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Welcome back to Uni everyone!!- and an International On-Line Conference on Blogging - MG: LITERATURE&LIFE

About Welcome back to Uni everyone!!- and an International On-Line Conference on Blogging

Previous Entry Welcome back to Uni everyone!!- and an International On-Line Conference on Blogging Feb. 12th, 2007 @ 06:10 pm Next Entry
In two weeks time we are all back together, cutting our teeth, brains and imaginations on fabulous literature... I am really looking forward to the journeys we have in store for us. For third year: the renaissance in England in the sixteenth century; for second year the nineteenth century and Romanticism; for first year an introduction to it all. And best of all I will participate with you in another semester of LiveJournalizing where I will be able to see your creativity grow. As you will discover I have made LiveJournal simpler this semester - I hope this helps to free you all up to use it in ways that YOU find most comfortable for your creativity and for deepening your response to the literature we are studying. I am so glad to see so many of you continuing your work in LiveJournal beyond the end of semester telling us about "stuff" happening in your holidays or new creative adventures. Many of you have obviously found LiveJournal a "hook" that is hard to let go. Well done for the persistence and for keeping the community alive. Let me know who I have missed please! Here are a few examples. From first (now second year!): Franc Delaconzi: http://ghettoman7.livejournal.com, Tamara Gardner: http://tamaragardner.livejournal.com/, Timb Hoswell http://dr-mindbender82.livejournal.com/. From second (now third year): Daniel Gleeson http://daniel-gleeson.livejournal.com/, Cameron Nash http://camheartsamber.livejournal.com/. From third year (now either fourth year or out in the work-force): Clare Grantham http://clarebear-g.livejournal.com/, Young Jang http://youngjang.livejournal.com, Jordan Taylor http://jordifier.livejournal.com/, Jennifer Sullivan http://ms-cellaneous.livejournal.com/. From the Clemente Program: Welcome Anissa Chatt and John van Gulick to ACU this year- both experienced hands at LiveJournal! Both have completed their 4 Clemente units allowing them now to become ACU Arts students.
Now I would love all or any of you to look into the international seminar on "Blogging" that I am running from today (the 12th Feb) until teaching starts on the 26th. I hope some of you might put your head into the discussion and share your experience as Blog users in Humanities Education- all you have to do is self-register (it is open to all) and type in a comment.... Here is how the Promo Runs:

School of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Michael Griffith from the Strathfield Campus is running a workshop on Blogging to Enhance Learning Experiences until 25 February.

“Blogging is becoming a familiar activity in our daily lives, and many educators are integrating blogs into their teaching practices,” said Professor Griffith, who has had particular success using blogging with his Clemente Program for Homeless students. “This seminar is an opportunity to share our blogging experiences and to discuss effective strategies for teaching and learning.”

To access the seminar directly, visit http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/mod/forum/view.php?id=400 <http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/mod/forum/view.php?id=400> . To contribute to discussions and customise visits to SCoPE, self-register http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca <http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/> . SCoPE is an online community hosted by Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. Discussions are free and open to the public. More information is available from Professor Griffith, at M.Griffith@mary.acu.edu.au.

Now before I go here are some post-bush-fire images taken out of the back of my place. Savagely burnt as it was, the grass trees (Xanthorea Australis) are the first to make an amazing come back:


And there are some other astonishing processes at work as some plants have their seed capsules burnt open by the fires producing a mass of seeds almost like snow (which of course we never see here in Sydney). Here is the Isopogon (commonly called the Drum Stick) a beautiful bright yellow flower in spring... that is my son David receding into the distance...

This is what the Isopogon looks like in spring
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
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From:youngjang
Date:February 12th, 2007 09:48 am (UTC)
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You scared me there Michael, I thought uni started without me.
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From:michaelgriffith
Date:February 12th, 2007 11:58 am (UTC)
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I am sorry Young.... just an early morning reminder call!.... so you are in for fourth year next year???
I will look out for you.
Cheers
Michael
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From:youngjang
Date:March 12th, 2007 09:36 am (UTC)
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From:ghettoman7
Date:February 13th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)

OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Hi Michael,
I've had this on my mind for a while now, so I'm just going to say it. Why don't we have options in the unit outline. Someone like Tim Horswell deserves to be able to present drama in a digital syntax - it's an amazing gift he has, so why can't certain students express their strengths and gifts in the drama context. I know Tim was quite excited about doing a new film, as was I. Some students complain about discussions also, but they are wonderful mediums of education in seeing the layers of intelligence a student has. I personally, if all goes well and I become a teacher, am going to use the discussion as the exam in the few weeks before the actual exam period begin - if I'm allowed. With some differences: every student has to facilitate, but they cannot see the other group members facilitation. They get the weekend to do such. When they have submitted their facilitation they then get placed into the group to discuss. Then they all have to do a reflective essay. I say 'reflective' because it's not a reiteration of what has already been said, and gives the student a chance to find new meanings and insights in his or her summation. Again they cannot see the other group members summaries. An exam only perceives one or two layers of a students intelligence: the student is in a stress zone, hindering true worth of intelligence, and absorption of knowledge throughout the semester. There is also a time limit, which has nothing to do with the learning process, and development of insight into English literature.
As far as those complaining about live journal: without commentary on the weekly lecture and tutorial how can a student assimilate and truly understand English literature. Doing commentary on another students work every week helps one prepare for teaching, and gives the student another perspective into the viewpoint of topic discussed in lecture/tutorial. Some people are discovering themselves through live journal and propelling their talents, hence helping their understanding of literature; developing passion for English literature through the various mediums, and more importantly building confidence. I myself am no computer guru and probably never will be; I love the organic process of creativity, particularly fine arts, reading and writing but that doesn't mean I can't be open minded and love everybody's gifts. This part of the post is directed towards other complaining students I guess. There's no need or time for jealousy, or any form of underminning; a lot of us are going to be teachers, so lets respect each other, and help each other; forget about the bloody marks and competition. Honour one another - teaching is no 'Bed of Roses': it's a difficult but rewarding path I hear. I'm hearing there's a lot of competition going on - I'm not that aware of it. I work hard and do my best, and treat everybody kindly. That's all you need to do, forget about what your mates mark is, don't even ask; it's disrespectful. Focus on your potential, that's it!
Sorry if I went overboard Michael, had to get it out.
Bye,
Student-teacher, Marc.
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From:michaelgriffith
Date:February 13th, 2007 06:33 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Hi Marc- I value your comments and know where you are coming from. I too love the creative potential that has been released in the last two semesters. But- sadly- I have had a lot of complaints too about over-working students and I must say I have been overworking myself with the amount of assessable marking that I have set myself... so to cut a long story short: for my own survival and for the survival of the units I teach I have had to make some hard, fair and balanced decisions. So there is less work, less marking, but hopefully still the space for creative spirits like yourself to shine. As you can see I have restructured LIveJournal to allow for top marks for true creativity. Read the requirements and the marking strategy closely. Then the exam- I have given a minimal percentage to this- but it is the only way of fairly ensuring that work submitted is the student's own... it is a space where the hard working student can shine and demonstrate their own work. I have now been teaching at ACU for 30 years and have tried many many combinations of what will work best for all. The new technologies have given us huge new liberties, but they also hard to manage with big groups... so I am on my knees with a real hope that the new structure for next year will overall please more students than last years structure did... but I am sad about drama too... but the resistance to group work has been overwhelming from a large percentage of the students....
So we shall see......
Please visit http://scope.lidc.sfu.ca/mod/forum/view.php?id=400- where your work is currently being discussed internationally!
MG
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From:ghettoman7
Date:February 15th, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Thanks Michael, for your reply, and if having an exam is in your best survival interests than I'm behind you 100%. Great teachers are hard to find and keep, and I believe their self-efficacy is more important than the students. Without great teachers education and ultimatey society falls apart.

Can't wait for the first tutorial/lecture.
Bye,
Marc.
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From:dr_mindbender82
Date:February 13th, 2007 08:02 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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"An exam only perceives one or two layers of a students intelligence: the student is in a stress zone, hindering true worth of intelligence, and absorption of knowledge throughout the semester."

I have to agree with this. Exams only test our ability to recycle and memorise information, (or in some cases the students’ ingenuity and inventiveness when it comes to cheating) what's more I always do badly on exams with hand written responses because my hand writing is terrible. (Due in part to my dyslexia, but I feel this is unfair after all is not a handwriting competition but rather an English exam, or a Theology exam, or a History exam) Worst of all there is a particular species of checklist type answer the peculiar circumstance of exams afford which tends to hinder students studying more widely than the narrow band of materiel covered during class.
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From:michaelgriffith
Date:February 13th, 2007 10:07 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Hi Timb- a couple of things: I agree that exams are not the best form of stimulating intelligence. That is why they are not given great weight in the overall assessment. However there are also inequities in a system that doesn't allow students to truly demonstrate their independant ability. But in your case, given your disability there are definately mechanisms in place that will allow you to take more time and even have a scribe to take down your ideas.... we will need to explore this option. But overall the main purpose of an exam from my point of view is to ensure that students stay with the material to the end of the course. No exam and attention, interest and attendance drops off as soon as the last assignment is completed. For me the fundamental purpose of all assessment is to help students learn and understand. While I hated exams myself at Uni I know that without them I would, for example, never have read the whole of Paradise Lost... and now I am really glad that I had to!
Michael
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From:dr_mindbender82
Date:February 13th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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I think Marc has an extremely valid point. I noticed that I always score lower on tests that include hand written answers. But I also see the point you are making in that many students won’t do the work if they’re isn’t some sort of fiscal stipend involved. However of late I have been utterly fascinated by the medieval curriculum, in particular the seven liberal arts inherited from the Greeks and from which many of our currant disciplines have a direct vested relationship..

I found a fascinating articlle*, which goes into detail on the matter, it identifies a large number of defects common amongst students such as

"* cannot define adequately a term, make the proper distinctions, or present an argument in a satisfactory manner
* have difficulty making connections between the different subjects that are being taught (no integration)
* are quickly able to forget what they have learnt and have little interest in learning more"

It then goes on to say

"These defects are partially caused by too much emphasis placed on the absorption of factual information (being measured by tests/grades) instead of the training of the intellect on how to think. The famous essay of Dorothy Sayers on the "Tools of Learning" explains this point very well. In other words, the classroom is viewed as a conference room where the teacher is reading a textbook to the students. The medieval classroom was viewed as a workshop where the students were apprentices learning to craft a work of the mind (e.g. composition in English). These tools, once acquired, enabled one to tackle any subject later on."

The article (although a Catholic one) then details some of the displines' aspects that we don't seem to learn today such as dialectics, retoric and poetics which would be good to cover in High School to some degree.

ANyway it's an intresting article, and I found a few other sites I've been looking at, moreo ut of personal intrest than anything else.


*http://www.edocere.org/articles/7_liberal_arts.htm
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From:dr_mindbender82
Date:February 13th, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Plus, do you know how to turn the email option off in regards the seminar, the posts keep filling up my inbox so I can't see my regular mail.
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From:michaelgriffith
Date:February 13th, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Hi Timb- posts are filling my in-box too.. but I can still see my other mail... so I don't know why you are having this problem..... maybe send a Help message to Sylvia Currie (co-ordinartor of Scope).. she may have encountered this problem before.... or is it something to do with your settings on how many messages you can view in your in-box... maybe check your preferences in your Mail program...?????
Cheers
Michael
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From:ghettoman7
Date:February 15th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Thanks for the reply Tim.
Though I can understand where Michael is coming from: these students don't want any group work - and we need to preserve our teachers lifespan.
I've figured out the cause of the problem actually. A lot of the students are majoring in History: you do 2 essays, sit for an exam and do another two essays. That's what the students want. In the exam you read a book and summarize. The other essay has to do with how well you do in getting in with the students who summarize well their own essays throughout the semester, memorize theirs, and basically rewrite: so as you can see it's a process of summarizing what other historians say, and memorizing. The students here seem to like doing this. I personally can't see the learning process in such a format, but one candid Asian girl with whom I was in discussion with in education last year told me why. In years 11 and 12 apparently they are moulded to memorize others work, summarize and formulate. They are told to not think for themselves. These poor kids have been conditioned to be... I feel sorry for them, because in the final context of teaching, they will surely lose interest...and so will their students..hence the turn over of 90% every two years of teachers. I feel sorry for Michael particularly because he is an immensely vast English literature teacher and man, and understands innately that to survive as a teacher for a long time one needs to find not only intellectual stimulation for students, but creative: getting them to think for themselves and discover all their intellectual and creative layers.
I'm going to fight hard to have exams abolished when I teach. Young kids have enough stress, and it's time their minds were respected and allowed to develop in a humane, creative and innately intellectual way.
With regards to your dyslexia, surely that will be taken into consideration in the exam Tim.
Anyway, I've said my part: all you can do is 'accept what you can't change'- and allow allow our spirits to guide us. All will be good I believe.
Bye,
Your friend,
Marc.
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From:dr_mindbender82
Date:February 15th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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I'm thinking about doing History next year, I really want to do ancient Rome cos i've got a fascination with Latin, and traditonally the two were allied together in classical studies.

Check out the extract from the article I posted, and the article it's self. It talks about the medeval curriculum, and particular aspects where kids are having problems today, in particular the studies of logic, rhetoric, dialectics and poetics.

History is a fascinating subject, particularly if you read some of the bizzare philosphies that developed out of it's studies, like Marxs, Hegel and Focult, I've been trying to hunt down an unabridged copy of Bede's eccelestical history of England, mainly for English Literary purposes (I'm intrested in the great Vowel shift that occured around the sixteenth and seventeenth century.) But I remember the problems i had when I tried to do the HSC, I knew all the reasons why the Weimar fell, the rise of the national Socilists, the key members of the party, and the seqence they hapened in, but I couldn't memorise the dates, moreover i went and looked into intresting historians like Henery King who had diffrent interpratations of some of the key factors that diffred from those in the curriculum.

Do you know what day the History lectures are on Rome, I want to attend a few out of personal intrest.
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From:ghettoman7
Date:February 22nd, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Hi Tim,
Sorry to have taken so long to get back to you. Haven't been in to the library to check my emails in a week. Got no internet at home. Finally got my timetable - the times for the History lectures are: Tuesday at 4 p.m. and Friday at 3.00 p.m.
Bye,
Marc.
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From:dr_mindbender82
Date:February 23rd, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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I might have to go the Friday at 3, cos 91th Century Lits on Tues at 4, but then it's a hasle cos I don't have classess on friday, and I was going to try and pick up a shift then. So it's whether or not to make the trip in from Penrith just to sneak into a lecture i'm not enrolled in.

I might check it out anyway, cos it would fill in backround info for Theo, and the synoptics.

Are you phyced about going back?
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From:ghettoman7
Date:February 26th, 2007 12:34 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Hi Tim,
I'm back. Just had computer prac. Honestly I'm not sure what he wants. Storyboard? Everything else looks really exciting - computers do worry me. Dreamweaver, i've never done.
Can't wait for literature and history, and going out to teach kids in the schools. That's why we're here.
See ya tomorrow, maybe you can explain to me what he means by storyboard, and what we are supposed to do this week. He mentioned something about buying cardboard and doing a story board. I have to assume he didn't mean that literally, or did he?
See ya.
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From:dr_mindbender82
Date:February 26th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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I hate that. It's like a jigsaw where you don't have all the pieaces, or there's something really simple everyone else understands so no body bothers pointing it out, and the floor drops away, and you watch each minute of the clock hoping you won't be asked a question that shows how dumb you are because you are sitting there with absolutly no idea of what is gonig on. Then you see that smug bastard sitting up the front with all the answers, and you can't help but hate him. . .

I used to use a program ages ago called Games Factory, and it had a story board feature, where each level you constructed would be shown in a thumb nail so you could link them together and put in sub levels and the like.

Also in some video editing software they use thumbnail story boards instead of a stream bed. I know you can download a free 30 day copy of Dreamweaver but i'm not sure how it works. I had it sitting on my computer for 30 days and couldn't get it up and running.

Maybe he means you put together each page, and the links between the two. There's a tutoriel for web page building in that digitail guide we got in our first year packs. Maybe check that out.

Yeah it will be good to catch up.
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From:ghettoman7
Date:February 26th, 2007 07:28 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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I just read the Unit outline carefully and the storyboard is a matter of getting a peice of cardboard, and showing your plan for the website. You only place the major pages of the wensite on the cardboard. This is insane. What am I a 5 years old! Just show us how to do a website with dreamweaver.
I was just watching 'Dangerous Minds' on the weekend, now that's teaching; and there was no use of computers, just a passionate desire to connect with the students. Everything was manual - the kids were learning. This virtual teaching methodologies is starting to get on my nerves. It's the communication, and connection with the students intellectuality, and creative, philosophical consciousness that interests me.
Sometimes I think there creating all this so they can have a course to teach. They need to get to the point more concisely. I mean they gave us all these sites to look at; it's listed in the unit outline, and to summarize it all, they're basically saying make the website boring, all pages should look the same; yet at the same time they're telling us to be creative. Figure it out. This is too much.

See ya, tomorrow. Do we have tuts, because I was reading in the unit outline notes that there were no tuts in first week.
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From:dr_mindbender82
Date:February 26th, 2007 07:50 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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I don't think we do.

I havn't done computers but I know what you are saying.

But it's the same debate we had last semster where you get a small collective of people, and 85% cumberground who throw up a huge debate if the works challanging and expect to show, do the work then go home.

You read Hard Times yet, I got a book of 19th Century political essays that'll be good for background info for the assignments, I'l photocopy a few of the more important ones if you want. You checked out the questions yet?

Also, have you checked out Second Life, it's a virtual world made up of people everywhere, with a population about the size of New Zealand. You have to work, sleep, pay bills and everything else you do in the real world, just it's on lnie. What's so intresting is that a radical group of socilists have formed a group and are attempting to take control of the city in an online Marxist type revolution, which has caused all sorts of contraversies with the devlopers.

Check it out.
http://secondlife.com/
http://secondlife.com/whatis/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life

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From:ghettoman7
Date:February 26th, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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I've been working intensely on both essays. I've read and analyzed 'Hard times.' I'm reading 'Dombey & Son' at the moment. I did enjoy many of Tolstoy's short stories: I just wish i had the time to read 'War & Peace.'

See ya in the lecture. I got to head off straight after to the History lecture.
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From:michaelgriffith
Date:March 4th, 2007 06:00 am (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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have just checked out your web site Marc... awesome design and fabulous images.... I must take some time to study the text.... only one comment that you could take on board... I would love to see the text in a separate space with the images framing it... some of the text I find hard to read because of the intensity of the surrounding images..... a positive quality from one perspective I am sure....
Cheers
Michael
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From:ghettoman7
Date:March 5th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)

Re: OPTIONS FOR UNIT OUTLINES IN THE FUTURE

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Thanks for the input Michael. In the future I will do as you have suggested. Really looking forward to the tutorial today. This discussion you posted is going to be awesome. I love the way the questions are interconnected.

Bye,
marc.
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