory course and one intended to help you think not only about what is today, but also about what might be tomorrow – and how the emerging technologies will impact not only your own lives, but also the various journalism and communications crafts. Particular attention will be paid to the increasing globalization of media. The focus will be more on how to think about questions and issues rather than on arriving at specific answers. More specifically, each student who successfully completes this course will,
 Understand the theories and concepts of the economics of new media, including theories drawn from engineering, economics, sociology and psychology, and mass communication.
 Understand what is and is not “new” about new media from a scientific/technical, social and economic perspective, and how the Internet relates to other media.
 Understand the role of creativity and innovation in the development of new technologies.
 Be able to determine why some new media enterprises are successful, while others are not.
 Understand the role of society in both the development and adoption of new media technologies, and the implications of these technologies creating a global media environment.
 Be able to discuss the likely impact of the Internet and related technologies on traditional media (and media crafts).
 Be able to evaluate various public policies aimed at new media, including the arguments (both economic and ethical) supporting and opposing those policies, and whether the Internet is likely to benefit or harm various segments of our diverse society.
In pursuing this goal, the course will contribute to the following general learning objectives:
 Understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information.
 Think critically, creatively and independently.
 Conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professionals in which they work.
 Write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve.
 Apply basic numerical and statistical concepts.
ACEJMC Core Values and Competencies
The national accrediting agency for journalism education has required that all accredited journalism schools assess student mastery of 11 core values and competencies that every graduate of a journalism and mass communication program should possess. According to the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, all graduates, irrespective of their particular specialization, should be able to:
1) understand and apply the principles and laws of freedom of speech and press, including the right to dissent, to monitor and criticize power, and to assemble and petition for redress of grievances
2) demonstrate an understanding of the history and role of professionals and institutions in shaping communications
3) demonstrate an understanding of the diversity of groups in a global society in relationship to communications
4) understand concepts and apply theories in the use and presentation of images and information
5) demonstrate an understanding of professional ethical principles and work ethically in pursuit of truth, accuracy, fairness and diversity
6) think critically, creatively and independently
7) conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to the communications professionals in which they work
8) write correctly and clearly in forms and styles appropriate for the communications professions, audiences and purposes they serve
9) critically evaluate their own work and that of others for accuracy and fairness, clarity, appropriate style and grammatical correctness
10) apply basic numerical and statistical concepts
11) apply tools and technologies appropriate for the communications professions in which they work
Readings: There are two primary texts required of all students in this course:
Stan Liebowitz, Re-Thinking the Network Economy (L)
John Battelle, Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the
Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture (B)
There will also be a limited number of short supplemental readings that discuss developments occurring during the semester (remember: this is a rapidly changing field); these readings or links to them will be posted on the WebCT site for this class.
This course will be a mix of lecture and class discussion; students are expected to have done the assigned reading in advance (including reviewing designated websites listed on the WebCT for this class) and to participate in class discussions – the intent here is to enable students to analyze the key issues related to new media technologies, to formulate views about those technologies and engage with other students as a way to better understand the complexities of these issues (this will be a factor in your final grade). Attendance is not required; however, not attending will affect your participation grade; and you are responsible for material covered in class.
In addition to the assigned reading, each student must complete the written assignments described below.
1. Case Studies: During weeks 5, 7, 10, 12 and 14, students will apply what they have learned to specific enterprises built on the Internet and related technologies (these enterprises will be part of the class discussion during the two weeks leading up to the case study). The enterprises to be studies are listed at the end of the calendar, and the format for writing about them will be posted on WebCT. While there will be common elements to all of the case studies, the specific format will vary each time to reflect what is being covered in class. Each case study will be about 3 pages. The purpose of these case studies is to 1) understand the technology involved and how it gets translated into products and services that have value; 2) to understand the enterprise involved from both social and economic perspectives; and 3) to be able to evaluate conflicting views about the worthwhileness of a given enterprise and its prospects for the future. Grades will be based on the quality of the analysis and the ability to support a point of view and not on giving a “correct answer.” The first four case studies will focus on existing enterprises; the fifth will require students to use what they have learned to propose a new enterprise. Case studies are due at the beginning of class on Thursday of the week for which they are assigned. Late assignments will not be accepted.
2. Midterm: There will be an in-class midterm exam during week 8. The exam will be a mix of “short answer” questions (asking you to explain or compare key concepts) and “problems” which will require you to critically apply the material from both the assigned readings and class discussions (These problems will require answers of roughly 250-400 words). There will be no makeup for a missed midterm exam. If a student misses the midterm exam, the weight given to the final exam will double.
3. Final exam: There will also be a cumulative final exam for this class, which will be held during the regularly scheduled final exam period. The format for this exam will be similar to the midterm. (A review sheet will be handed out during the last class – and I will be available by email to answer questions until 10p.m. the night before the exam). There will be no make-up for a missed final.
WebCT: This course will utilize WebCT to provide information not contained in this syllabus, to announce any changes to the information in this syllabus, to post grades, to provide links to relevant websites, and to make supplemental readings available. In addition, WebCT will be utilized for online discussions to supplement our discussion in class. Some of these discussions will focus on sample exam questions. Others will allow for follow-up to discussion of the case studies. These will provide an opportunity for students who are uncomfortable speaking in front of a large group and will count towards class participation. [Note: participation in these case study follow-up discussions is expected and will affect your participation grade.]
Grades: Grades in this course will be consistent with the University’s Uniform Grading Policy. Here are the grading standards:
A---achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.
B---achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements.
C---achievement that meets course requirements in every respect.
D---achievement is worthy of credit even though it does not meet the course requirements.
F (or N)---represents failure (or no credit) and signifies that the work was either (1) completed
but at a level of achievement not worthy of credit; or (2) was not completed and there was no agreement between the instructor and the student that the student would be awarded an I.
I (incomplete)---assigned at the discretion of the instructor when, due to extraordinary
circumstances, e.g. hospitalization, a student is prevented from completing work of the course on time. Requires a written agreement between the instructor and student.
Final grades will be determined as follows:
Case Studies 30 % (6 % each) Participation 10 %
Midterm Exam 30 % Final Exam 30 %
This course will not have opportunities to earn extra credit
For undergraduate courses, one credit is defined as equivalent to an average of three hours of learning effort per week (over a full semester) necessary for an average student to achieve an average grade in the course. For example, a student taking a three credit course that meets for three hours a week should expect to spend an additional six hours a week on coursework outside the classroom. Students should expect to spend about 9 hours in learning efforts per week (inside and outside of class) to satisfactorily complete this course.
Scholastic Misconduct – Definition
Scholastic misconduct is broadly defined as "any act that violates the rights of another student in academic work or that involves misrepresentation of your own work. Scholastic dishonesty includes, (but is not necessarily limited to): cheating on assignments or examinations; plagiarizing, which means misrepresenting as your own work any part of work done by another; submitting the same paper, or substantially similar papers, to meet the requirements of more than one course without the approval and consent of all instructors concerned; depriving another student of necessary course materials; or interfering with another student's work." Proven scholastic misconduct will result in a course grade of F.
Students with disabilities that affect their ability to participate fully in class or to meet all course requirements are encouraged to bring this to the attention of the instructor so that appropriate accommodations can be arranged. Further information is available from Disability Services (230 Gateway Building). Note: Students with special needs may receive this syllabus and other course materials in alternative formats upon request. Contact the SJMC Student Services Center for more information, 612-625-0120.
University policy prohibits sexual harassment as defined in the 5/17/84 policy statement. Copies of the 5/17/84 policy statement on sexual harassment are available at 419 Morrill Hall. Complaints about sexual harassment should be reported to the University Office of Equal Opportunity at 419 Morrill Hall.
Inquiries regarding any changes of grade should be directed to the instructor of the course; you may wish to contact the Student Dispute Resolution Center (SDRC) in 107 Eddy Hall 612-625-5900 for assistance. Grade changes will be made only when evidence of an error in grading and/or recording of a grade is identified.
Course Calendar and Assignment Schedule:
February 15 Due dates for case study 1
March 1 Due dates for case study 2
March 13 Midterm exam
March 29 Due dates for case study 3
April 12 Due dates for case study 4
April 26 Due dates for case study 5
May 15 Final exam
LECTURE/DISCUSSION TOPICS AND READING
The following lecture/reading schedule is tentative. It may change due to external events or the expressed interests of students in the class.
Date Lecture/Discussion Topics/Websites* Reading
Week 1 Introduction and overview of course syllabus
Basic Economic Concepts: incentives, exchange and markets L1/framework
Week 2 What’s new about new media? L2
Information Basics: what makes information valuable? L5/framework
Week 3 Business basics: What do (new media) businesses do? framework
Alternative strategies for employing new media technologies L3
Week 4 Information seeking and search: how does it work? What’s the value? B1/B2
How did Google change the Internet?
Week 5 Search and “community” on the web B3/B4
Who benefits? And who doesn’t? And Why? (Case Study #1 – see below)
Week 6 Competitive advantage – what matters on the Internet? L3
Personalization vs. privacy/security
Week 7 News and Public Affairs: how does the Internet relate to other media? B7
New forms: blogging and “citizen journalism” (Case Study #2 – see below)
Week 8 Review L8
Week 9 From an academic to a commercial web
E-business – E-commerce – E-tailing: how does the Internet help? L4
Week 10 Revenue for content sites: Where does the money come from? L6
Alternative pricing models (Case Study #3 – see below)
Week 11 Making money from search B5/B6
Using search and community to serve consumers
Week 12 File-sharing, piracy and copyright: music and video on the web L7
Who benefits from copying? (Case Study #4 – see below)
Week 13 Regulating the Internet: who should do it? Local or global? B8
The individual vs. big business (Case Study #5 - see below)
Week 14 What makes YouTube so popular? And so valuable (for Google)? B9/B10
Hobby vs. business – which is craigslist?
Week 15 Changing technology: “cloud computing” and the “mobile web”
The future & review B11
Finals Week Final Exam – as scheduled
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1. Building “community” on the Internet. Enterprises: Facebook, MySpace, CafeMom, and Second Life. This case study will explore how new media technologies empower individuals not only to interact with others in both real and virtual worlds, but also to create their own unique applications of the technology – i.e., to become developers (both individually and collaboratively) as well as users of a technology, and to do so in a global context.
2. Using new media for journalism and public affairs. Enterprises: Startribune.com, Newsvine, True Majority, and whiteouse.gov. This case study examines four distinct dimensions of the public affairs enterprise (the press, citizen journalism, citizen activism and efforts of public officials to bypass the press). It focuses not only on content itself, but on how new technologies allow for more targeted and more immediate distribution of that content.
3. Profiting by adding value to content generated by others. Enterprises: Technorati, Blogger, Digg, GoogleNews. This case study explores 1) whether the unique information aspects of new media technologies or the unique communication aspects are more valuable for society, and 2) the implications for the ethical issues associated with using the content of others.
4. File-sharing. Enterprises: Napster, LimeWire, Flickr, YouTube. This case study explores the implications of our notions of authorship and copyright (“ownership”) in an environment where technology enables content to be produced collaboratively and sequentially.
5. The Future: what should be next? What isn’t being done today that involves the organizing and distributing information in ways that would add value to people’s lives? The student’s task here is to identify a need, to outline an approach to meeting this need in a way that would create some form of a competitive advantage, to explain how it would be technically feasible, and to identify how they would generate the revenue necessary to fund the enterprise.
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