Student Program

Summer Courses

Online Summer Courses for High School Students

Overview

Summer at GOA connects students with peers from all over the world, providing meaningful, globally connected learning opportunities with the flexibility to accommodate busy summer schedules.


The dates of GOA's Summer Terms are:

Summer 1: Thursday, June 15 - Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Summer 2: Thursday, July 6 - Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Download the Summer 2023 Student Course Catalog

Summer Courses

GOA’s summer courses offer a unique opportunity for students to learn more about their interests, explore a passion during the summer months, as well as advance in their coursework. This summer, GOA is offering over 20 of its most popular semester courses in an intensive 7-week format for high school students.

Abnormal Psychology

This course provides students with a general introduction to the field of abnormal psychology from a western perspective while exploring the cultural assumptions within the field. Students examine the biopsychosocial aspects of what society considers abnormal while developing an understanding of the stigma often associated with psychological disorders.

Through book study, videos, article reviews, and discussions, students consider how our increasingly global world influences mental health in diverse settings. In learning about the different areas of western abnormal psychology, students study the symptoms, diagnoses, and responses to several specific disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, or schizophrenia.

Students develop an understanding of how challenging it can be to define “normal” as they begin to empathize with those struggling with mental distress. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to attend to their own mental well-being. The course culminates in an independent project where students showcase their learning with the goal of making an impact in their local communities.

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Academic English Accelerator

This program helps English language learners in grades 9-12 improve their academic English. The program adapts to meet students’ needs and goals but is intended for students nearing English proficiency. Students bring work from their courses to language coaching sessions with the instructor. There, they improve their written and oral communication. They submit drafts of writing assignments and record rehearsals of presentations. They also set goals and receive feedback and coaching on their English expression.

When students enroll, GOA requests student scores on any standardized English language proficiency assessment. This determines if the program is the right fit for the student. Most students in this program score at least B1 or B2 on the Common European Framework, or 4 on the WIDA scale. The AEA is not an English grammar course or an introductory academic English course, so in order to benefit from the AEA, students need a level of English proficiency that matches or exceeds the suggested standardized test scores. AEA students are often attending or planning to attend English-only high schools or universities.

Students may enroll in this program during the Summer, Semester 1, Semester 2, or any combination of the three. In the summer, students in this program must be taking another GOA course. In semesters 1 and 2, we recommend students in this program take another GOA course, but we do not require it. This program is not graded.

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Architecture

In this course, students build an understanding of and apply skills in various aspects of architectural design. While gaining key insights into the roles of architectural analysis, materials, 3D design, and spatial awareness, students develop proficiency in architectural visual communication.

The course begins by learning the basic elements of architectural design to help analyze and understand architectural solutions. Through digital and physical media, students develop an understanding of the impact building materials have on design. At each stage of the course, students interact with peers from around the globe, learning and sharing how changes in materials, technology, and construction techniques lead to the evolution of contemporary architectural style and visual culture.

The course culminates with a final project in which each aspiring architect has the opportunity to work toward a personal presentation for the GOA Catalyst Exhibition. Students, through a variety of outcomes, present an architectural intervention that they have proposed as a solution to an identified need, one emanating from or focused within their own community. Throughout the course, students refer to the design process and use techniques to track, reflect, and evidence their understanding of architecture.

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Business Problem Solving

How could climate change disrupt your production and supply chains or impact your consumer markets? Will tariffs help or hurt your business? How embedded is social media in your marketing plan? Is your company vulnerable to cybercrime? What 21st-century skills are you cultivating in your leadership team?

Students in this course tackle real-world problems facing businesses large and small in today’s fast-changing global marketplace where radical reinvention is on the minds of many business leaders. Students work collaboratively and independently on case studies, exploring business issues through varied lenses including operations, marketing, human capital, finance and risk management as well as sustainability. As they are introduced to the concepts and practices of business, students identify, analyze, and propose solutions to business problems, engaging in research of traditional and emerging industries, from established multinationals to startups.

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Computer Science I: Computational Thinking

This course (or its equivalent) is a prerequisite to all Computer Science II classes at GOA. Computational thinking centers on solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior. It has applications not only in computer science but also myriad other fields of study. This introductory-level course focuses on thinking like a computer scientist, especially understanding how computer scientists define and solve problems.

Students begin the course by developing an understanding of what computer science is, how it can be used by people who are not programmers, and why it’s a useful skill for all people to cultivate. Within this context, students are exposed to the power and limits of computational thinking.

Students are introduced to entry-level programming constructs that help them apply their knowledge of computational thinking in practical ways. They learn how to read code and pseudocode as well as begin to develop strategies for debugging programs. By developing computational thinking and programming skills, students will have the core knowledge to define and solve problems in future computer science courses.

While this course would be beneficial for any student without formal training as a programmer or computer scientist, it is intended for those with no programming experience.

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Computer Science II: Analyzing Data with Python

In this course, students utilize the Python programming language to read, analyze, and visualize data. The course emphasizes using real-world datasets, which are often large, messy, and inconsistent. Because of the powerful data structures and clear syntax of Python, it is one of the most widely used programming languages in scientific computing.

Students explore the multitude of practical applications of Python in fields like biology, engineering, and statistics.

Prerequisite: Computer Science I: Computational Thinking or its equivalent

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Computer Science II: Java

This course teaches students how to write programs in the Java programming language. Java is the backbone of many web applications, especially eCommerce and government sites. It is also the foundational code of the Android operating system and many tools of the financial sector.

Students learn the major syntactical elements of the Java language through object-oriented design. The emphasis in the course is on creating intelligent systems through the fundamentals of Computer Science. Students write working programs through short lab assignments and more extended projects that incorporate graphics and animation.

Prerequisite: Computer Science I: Computational Thinking or its equivalent

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Creative Nonfiction Writing

Tell your own stories and the stories of the world around you! This course centers on the art of shaping real experiences into powerful narratives while growing foundational writing skills. Participants read, examine, and write diverse works of creative nonfiction including personal narratives, podcasts, opinion editorials, profile pieces, and more.

Emphasizing process over product, this writing workshop provides opportunities to create in new ways. Students practice essential craft elements (e.g., voice, style, structure) while reflecting on stories from their own lives, communities, and interests. They also build a personalized library of inspiring mentor texts, consider opportunities for publication, and develop sustainable writing habits.

Both in real-time video chats and online discussion spaces, students support one another intentionally. Feedback is an essential component of this course, and students gain experience in the workshop model, actively participating in a thriving, global writing community. Creative nonfiction has never been as popular as it is today; participants experience its relevance in their own lives as they collaboratively explore this dynamic genre.

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Cybersecurity

Cyber criminals leverage technology and human behavior to attack our online security. This course explores the fundamentals of and vulnerabilities in the design of computers, networks, and the internet. Course content includes the basics of computer components, connectivity, virtualization, and hardening.

Students learn about network design, Domain Name Services, and TCP/IP. They will understand switching, routing, and access control for internet devices, and how denial of service, spoofing, and flood attacks work. Basic programming introduced in the course will inform hashing strategies, while an introduction to ciphers and cryptography will show how shared-key encryption works for HTTPS and TLS traffic.

Students also explore the fundamentals of data forensics and incident response protocols. The course includes analysis of current threats and best-practice modeling for cyber defense, including password complexity, security, management, breach analysis, and hash cracking. Computational thinking and programming skills developed in this course will help students solve a variety of cybersecurity issues.

There is no computer science prerequisite for this course, though students with some background will certainly find avenues to flex their knowledge.

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Digital Photography

In an era where everyone has become a photographer obsessed with documenting most aspects of life, we swim in a sea of images posted on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other digital media. To that end, why is learning how to use a digital camera important and what does taking a powerful and persuasive photo with a 35mm digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera require?

Digital Photography explores this question in a variety of ways, beginning with the technical aspects of using and taking advantage of a powerful camera and then moving to a host of creative questions and opportunities. Technical topics such as aperture, shutter, white balance, and resolution get ample coverage in the first half of the course, yet each is pursued with the goal of enabling students to leverage the possibilities that come with manual image capture. Once confident about technical basics, students apply their skills when pursuing creative questions such as how to understand and use light, how to consider composition, and how to take compelling portraits.

Throughout the course, students tackle projects that enable sharing their local and diverse settings, ideally creating global perspectives through doing so. Additionally, students interact with each other often through critique sessions and collaborative exploration of the work of many noteworthy professional photographers whose images serve to inspire and suggest the diverse ways that photography tells visual stories.

Prerequisite: Students must have daily access to a DSLR camera.

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Fiction Writing

This course connects students interested in creative writing (primarily short fiction) and provides a space for supportive and constructive feedback. Students gain experience in the workshop model, learning how to effectively critique and discuss one another’s writing in an online environment. In addition to developing skills as readers within a workshop setting, students strive to develop their own writing identities through a variety of exercises.

The course capitalizes on the geographic diversity of the students by eliciting stories that shed light on both the commonalities and differences of life experiences in different locations. Additionally, students read and discuss the work of authors from around the globe.

Students’ essential responsibilities are twofold: to engage in the class as readers and writers and to focus on their development as readers and writers. Both require participation in discussions of various formats within the course’s online community, as well as dedicated time outside of class reading and providing feedback on one another’s work as well as writing original pieces for the workshop.

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Genocide & Human Rights

Students in this course study several of the major 20th-century genocides (Armenian, the Holocaust, Cambodian, and Rwandan), analyze the role of the international community in responding to and preventing further genocide (with particular attention to the Nuremberg tribunals), and examine current human rights crises around the world.

Students read primary and secondary sources, participate in both synchronous and asynchronous discussions with classmates, write brief papers, read short novels, watch documentaries, and develop a human rights report card website about a nation of their choice.

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Geometry

This intensive summer course is designed to provide an accelerated path through the traditional high school geometry curriculum. Focusing on Euclidian geometry, students examine topics relating to parallel lines, similar and congruent triangles, quadrilaterals, polygons, and circles.

Students can expect to analyze lengths, areas, and volumes of two- and three-dimensional figures and explore transformations and other manipulations. Particular attention is paid to introductory trigonometry with right triangles and the study of circles (radians, sectors, arc length, etc). In addition, the development of a mature, logical thought process will begin through a formal introduction to arguments, deductions, theorems, and proofs.

Because this course covers topics that are typically presented in a yearlong course, students should expect to dedicate 15-20 hours per week during the intensive seven-week summer session.

Prerequisite: A strong background in Algebra 1 or its equivalent

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Health & Fitness

In this course, students take a comprehensive look at multiple factors that influence our bodies over a lifetime to maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. Students gain physical literacy by identifying, applying, analyzing, and evaluating components of fitness, exercise (FITT) principles, principles of training, phases of movement, and athletic performance.

Students set personal improvement goals for both fitness and movement skills utilizing baseline testing and performance analysis. Each week students complete a variety of physical exercises to target specific areas of fitness and movement to assist in achieving their goals. Reflection and feedback will inform students regarding their improvement.

The course culminates in a student-led project where students explore, synthesize, and implement an exercise- or sport-specific topic that directly impacts their lives. Topics of exploration include but are not limited to: nutrition in sport, exercise psychology or mental health in sport, sport exploration for the lifetime, exercise science or sport-specific performance and biomechanics, careers in sport, and community-based improvement design and implementation.

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How to Argue Well

This course, which teaches critical-thinking skills through argument mapping, offers students the opportunity to make a significant intellectual leap and improve not only their performance in school but also their ability to engage in productive arguments.

When your teachers push you to “be more specific” or ask, “Where is your evidence?” or say you need more “analysis,” they are highlighting your need to improve your critical-thinking skills. Research has measured argument mapping as being a more effective learning tool than a semester at college when it comes to developing these skills, and it is this skill set that best predicts one’s performance in school and one’s performance on standardized tests, as well.

Further, bad arguments are what give arguments a bad name. We live in a world of polarized communications where name-calling, emotion, and blurred lines between fact and fiction result in arguments based on extreme opinions that eclipse reason. The problem is not that we are arguing: the problem is that we do not know how to engage in arguments using logic and reasoning. These skills — the bedrock of critical thinking — give people the ability to argue thoughtfully and effectively. Good arguments are illuminating, generative, and compelling.

This course teaches students how to master and deploy critical-thinking skills to think independently; improve academic performance across disciplines; create, assess, and engage thoughtfully in arguments; and successfully forge community in the process.

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International Relations

Are China and the U.S. on a collision course for war? Can the Israelis and Palestinians find a two-state solution in the holy land? Will North Korea launch a nuclear weapon? Can India and Pakistan share the subcontinent in peace? These questions dominate global headlines and our daily news feeds.

In this course, students go beyond soundbites and menacing headlines to explore the context, causes, and consequences of the most pressing global issues of our time. Through case studies, students explore the dynamics of international relations and the complex interplay of war and peace, conflict and cooperation, and security and human rights. Working with classmates from around the world, students also identify and model ways to prevent, mediate, and resolve some of the most pressing global conflicts.

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Introduction to Legal Thinking

Inspired by GOA’s popular Medical Problem Solving series, this course uses a case-based approach to give students a practical look into the professional lives of lawyers and legal thinking. By studying and debating a series of real legal cases, students sharpen their ability to think like lawyers who research, write, and speak persuasively.

The course focuses on problems that lawyers encounter in daily practice, and on the rules of professional conduct case law. In addition to practicing writing legal briefs, advising fictional clients and preparing opening and closing statements for trial, students approach such questions as the law and equity, the concept of justice, jurisprudence, and legal ethics.

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Introduction to Psychology

What does it mean to think like a psychologist? In Introduction to Psychology, students explore three central psychological perspectives — the behavioral, the cognitive, and the sociocultural — in order to develop a multifaceted understanding of what thinking like a psychologist encompasses. The additional question of “How do psychologists put what they know into practice?” informs study of the research methods in psychology, the ethics surrounding them, and the application of those methods to practice.

During the first five units of the course, students gather essential information that they apply during a group project on the unique characteristics of adolescent psychology. Students similarly envision a case study on depression, which enables application of understandings from the first five units. The course concludes with a unit on positive psychology, which features current positive psychology research on living mentally healthy lives.

Throughout the course, students collaborate on a variety of activities and assessments, which often enable learning about each other’s unique perspectives, while building their research and critical-thinking skills in service of understanding the complex field of psychology.

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Investing I

This course is a prerequisite to Investing II at GOA. In this course, students simulate the work of investors by working with the tools, theories, and decision-making practices that define smart investment. Students explore concepts in finance and apply them to investment decisions in three primary contexts: portfolio management, venture capital, and social investing.

After an introduction to theories about valuation and risk management, students simulate scenarios in which they must make decisions to grow an investment portfolio. They manage investments in stocks, bonds, and options to learn a range of strategies for increasing the value of their portfolios. In the second unit, students take the perspective of venture capital investors, analyzing startup companies and predicting their value before they become public. In the third unit, students examine case studies of investment funds that apply the tools of finance to power social change.

Throughout the course, students learn from experts who have experience in identifying value and managing risk in global markets. They develop their own ideas about methods for weighing financial risks and benefits and leave this course not just with a simulated portfolio of investments, but the skills necessary to manage portfolios in the future.

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Medical Problem Solving I

This course is a prerequisite to Medical Problem Solving II at GOA. In this course, students collaboratively solve medical mystery cases, similar to the approach used in many medical schools. Students enhance their critical-thinking skills as they examine data, draw conclusions, diagnose, and identify appropriate treatment for patients.

Students use problem-solving techniques in order to understand and appreciate relevant medical/biological facts as they confront the principles and practices of medicine. Students explore anatomy and physiology pertaining to medical scenarios and gain an understanding of the disease process, demographics of disease, and pharmacology. Additional learning experiences include studying current issues in health and medicine, interviewing a patient, and creating a new mystery case.

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Microeconomics

In this course, students learn about how consumers and producers interact to form a market and then how and why the government may intervene in that market. Students deepen their understanding of basic microeconomic theory through class discussion and debate, problem solving, and written reflection.

Students visit a local production site and write a report using the market principles they have learned. Economic ways of thinking about the world help them better understand their roles as consumers and workers, and someday, as voters and producers.

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Personal Finance

In this course, students learn financial responsibility and social consciousness. They examine a wide array of topics including personal budgeting, credit cards and credit scores, career and earning potential, insurance, real estate, financial investment, retirement savings, charitable giving, taxes, and other items related to personal finance.

Students apply their understanding of these topics by simulating real-life financial circumstances and weighing the costs and benefits of their decisions. Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to learn from individuals with varying perspectives and expertise in numerous fields. By reflecting on their roles in the broader economy as both producers and consumers, students begin to consider how they can positively impact the world around them through their financial decisions.

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Precalculus

In this intensive summer course, students deepen and apply their understanding of mathematics in order to be prepared for higher-level courses. The emphasis is on understanding functions, including transformations, domain/range, and visual representations. In addition, students deepen their understanding of the concept of equivalence through numerical, graphical, and algebraic representations. This includes developing fluency with algebraic manipulation.

Much of the work involves problem solving and the application of previous and current skills to new situations. Projects include opportunities to apply topics such as polynomials, matrices, trigonometry, and sequences and series to real-world scenarios. Students analyze situations, create models, develop solutions to problems, and then reflect on this work. The course culminates in a project that provides students a chance to explore a situation and bring to bear the skills they have learned to analyze it and present their understanding of the situation.

This course is intended for students who are looking to accelerate through a Precalculus course and, as such, concepts and topics are presented quickly allowing for time to apply the skills to novel situations. This course replicates what is typically a yearlong course, so students should expect to dedicate 15-20 hours per week during the seven-week summer session.

Prerequisite: Algebra 2 or its equivalent

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Problem Solving with Engineering & Design

This course investigates various topics in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics using a series of projects and problems that are both meaningful and relevant to students’ lives. Students develop engineering skills, including design principles, modeling, and presentations, using a variety of computer hardware and software applications to complete assignments and projects.

This is a course that focuses on practical applications of science and mathematics to solve real-world issues. Project-based learning, working in collaborative teams, and designing prototypes are essential components of the course. Throughout the program, students step into the varied roles engineers play in our society, solve problems in their homes and communities, discover new career paths and possibilities, and develop engineering knowledge and skills.

There are no particular math or science prerequisites for this course, just an interest in using STEM to solve problems and a desire to learn!

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Religion & Society

Religion is one of the most salient forces in contemporary society but is also one of the most misunderstood. What exactly is religion? How does religious identity inform the ways humans understand themselves and the world around them? How can increased levels of religious literacy help us become more effective civic agents in the world today?

Students in this course conduct several deep dives into specific case studies in order to understand how religious identity intersects with various systems of power, including race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and ethnicity. By engaging with material from a variety of academic fields (history, sociology, anthropology, and psychology), students grapple with the complex ways in which society and religious identity relate to one another.

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Spanish Language Through Culture I

This intensive summer course gives students with no prior exposure to Spanish the vocabulary, grammatical background, and communicative skills that they need to jump into Spanish 2 at their schools.

This course replicates what is typically a yearlong course, so students should expect to dedicate 15-20 hours per week during the seven-week summer session. Please note, this course is not recommended for those wanting a light introductory course to get a taste of Spanish before deciding if they want to study it further, nor for those wanting to get a jumpstart for a Spanish 1 course during the academic year.

In this course, students master greetings and introductions, question formation, describing daily routines, expressing likes and dislikes, describing familiar people and places, and other fundamental communicative functions. Students learn to communicate using common regular and irregular verbs in the present tense and the immediate future. Students also develop a broad-based vocabulary related to common settings including school and the classroom, home and family life, and others.

The primary focus of the course is to develop novice interpersonal and presentational speaking and comprehension skills. Through interacting with classmates and instructors, students practice their budding language skills in a self-paced online environment. Video calls in pairs or small groups occur one or two times a week and are a required course component. They are comparable to the practical lab component of a science course because students speak Spanish with each other and the instructor while immediately observing and reacting to the results of their efforts to communicate.

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Most of these summer courses cover a semester's worth of material and expect a 10-12 hour per week commitment from students. For Geometry, Precalculus, or Spanish Language Through Culture I, which are designed to replace yearlong high school courses, students should expect to dedicate 15-20 hours per week. All courses listed above are offered in both Summer 1 and Summer 2 terms, except Spanish Language Through Culture 1. Course enrollment for summer will open on January 15, 2023.

Global online learning that matters

At GOA, online learning is not about video-watching and quiz-taking. Learning at GOA is about relevant, hands-on ideas and coursework. Students log in multiple times a week to join discussions, work together on projects, and design their own ways to show their learning.

GOA courses are primarily asynchronous, meaning that students do not need to attend pre-determined class meeting times. Instead, teachers design and publish coursework and calendars, and students can, within that framework, work on their own schedules.

Ready to register? Enrollment Opens Jan. 15, 2023
online high school courses for high school students

Small, engaging online courses

Our small online summer high school classes are guided by expert teachers, many from GOA member schools. Students come from many different schools and share a passion for the subject. They build relationships with teachers and classmates through frequent, mostly asynchronous discussions and collaboration.

Frequently Asked Questions
Online Classes for International Students

What people are saying

  • I took Micro­eco­nom­ics and had so much fun. I loved get­ting to know peo­ple I prob­a­bly would have nev­er have crossed paths with oth­er­wise. I liked being com­plete­ly in charge of my learn­ing and hav­ing a sense of inde­pen­dence but also know­ing that my teacher was there to help if I need­ed it.” Alex Student, Head-Royce School
  • Med­ical Prob­lem Solv­ing 1 was the first GOA course I’d ever tak­en. I was able to con­nect with peers liv­ing all over the world and learn about the dif­fer­ences in health­care from every­body’s first­hand experience…Not only did I fur­ther my under­stand­ing of anato­my and biol­o­gy of the human body, I learned even more impor­tant lessons in empathy.” Sanya Student, Buckingham Browne & Nichols School
  • My daugh­ter loved her GOA class. She found it to be very rig­or­ous, which was exact­ly what she was hop­ing for in this class. Her teacher was in a dif­fer­ent coun­try and class­mates were around the world. To learn from and col­lab­o­rate with peo­ple from all over the world was an amaz­ing experience.” Erin O'Neill Parent

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