Online Colleges for Information Technology

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Methodology

To be included in these rankings, all colleges had to meet the following criteria for the specific subject being ranked:

  1. Offer an undergraduate degree (either associate or bachelor's) in that subject online
  2. Have awarded at least one degree or certificate in that subject in 2015-16

Once we had our list of schools for each subject, we ranked them on five criteria:

  1. In-state tuition, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  2. Graduation rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  3. Accessibility, based on the admissions rate, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  4. Program prominence, based on how many of the degrees and certificates awarded in 2015-16 were in this particular subject, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16
  5. Related subjects, based on the number of similar topics for programs in relevant CIP codes that are offered at any level, National Center for Education Statistics, 2015-16

Methodology Sources

  • Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

Sources:

  1. Online Degree Programs, Bladen Community College, Accessed February 2017, http://www.bladencc.edu/distance-learning/course-deliveries/
  2. Information Technology Tracks, Guilford Technical Community College, Accessed February 2017, http://degreeprograms.gtcc.edu/information-technologies-track/#toggle-id-1
  3. Programs Available Online, Craven Community College, Accessed February 2017, http://cravencc.edu/distance-learning/programs-available-online/
  4. Distance Learning, Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology, Accessed February 2017, http://go.osuit.edu/academics/information_technologies/it_distance_learning
  5. Online Degrees, Trident University International, Accessed February 2017, https://www.trident.edu/online-degrees/
  6. Degree and Certificate Programs, Northern Virginia Community College, Accessed February 2017, http://eli.nvcc.edu/degrees.htm
  7. Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, National American University, Accessed February 2017, http://www.national.edu/program-page-auto/?Campus_ID=20&Program_ID=51&Tuition_ID=1&school=1&degree=3
  8. Interested in Earning an Online Degree? George Mason University, Accessed February 2017, https://masononline.gmu.edu/programs-courses/all-programs/
  9. Information Technology Degrees, Colorado Technical University, Accessed February 2017, http://www.coloradotech.edu/degrees/studies/information-systems-and-technology
  10. Online Programs of Study, College of Southern Maryland, Accessed February 2017, http://www.csmd.edu/programs-courses/credit/flexible-learning-options/online-learning/
  11. http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Software_Engineer/Salary
  12. https://www.glassdoor.com/Job/software-engineer-jobs-SRCH_KO0,17.htm
  13. https://careers.google.com/jobs#t=sq&q=j&li=20&l=false&jc=SOFTWARE_ENGINEERING&jcoid=7c8c6665-81cf-4e11-8fc9-ec1d6a69120c&jcoid=e43afd0d-d215-45db-a154-5386c9036525&
  14. http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Applications_Engineer/Salary
  15. https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/applications-engineer-salary-SRCH_KO0,21.htm
  16. http://money.cnn.com/pf/best-jobs/2012/snapshots/34.html
  17. https://www.recruiter.com/careers/information-security-analysts/
  18. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/information-security-analysts.htm
  19. https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1122.00
  20. https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1121.00
  21. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-systems-analysts.htm
  22. https://www.recruiter.com/careers/computer-systems-analysts/
  23. Online Information Technology Bachelor's Degree, U.S. News & Wold Report, Accesssed August 2017, https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/information-technology-bachelors-degree
  24. Online Information Technology Master's Degree, U.S. News & Wold Report, Accesssed August 2017, https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/information-technology-masters-degree
  25. University of Maryland University College Graduate Catalog, Accessed August 2017, http://www.umuc.edu/documents/upload/graduate-catalog-2017-18.pdf
  26. Doctor of Information Technology, Walden University, Accessed August 2017, https://www.waldenu.edu/doctoral/doctor-of-information-technology/career-options
  27. Degrees Online, University of Toledo, Accessed June 2018, http://www.utoledo.edu/online-degree-programs/programs/
  28. Explore Online and Campus Degree Programs, Purdue University Global, Accessed June 2018, https://www.salemu.edu/
  29. Information Technology, Salem University, Accessed June 2018, https://www.salemu.edu/degrees/associate-information-technology/
  30. Information Technology Support, Ivy Tech Community College, Accessed June 2018, https://www.ivytech.edu/information-technology-support/index.html
  31. Liberty University's Online Academic Programs, Accessed June 2018, https://www.liberty.edu/online/programs/
  32. Online Degrees, Monroe College, Accessed June 2018, https://www.monroecollege.edu/Online/Online-Degrees/
  33. Online Programs, University of South Florida, Accessed June 2018, http://www.usf.edu/innovative-education/programs/online-programs/
  34. "Purdue Acquires For Profit Kaplan University," Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, April 27, 2017, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/04/27/purdue-acquires-for-profit-kaplan-university/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.e6e5fc668a2d
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The discipline of information technology can encompass everything from circuits and microprocessors to advanced cloud-based networks to the mathematical logic behind programming languages. Depending on the IT specialization students choose to study, courses might cover network protocols, hardware and software design, computer theory, advanced mathematics or information systems, just to name a few. There's a fascinating breadth of information available in IT, and learning about it can lead to almost as wide a breadth of different careers in the field.

Best Online Colleges for Information Technology in 2018

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Plenty of schools offer online information technology degree programs, but that doesn't mean they are all the same. If you're looking for an online IT degree program, you are probably looking for the program that can be best for you. To help you find the school that can best suit your needs, we've analyzed data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to put together this ranking of the 10 best online colleges for information technology. Using our unique methodology, which weighs data points such as the percentage of degrees awarded in IT and the school's in-state tuition costs, we have striven to create a ranking suited to the online and nontraditional student. (For more details, see the bottom of this page.)

1

Kaplan University-Omaha Campus

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$15,352
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
90%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
103
School Type
4-year

Kaplan University, which merged with Purdue University in a 2017 acquisition, is now known as Purdue University Global. The school has three online degree programs in information technology available -- one each at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels.

The online associate program and the online master's program have multiple areas of concentration to choose from, including programming and software development or information security and assistance. The bachelor's program, however, is special: it can be taken in a traditional format or as an ExcelTrack, an option that allows students to approach the program using competency-based learning.

2

University of South Florida-Main Campus

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,410
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
51%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
24
School Type
4-year

At the University of South Florida, students interested in information technology have the opportunity to enroll in an online bachelor's degree program in IT, or a hybrid-format master's degree program in IT. The school's master's degree program does not require a thesis for completion, but is instead completed by taking a comprehensive exam the semester before graduation.

There is an additional benefit for students who would be interested in taking the school's Bachelor of Science in computer engineering degree program. Students in this program who are performing exceptionally well may be offered the option to accelerate into and through the master's in IT by taking two courses from the master's in IT curriculum as electives during their bachelor's program.

Accreditation:

  • Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
3

Liberty University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$21,292
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
89%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
92
School Type
4-year

At the private, nonprofit Liberty University, online information technology degree programs are available at both the bachelor's and master's levels, with courses delivered in an eight-week format.

The online bachelor's in IT program offers four areas of specialization, including gaming design. Meanwhile, the focus of the master's program is software design and management. Courses are delivered in an eight-week format for all specializations, and a capstone project may be required.

Credit hours from other schools may be accepted for transfer into Liberty University's IT degree programs at either the bachelor's or master's degree level.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
4

Ivy Tech Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,175
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
44%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
39
School Type
2-year

Ivy Tech Community College -- Indiana's only full-fledged community college as of 2018 -- has multiple online programs available in the field of information technology:

  • An online certificate program for IT support
  • An online certificate program for IT help desk
  • An online technical certificate program for IT support, which requires more coursework than the regular certificates but also offers a more comprehensive, career-focused foundation in IT
  • An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program for IT support, which covers topics such as enterprise computing and database design management

Additionally, this community college has articulation agreements with many different four-year colleges in the state, which can be very helpful for a student who's looking to transfer into a bachelor's program after finishing at Ivy Tech.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
5

Craven Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,053
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
73%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
22
School Type
2-year

Craven Community College has many ways of helping an online student who is looking to study information technology. The school operates on an open admissions policy, making it accessible to any applicant who has earned a high school diploma or a GED certificate, and offers academic assistance for distance learners, including online tutorials on their learning management system, Moodle. The online IT offerings at the college include:

  • Associate in Applied Science in information technology -- Support Services
  • Diploma in information technology -- Data Support
  • Diploma in information technology -- Office Support
  • Diploma in information technology -- Software and Web Development
  • Multiple online certificate programs -- accounting tech, Java programming, web development specialist, etc.

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges

Location:

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
6

University of Toledo

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$9,547
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
37%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
45
School Type
4-year

Students interested in obtaining an education in information technology in a timely manner may want to look into the University of Toledo. This public, nonprofit school offers an online associate degree program in information services and support. Core coursework for this program includes Visual Basic programming, computer concepts and computer hardware, as well as many other courses. Students also have several choices for electives as the end of their first and second years.

Online students in need of assistance have access to various resources that may be able to find the help they need, including the UT eLibrary, eTutoring and the IT Help Desk. The university also maintains the UT Online/Learning Ventures department, which is solely dedicated to supporting online students.

Accreditation:

  • Higher Learning Commission
7

Monroe College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$14,460
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
25%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16
School Type
4-year

Founded in New York in 1933, the for-profit Monroe College offers campus-based and distance learning options in many different fields. This includes both an associate and a bachelor's degree program in computer information systems (CIS). Students of these programs are expected to complete coursework in subjects such as computer hardware, computer software, databases and network security. An internship and a senior project may be required for the bachelor's program.

Students transferring to Monroe may be able to transfer in credits for multiple accomplishments, such as prior education, military experience, work experience and credit by examination. Consider contacting Monroe's online student services to learn more about what you may be able to transfer to the school.

Accreditation:

  • Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools
8

College of Southern Maryland

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,288
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
43%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
16
School Type
2-year

This regional community college cares about giving their students options for how to learn. Amongst their flexible learning options are options for service learning (where credit is earned towards a degree program by performing community service,) travel study (where a student studies abroad,) cooperative education (where students earn credit by working for cooperating employers,) and, of course, online study, which includes various programs in information technology:

  • Associate in Applied Science in computer information systems
  • Associate in Applied Science in information services technology
  • Associate in Applied Science in information services technology: web developer concentration
  • Certificate in information services technology

Accreditation:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Maryland Higher Education Commission

Location:

8730 Mitchell Rd.
La Plata, MD 20646
9

George Mason University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$11,300
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
25%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
23
School Type
4-year
In partnership with Old Dominion University, George Mason University has started the Online Virginia Network (OVN). This initiative has the goal of helping adult learners who have not completed a bachelor's degree to complete their degrees online. Through the OVN, online programs from both GMU and ODU are available to students, as is a cost calculator to help students estimate the cost of their education. With the help of the OVN, GMU students can pursue the following programs in IT:
  • Bachelor of Science in information technology
  • Bachelor of Science in information technology (degree completion program)
  • Master of Science in applied information technology with a cybersecurity concentration

Accreditation:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Location:

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
10

Salem International University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$14,600
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
100%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
18
School Type
4-year

An online associate in information technology degree program is available to students interested in enrolling at Salem International University, a for-profit university located in West Virginia. The program is tailored toward students who are working full-time; it offers continuous enrollment, and courses are delivered in a monthly format, lasting for four weeks each. In fact, Salem U's online associate in IT program can be completed in as little as 20 months. In addition, while the program can be taken 100 percent online, students are also able to take some of the major courses on-campus if they would prefer a hybrid format for their degree program.

Degree Overview: Information Technology

From analyzing and designing systems, to managing databases and creating network architecture, information technology programs help offer the foundation needed for the wide world of computer-focused careers. Since the field is so wide-ranging, it can be difficult to know what to expect from an IT degree program; to help dispel that mystery, this section will detail some of the courses common to online IT degree programs, as well as the important skills those courses may impart.

Online Information Technology Courses

Information technology students take a variety of coursework in both development and administration to help them become well-rounded professionals who can both create and manage. To provide a strong basis for an associate or bachelor's degree in this field, the most common course requirements include:

  • Computer programming
  • Database management
  • Systems analysis and design
  • Information security
  • Networking standards and protocols

If you have a particular affinity for a particular aspect of information technology, you may want to consider looking into a concentration for your degree. Concentrations for an undergraduate program might be offered in areas of specialization such as:

  • Cybersecurity
  • Network administration
  • Web and applications development
  • Information systems management

Master's programs in IT usually delve a bit deeper into the topics already explored in bachelor's degree, with advanced courses in analytics, cloud computing, operating systems, computer simulation and more. Advanced IT degree programs will also typically offer specializations, much like undergraduate programs. Examples of such specializations include:

  • Database systems technology
  • Homeland security management
  • Informatics
  • Software engineering
  • Telecommunications management

As it is not uncommon for graduate students to be pursuing their master's degrees in order to further their careers, a master's IT student may want to consider taking some additional courses to supplement the career they would like to attain. For example, a student hoping to grow into a technology management and administrator role may be wise to look into courses on organizational theory, financial decision-making and managerial decision-making.

For those seeking to push their studies even further, doctorate programs in information technology are available. These intensive programs typically include a great deal of research, leadership simulation, mentoring, and advanced development of decision-making and strategy skills. However, earning such a degree could prove instrumental in helping a graduate to merit a high-level management or strategist position.

Career-Related Skills to Develop

With IT professionals being employed in virtually every industry, the skills learned in an online information technology degree program can afford graduates great flexibility in the job force. Perhaps the most obvious skill set that an information technology curriculum can provide to students is the actual technical knowledge of IT systems, from software to applications to languages to networks. As the primary components of careers in the IT industry, it's only to be expected that learning to use them is going to be a pronounced feature of an IT degree program.

Secondary to the technical chops, but just as important, is the ability to apply that knowledge using problem solving skills. Being a computer whiz is fantastic, but being able to step away from the screen to brainstorm an appropriate solution — perhaps with a healthy dose of critical thinking from your own head, perhaps by using verbal or written communication to collaborate with other team members — will make you a valuable asset to any organization.

Finally, it's necessary to practice keen attention to detail (just ask anyone tasked to read lines of code all day), as well as the ability to shift gears and multitask between projects.

Information Technology Career Outlook

Computers have infiltrated the majority of workplaces in the world, meaning that all those workplaces need IT experts to keep them updated and running. If you're looking for job security, you could do much worse than looking into the following careers.

Software Engineers
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$111,780
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
32,700
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
10.8
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Software engineers are an integral part of the software manufacturing process, as they work closely with developers, programmers and coders to bring a program idea to life. Their job duties include writing and debugging software applications; testing programs and making necessary modifications; and ensuring that the work is in compliance with product specifications.

Generally, those who want to get started in software engineer careers must earn a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or computer science, although some companies prefer to hire people with advanced degrees. In addition, some employers want workers who have also obtained experience in software programming and coding jobs.

Applications Engineers
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$106,710
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
85,500
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
30.5
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Applications engineers are responsible for the creation and maintenance of computer applications that their employers or clients need. In order to do this, they must be proficient in a variety of software languages, such as JavaScript, C++, Ruby and Python.

Specific job duties for those in applications engineer careers include creating technical specifications and making modifications when needed; conducting systems testing; and finding bugs in a system and making recommendations on how to fix them. These professionals can work for organizations such as finance companies, banks or health care facilities. In some cases, applications engineers work as consultants.

Information Security Analysts
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$99,690
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
10,400
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
28.4
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Data is the most important commodity that organizations have, and those who pursue information security analyst careers act as gatekeepers for that vital asset by protecting computer systems and networks. Job duties include creating policies that address data breaches; monitoring networks for emergencies; installing protective software, such as firewalls and encryption programs; and addressing security violations within an organization.

Information security analysts should be detail oriented and have strong problem solving and analytical skills. They should also be proficient in programs such as Citrix, NoSQL, Veritas NetBackup and IBM WebSphere. These professionals are expected to keep up with trends in the information technology security field in order to keep their skills current.

Computer Systems Analysts
Average Salary Average salary refers to the 2016 mean salary for all U.S. workers in this job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
$92,740
Projected Job Openings Projected job openings refers to the estimated number of job openings from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
44,800
Projected Job Growth Projected job growth refers to the estimated rate of increase in the number of jobs in this profession from 2016-2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
8.8
Entry-level Education This refers to the typical entry-level education needed to obtain a position in a particular job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016
Bachelor's degree

Computer systems analysts help companies use technology more efficiently. They research currently existing and developing technologies, recommend which technologies their employers should invest in, and then install and maintain those technologies to improve their workplace. Usually, a computer systems analyst works with whatever software their employer needs to do their job, but some are more specialized in their field, such as systems designers, systems architects, software quality assurance analysts and programmer analysts.

Those who are interested in computer systems analyst careers should generally earn a bachelor's degree in a computer-related discipline, although some companies prefer to hire candidates who have completed a master's degree. In addition, these workers are expected to obtain some business education, seeing as they are involved in making organizational decisions.

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