PAL/PASS – Peer Assisted Learning and Peer Assisted Study Sessions

PAL/PASS – Peer Assisted Learning and Peer Assisted Study Sessions

SUMMARY

The PAL/PASS – Peer Assisted Learning and Peer Assisted Study Sessions Policy establishes the principles underpinning Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) at Macquarie University. The Procedure provides further information on the roles and responsibilities for the operation of PAL/PASS and is supported by the Schedule which illustrates current PAL/PASS activities.

POLICY

1     PURPOSE

To document the principles underpinning Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) (see footnote 1) at Macquarie University.

2     BACKGROUND

Macquarie University is committed to supporting students to achieve their full potential throughout the duration of their study program as identified in the University’s Strategic Plan, Our University: A Framing of Futures, and the Learning and Teaching Strategic Framework.

At Macquarie University, PAL and PASS are acronyms that are used synonymously for support initiatives in which more experienced students run weekly sessions / workshops for their peers through a collaborative study experience to aid learning and academic transition. The focus is primarily on educational support for particular units of study, rather than pastoral care which many Faculties address via Mentoring schemes. 

Generally, participation in PAL/PASS workshops:

  1. provides students with opportunities to network and build relationships with other students;
  2. builds self-confidence by enabling students to review and question course material (in particular difficult or challenging concepts) in a supportive environment;
  3. assists students to develop study techniques, improve communication skills, develop group interaction skills; and
  4. improves academic performance.

Research (see footnote 2) shows that PASS can assist in improving student retention and satisfaction. Students who attend PASS consistently produce higher results than those who do not attend.

Units considered most appropriate for PAL/PASS generally have large enrolments and contain content that students may find difficult. To achieve maximum impact, the following selection criteria are suggested. Units should:

  1. be core units with large student enrolments, particularly of commencing students;
  2. have high failure or non-completion rates;
  3. be seen as historically difficult.

To date, PAL/PASS offerings at Macquarie have been offered in face-to-face settings; however, there may be scope to expand the offering to online (see footnote 3) communities.

3     SCOPE

This Policy applies to all Faculties, Departments, Offices and students involved in PAL/PASS as a program (study selection) coordinator, leader or workshop participant. Workshop leaders and participants can be based at either the North Ryde or Sydney City campus.

4     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary.

For the purposes of this Policy, the term Faculty includes the Macquarie University International College (MUIC).

5     POLICY STATEMENT

The University will:

Offer annual PAL or PASS programming in all Faculties (on campus and/or online):

  • Faculties determine the annual provisioning of funding to run PAL/PASS in alignment with the requirements of the policy;
  • Associate Deans, Learning and Teaching / Associate Director Academic Programs MUIC (or delegates) will, in collaboration with Unit Convenors and/or Program Directors, prioritise areas of study for inclusion in PAL/PASS programming from across the Faculty; and
  • Large first year subjects with consistently high failure rates should be prioritised.

Ensure that PAL/PASS Provisioning follows set standards for student recruitment, training, support, remuneration, reward and recognition:

  • Standard selection criteria / eligibility. PAL/PASS Leaders:
    • must be current Macquarie University students;
    • have previously completed the nominated subject and achieved a grade of Distinction or better, or demonstrated academic excellence in a comparable subject;
    • completed at least 24 credit points;
    • maintained a GPA of 3 or above (or equivalent as per new Assessment Policy);
    • be available for training in PAL/PASS leadership, or have previously completed a minimum of 14 hours recognised training.
  • Note that each faculty may also determine additional eligibility and selection criteria for PAL/PASS leaders, details of which are included in the Schedule. Any exception to the eligibility criteria will require approval from the relevant faculty Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching / Associate Director Academic Programs.
  • Standard processes for disseminating student PAL/PASS leader and engagement opportunities leveraging off existing communications platforms iLearn and CareerHub.
  • Consistent PALPASS training:
    • PAL/PASS leader training must be coordinated by each faculty by PAL/PASS accredited staff and consist of at least 14 hours of training;
    • All leaders must receive a certificate of training / participation.
  • Set remuneration or academic credit for all PAL/PASS leaders:
    • Leader training is un-paid. The accreditation itself is a valuable qualification that leaders will have beyond the undergraduate experience;
    • Workshop facilitation is set at a minimum casual rate of HEW 3.1. Leaders must complete timesheets that are endorsed and submitted to payroll by nominated staff;
    • Academic credit for conducting the workshops may be available as a PACE or related activity.
  • Comprehensive support information (hard copy and online) for PAL/PASS leaders must be made available including:
    • Key contact information for identified Faculty, College and Office-based staff who can support students in these roles, and intervene when necessary, and processes for escalating issues;
    • Q&As that use consistent language and terminology;
    • Available wellbeing and related support services;
    • WH&S;
    • Relevant policy details including the Macquarie University Student Code of Conduct and Ethics Statement.

Ensure that PAL/PASS provisioning follows consistent workshop format standards including:

  • A minimum of 5 and maximum of 20 students per subject, to be facilitated by one or two leaders depending on the nature and requirements of the subject area.
  • Workshops will be offered on the basis that:
    • all students enrolled in a subject will be provided with the opportunity to participate in a PAL/PASS workshop, if available
    • PAL/PASS is not a compulsory requirement for undergraduate subjects (participation is voluntary)
    • a student may attend at any time during the session (pending capacity of venues), and
    • there is no charge for students to participate.
Footnote:
1. PAL/PASS is based on the SI (Supplemental Instruction) program  developed in Kansas at the University of Missouri in 1973. 
It is now used in more than 30 countries around the world and yearly more than a quarter of a million students attend PAL/PASS
Sessions. The University of Wollongong is the National Centre for PASS in Australia. Iterations of PAL/PASS programming have
established in all Faculties at Macquarie since 2011.
2. Paloyo, Rogan and Siminski (2016). The Causal Effects  of the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) on Educational Outcomes 
and Discussion Paper; Dancer, D., Morrison, K.,  and Tarr, G. (2014). 
Measuring the effects of peer learning on students' academic achievement in first-year business statistics. Studies in Higher
Education.
3. At Deakin University, CloudPASS sessions (at a set time each week) are  conducted in Blackboard Collaborate, a synchronous 
web conferencing platform which has been specifically designed to maximise the potential for students to collaborate.

6     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

7     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

PAL/PASS - Peer Assisted Learning and Peer Assisted Study Sessions Procedure / Schedule
Macquarie University Code of Conduct
Macquarie University Ethics Statement
Casual Employment Policy / Procedure
Student Feedback on Learning, Teaching and Curriculum Policy
Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public
Students at Risk / Academic Progression

8          NOTES

8.1 Contact Officer Project Manager, Office of the PVC L&T
8.2 Implementation Officer Project Manager, Office of the PVC L&T
8.3 Approval Authority / Authorities Academic Senate
8.4 Date Approved 26 July 2016
8.5 Date of Commencement 26 July 2016
8.6 Date for Review July 2019
8.7 Documents Superseded by this Policy Peer Assisted Learning Policy approved 4 September 2012
8.8 Amendment History n/a

Asset ID = 422764

PROCEDURE

1     PURPOSE

To outline the roles and responsibilities for the operation of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) and Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) at Macquarie University.

2     SCOPE

This Procedure applies to all Faculties, Departments, Offices, the Macquarie University International College (the College)  and students involved in PAL/PASS. PAL/PASS activities can be based at either the North Ryde or Sydney City campus.

3     DEFINITIONS

Commonly defined terms are located in the University Glossary. Definitions specific to this Procedure are contained in the accompanying Policy.

4     RESPONSIBILITIES AND REQUIRED ACTIONS

This procedure requires actions by the following:

  • Executive Deans / College Director
  • Associate Deans, Learning and Teaching / Associate Director Academic Programs (MUIC)
  • Faculty / College PAL/PASS Coordinators
  • PAL/PASS Leaders
  • Convenors – Program and or Unit
  
Executive Deans / College Director
  • Consider annual Faculty / College PAL/PASS program recommendations made by Associate Deans Learning and Teaching / Associate Director Academic Programs (in consultation with relevant Faculty / College PAL/PASS Coordinator)
  • Approve and provide an annual budget for agreed implementation of PAL/PASS programming (on campus and/or online).
    • 100 level units with high fail rates may be prioritised.
    • Students who present as being ‘at risk’ may take priority places in PAL/PASS sessions over other students (if they are not already engaged).
Associate Deans Learning and Teaching / Associate Director Academic Programs (MUIC)
  • In consultation with Program Directors / Program Managers and Unit Convenors, and relevant Heads of Department make recommendations to the Executive Dean / College Director for annual PAL/PASS programming
    • Include budget and program administration details.
    • Consider options for engaging students who present as being ‘at risk’ throughout sessions.
  • Obtain approval from the Faculty Executive Dean / College Director to coordinate agreed annual PAL/PASS programming.
  • Delegate PAL/PASS Coordination: roles, responsibilities and timelines.
  • Report to FLTC / MUIC Subcommittee of ASQC on annual review of PAL/PASS programming.
Faculty / College PAL/PASS
Coordinators
  • Determine Leader recruitment requirements for PAL/PASS based on subject enrolment numbers from the previous year and the anticipated number for the next session.
  • Advertise PAL/PASS Leader positions in consultation with relevant convenors via CareerHub and student online platforms.
  • Interview leader candidates.
  • Notify successful and unsuccessful candidates. Alert successful candidates of upcoming PAL/PASS training sessions (compulsory to progress in a Leader role unless already completed). Provide constructive feedback to unsuccessful candidates
  • Organise offers of employment for successful candidates and finalise recruitment on-boarding process
  • Organise and conduct an on-campus training program for PAL/PASS Leaders:
  • Arrange for Accredited staff to be available to lead training;
  • Source appropriate room for the training to take place;
  • Set calendar dates and invite all participants;
  • Compile PAL/PASS Leader training materials and manual; and
  • Compile workshop administration materials (contact lists, AV, butchers paper etc).
  • Prepare the draft PAL/PASS timetable before the session begins and confirm details once leaders have been recruited (workshops to commence within the first three weeks of the session).
  • Schedule weekly workshops for a duration of one hour each – arrange necessary room bookings and access.
  • Arrange for promotion of PAL/PASS to be included in relevant iLearn subjects (via convenors), and liaise with Group Marketing to have programming promoted via the Student Portal.
  • Review the performance of each PAL/PASS leader and provide feedback.
  • Arrange for a program survey to be conducted with students, leaders and convenors to determine areas for improvement.
  • Conduct annual evaluation activities to determine impact of the programming and report to Associate Deans Learning and Teaching / Associate Director, MUIC Programs.
Group Marketing
  • Arrange for promotion of PAL/PASS opportunities / timetable on the Student Portal and on relevant social media platforms.
Students
  • Apply for advertised PAL/PASS leader positions; and/or
  • Respond to PAL/PASS opportunities in enroled subjects
  • For maximum benefits, attend all weekly workshops
  • Participate in program surveys and review process
Student Leaders
  • If appointed as a Leader undertake the following duties:
    • participate in the associated training program (compulsory);
    • attend 100% of the unit lectures or listen on iLearn; and
    • take lecture notes, and become familiar with all unit material.
  • Unsuccessful candidates will receive formal feedback from PAL/PASS Coordinators
  • In consultation with PAL/PASS Coordinators:
    • Lead / facilitate at least two PAL/PASS workshops weekly
    • arrange weekly workshop resources;
    • maintain a register of all participants for evaluation purposes;
    • meet and participate in meetings with the PAL/PASS; Coordinator and convenor(s) as required, and in particular to escalate any issues that may arise such as low attendance, bullying, health matters; and
    • attend other team building and professional development sessions as required.
  • Participate in program surveys and review process
Convenors
  • Proactively liaise with Faculty Associate Deans Learning and Teaching / Associate Director Academic Programs, Faculty / College PAL/PASS Coordinators and PAL/PASS Leaders
  • Upload PAL/PASS program information on iLearn
  • Participate in program surveys and review process

5     RELEVANT LEGISLATION

6     KEY RELATED DOCUMENTS

PAL/PASS - Peer Assisted Learning and Peer Assisted Study Sessions Policy / Schedule
Macquarie University Code of Conduct
Macquarie University Ethics Statement
Casual Employment Policy / Procedure
Student Feedback on Learning, Teaching and Curriculum Policy
Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public
Students at Risk / Academic Progression

7      NOTES

7.1 Contact Officer Project Manager, Office of the PVC L&T
7.2 Implementation Officer Project Manager, Office of the PVC L&T
7.3 Approval Authority / Authorities  Academic Senate
7.4 Date Approved 26 July 2016
7.5 Date of Commencement 26 July 2016
7.6 Date for Review July 2019
7.7 Documents Superseded by this Procedure Peer Assisted Learning Procedure approved 4 September 2012
7.8 Amendment History n/a

Asset ID = 422764 Anchor

SCHEDULE

1       PURPOSE

Associated with the PAL/PASS Policy and Procedure, this Schedule illustrates current PAL/PASS activities (Table 2.1) in the context of other available learning support initiatives (Table 2.2) and student service locations (Table 2.3).

2      SCHEDULE

Table 2.1 PAL/PASS

PAL/PASS
Format
What it does
Scale basis
Administration
Owner
Faculties / Departments
PAL/PASS
Face to face
Unit specific workshops are led by PAL / PASS Leaders who are students who have excelled in those particular units.
UG
From Week 3 – transition
Convenors & qualified students:
All Faculties
    
CBMS101
CBMS102
CBMS103
MATH399 (P)
GEOS112
Faculty of Science and Engineering
  
http://www.humansciences.mq.edu.au/current_students/undergraduate/peer_assisted_learning_pal
 
PHYS149
PSYC104
PSY246
PSY247
PSY349
Faculty of Human Sciences
  
http://www.businessandeconomics.mq.edu.au/current_students/undergraduate/bess/peer_assisted_learning
 
ACCG100
ACCG101
ACCG200
ACCG224
ACCG250
BUSL250
ACST101
AFIN102
AFIN253
ECON110
ECON111
ACCG611
Faculty of Business and Economics
(PAL offerings only) MUIC Offers equivalent units to: ACCG100, ACST101, ECON111
  
http://www.arts.mq.edu.au/current_students/undergraduate/peer_assisted_study_sessions
 
AHIS108
AHIS118
AHIS170
AHIS178
AHIS377
GEOP111
POL108
POL101
JPS101
JPS102
PHL131
PHL137
SOC311
GEN110
LAWS104
LAWS104
LAWS108
LAWS216
LAWS259
LAWS259
LAW314
Faculty of Arts
(S1 2016, TBC S2) MUIC Offers equivalent units to: POL108
    
BClinSc
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Table 2.2 Other Learning Support initiatives

Name
Format
What it does
Scale basis
Administration
Owner
Faculty-level
KickStart
Online
Students familiarize themselves with teaching staff and the unit content before session even starts.
http://staff.mq.edu.au/teaching/curriculum_assessment/curriculum_options/kickstart/
UG & PG
Pre-session – transition
Convenors / Faculty staff
Link to list of units.
Faculties, LIH
Be Successful
Online
An iLearn unit to help students to ‘BE Successful’ providing them with a range of helpful resources and information: study and exam skills, peer programs, careers etc.
UG FBE & MUIC
Professional staff
FBE
First Step Mentoring
Face to face
An academic to student mentoring initiative.
http://www.businessandeconomics.mq.edu.au/current_students/undergraduate/mentoring/fbe_first_step_mentoring_program
PROPOSED: in 2017, a program with the Alumni Office will be piloted for PG and UG students (in their penultimate / final year of study) in FBE.
UG
1st year FBE / MUIC students
Professional staff
FBE
Lucy Mentoring
Face to face
A leadership program for female students in FBE.
http://www.businessandeconomics.mq.edu.au/current_students/undergraduate/mentoring/lucy_mentoring_program
UG
2nd year female FBE students
Professional staff
FBE
Study Coaching
Face to face
1:1 coaching on time management, study planning, increasing and maintaining motivation, and beating procrastination.
UG
1st year FBE students
Professional staff
FBE
Academic mentors
Face to face
Pilot 2016: An academic to student mentoring initiative.
UG
1st year FoHS students
Academic staff
FoSH
Arts101
Online
An iLearn unit for students to access a range of information to guide self-help. 
https://teche.ltc.mq.edu.au/arts/arts-101-how-to-be-a-successful-student/
UG Arts & MUIC
Professional staff
Arts
Program and Academic Advisers
Face to face & online
Many ‘program’ enquiries can now be handled by all staff within student centers. Only when queries are more complicated in nature are they referred to  academic advisers.
All students.
Professional and academic staff
Faculties, the College & Student Connect
FILT & TIP
Face to face & online
Provision of learning and teaching practice training and advice for new teachers / dissemination of knowledge and skills to enable them to operate as effective teachers.
http://staff.mq.edu.au/teaching/workshops_programs/
Academic staff and students (often PG) employed as tutors.
Professional and academic staff
Faculties & LIH
Central-level
Macquarie University Mentors
Face to face
A peer support program that provides support and guidance to new students.
http://mq.edu.au/transition/
UG
1st year - transition
Every session - OWeek
Orientation Program Manager & qualified students.
PVC L&T
Learning Skills Workshops
Face to face
A series of academic learning and language workshops that cover:
1. study essentials
2. assignment writing
3. effective referencing
4. academic language.
Details and current program available at: http://bit.ly/1w8fUfihttp://bit.ly/1w8fUfi
http://bit.ly/1w8fUfi
1. All coursework students — academic success
2. Sessions 1 & 2
3. Weeks 1-3; mid-session break; and Week 10.
Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Carol Floyd,
Learning Adviser
Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library
Learning Skills
Online
e-Consultations
Receive advice from a Learning Adviser via email: learningskills@mq.edu.au
http://www.students.mq.edu.au/support/learning_skills/
1. All UG & PG coursework students — academic success
2. Emails answered within 24hrs Monday-Friday year round
Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library
StudyWISE
Online
An academic literacy iLearn unit specifically created to help students:
1. manage their studies
2. strengthen their study techniques
3. write effective assignments
4. improve their English language proficiency.
 
Access via: http://bit.ly/1TQiej9http://bit.ly/1TQiej9
1. All commencing students automatically enrolled — transition & academic success
2. Available 24/7/365
Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Vanessa Todd &
Robyn Westcott,
Learning Advisers
Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library
MacquarieWISE
Face to face
An intensive academic preparation workshop for commencing international students.
1. Commencing international students —transition
2. Sessions 1 & 2; Week 0-1
Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Carol Floyd & Robyn Westcott,
Learning Advisers
Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library
WriteWISE
Face to face and online
A pilot program to train student writers to provide one-on-one support to their peers, both on-campus and online.  
1. Commencing students — academic success
2. Pilot program running in S2, 2016
3. Support delivered at events in Week 0-1 & in conjunction with selected UG units throughout S2
Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Robyn Westcott,
Project Manager
Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library
Academic Integrity Module for Students
Online
An iLearn unit to help students understand:
1. what "academic integrity" is and why it's important
2. acceptable and unacceptable academic behaviours at university
3. what 'plagiarism' is and key strategies to avoid it
4. responsibilities in relation to academic integrity and student rights under the Macquarie University Academic Honesty Policy.
Access via: http://bit.ly/1Ahk3u3
http://bit.ly/1Ahk3u3
1. All commencing students enrolled automatically — academic success
2. Available 24/7/365
Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library
GetWISE
Face to face
A HEPPP pilot program that introduces students from equity backgrounds to the expectations and skills necessary to support retention, active participation and academic success.
The program is only open to students who self-identify as meeting two or more of the following criteria:
1. financial and social hardship
2. NESB
3. refugee background or hold a permanent humanitarian visa
4. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
1. Commencing students — transition
2. Pilot program running in S2, 2016
3. Initial intensive session: “WISE-Up” (scheduled in Week 0-1)
+ GetWISE Workshops (6 x 1hr weekly workshops in Weeks 1-6)
+ “WISE-Up  & Write” (assignment bootcamp in mid-session break)
Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Ann Walker, Learning Adviser
Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library
InfoWISE
Online
An iLearn unit to help students develop information literacy skills.
http://teche.ltc.mq.edu.au/arts/get-your-search-skills-sorted-with-infowise/
1. All students
2. Available 24/7/365
MQ Library
Susan Vickery
CareerWISE
Online
An iLearn unit to help students develop their professional aspirations and plan their future career.
1. All students
2. Available 24/7/365
Careers and Employment Service
Julie Doherty
MindWISE
Online
PROPOSED: An iLearn unit to help students develop habits that promote self-care and increase cognitive and emotional resilience.
1. All students
2. Available 24/7/365
Campus Wellbeing
Ben Wilkes
Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme for Indigenous students
Face to face
Commonwealth-funded program that aims to improve the educational outcomes of Indigenous students in tertiary courses to the same levels as those for non‐Indigenous Australians.
http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/faculties_and_departments/faculty_of_arts/department_of_indigenous_studies/current-students/student_support/itas/
College, UG & PG transition
Academic staff and qualified students.
Walanga Muru
Accessibility Coaching
Face to face
Provision of academic and organisational skills with specific reference to managing a disability throughout study
College, UG & PG transition
Professional staff
Campus Wellbeing
MGSM Study Ready
Face to face & online
Induction program designed to introduce students to the School environment and prepare them for postgraduate study. The day includes; teamwork exercises, an explanation on how to use the online library and research effectively.
PG
Professional staff
MGSM
HDR / MRES Mentoring
Face to face & online
Peer to peer platform to support and enhance the research quality, capability and experience of the HDR students.
http://www.hdr.mq.edu.au/information_for/HDR_support_and_development/hdr_mentors/about
PG
 Professional staff & students.
HDR
English Language Centre (ELC)
Face to face
Provision of discipline-specific preparation programs for future university students and English language programs.
Students and public
Private provider
ELC
Numeracy Centre
Face to face
free drop-in service, weekly workshops for some first year courses, bridging programs and preparatory courses at the beginning of each semester and some on-line resources.
College, UG & PG
Academic staff
FoSE
Career and Employment Service
Face to face & online
Advice, information and workshops to prepare students for their future career and for employers to access Macquarie graduates.
All students and employers
 Professional staff
PVC L&T

Table 2.3 Student Service Locations

Activity
Format
What it does
Scale basis
Administration
Owner
Faculty / College Admin & Student Centers
Face to face & online
Provision of Faculty / College-specific information, assistance with appeals, reviews or special consideration; assignment submission and coversheets. http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/faculty_admin_student_centres/
All students.
Professional staff
Faculties / the College
Student Connect & MUSE
Face to face & online
Home to the new Student Connect, MUSE also provides an active and social learning space for students.
All students.
Professional staff
Student Connect
Library converged service counter / information desk
Face to face
Supports study needs and provides equitable access to facilities and equipment inc. resources to support learning, teaching and research.
Service providers from across campus can ‘book’ to be at the service desk and address queries from students on a needs basis. A Learning Adviser is available for consultation at the Info Desk in the Library foyer:
1. no appointment required
2. free service
3. consultations are approx. 20 minutes in length.
All students and visitors to the library
  1. All coursework students — academic success
  2. Every weekday (12:00pm-2:00pm) during teaching weeks from Week 3 onward
Professional staff Tessa Green,
LSU Manager
Library Learning Skills Unit, MQ Library

3     NOTES

3.1 Contact Officer Project Manager, Office of the PVC L&T
3.2 Implementation Officer Project Manager, Office of the PVC L&T
3.3 Approval Authority / Authorities Academic Senate
3.4 Date Approved 26 July 2016
3.5 Date of Commencement 26 July 2016
3.6 Date for Review July 2019
3.7 Documents Superseded by this Schedule New
3.8 Amendment History na
3.9 Policy Authorisation PAL/PASS – Peer Assisted Learning and Peer Assisted Study Sessions Policy approved 26 July 2016

Asset ID = 422764

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