Both the target clients for Neighbourhood Links (NL) and Senior Activity Centres (SAC) are the elderly. NLs have a wider reach that targets elderly residents within a specific designated region. SACs mainly target elderly residents that stay in 1- and 2-room HDB rental blocks. SACs are located directly beneath such blocks. NLs and SACs provide a space for social and recreational activities to take place for the elderly. To use the facilities or partake in the activities organised, a person has to pay a small fee to be a member.

For this summer, CVWO was involved with the following organisations:

  • Geylang East Home of the Aged (GEHA)
  • Joycentre, Yishun
  • Carecorner Toa Payoh
  • Thye Hua Kwan Moral Society (THKMS), Bedok, henceforth to be referred to as Moral

Description of CVWO System for NL/SAC

Our CVWO system for NL/SACs help the operations for these centres mainly in the following ways:

  • Manage Client Information
  • Manage Volunteer Information
  • Manage Activities
  • Manage Facilities
  • Taking of Attendance of Clients, Volunteers and Staff
  • Automated Report System

The features listed above are the features that are most often required and used by NL/SACs. For the recording of attendance, a touchscreen is situated at the entrance of the NL/SACs and clients will record their attendance by scanning a barcode from their membership card into a barcode scanner.

Project Description

Each of the organisations had different requirements. A large number of these requirements are mainly to provide enhancements and improvements to the system. One challenge was to balance the needs of each of the organisations and carry out the enhancements while ensuring that the code base will not fork.

Another challenge was in communicating with each and every organisation to address their concerns or teach them about new system improvements. For example, in Moral, a change in staffing resulted in the new staff being unable to adequately operate our system. In this scenario, communication and instruction played an extremely important role to get the staff back to using the system.

One of the major goals of this project was also to migrate Carecorner from the legacy Joomla system to the current system built in Drupal.

Project Developments

Initial Phase

The initial phase involved us visiting the various organisations to find out their requirements and problems faced. We then had to prioritise and plan out the issues that we would be addressing given the time we had during the summer. At the same time, we had started carrying out data migration for Carecorner to prepare for their transition to the Drupal system.

Onboarding Carecorner and Moral

We set our priorities as early June to be the period of which both Carecorner and Moral will start operationally the use of the latest system. After meeting this goal, we had to keep checking back on these two organisations to ensure that the system was being properly used. From then, we shifted most of our attention to enhancing the system to meet the needs of the various organisations.

Another challenge was in communicating with each and every organisation to address their concerns or teach them about new system improvements.

Enhancements and Code Clean Up

There were certain issues with the state of the code for the CVWO system. Certain parts of the code were not well written which caused maintainability issues. As such, in the process of fixing bugs, numerous parts of the code was refactored to make them clearer. A large portion of the enhancements provided was to improve the reporting functionality of the system such that less menial work has to be carried out to track certain statistics.

There were many problems with the Activity Module. As such, Andrew studied the features of the Activity Module and then rewrote it from ground up. There were three main advantages to this:

  • The rewritten code was cleaner and easier to understand.
  • Intended features would work as intended. Previously, certain features did not respond as they were supposed to.
  • Improved and more intuitive user interface. This made it much easier to create, track and edit activities.

Project Accomplishments

The NL/SAC project is a very successful one. We successfully moved Carecorner over to the new system while retaining and cleaning up all the important information from their previous system that was necessary. Moral was a success as they continued to use the system after its implementation. However, we will need to keep periodic checks on Moral to ensure that they do not drop off again.

We also managed to meet the important requests for both GEHA and Joycentre such that a significant amount of menial work had been cut off from their daily routines. While, they still do have a number of requests that we have not yet fulfilled, these requests are more minor in nature. In addition, given the amount of time and resources that we had, we felt that we had made the best out of it.

Lastly, the code base for NL/SAC has been cleaned up significantly especially with the rewrite of the Activity Module. Nonetheless, there are still many parts that can be further improved such as the Touchscreen Module of which the code is very messy. Such tasks will be suitable for the next summer CVWO team. In the meantime, the team will continue to support the NL/SACs for the next one year should there be any crucial work that need to be performed.

Screenshots

The Team

  • Andrew Eng (Solo Project Developer, Year 3)
  • Jonathan Low (Project Lead, Year 4)

Afterthoughts

My fellowship in CVWO has greatly improved my technical competency. I have understood a great deal on web development and database. Other than technical skills, I am able to practice and improve my soft skills, which are otherwise difficult to acquire in school. I also felt a sense of satisfaction to see that the upgrades that I have implemented are benefiting the staff in the centres. I feel that this is something that I will never experience during my academia and I am grateful to be part of this project. I also realized that there are actually many ways where we can contribute to the community. Even a small upgrade to the system can indirectly improve the lives of the elderly.

– Andrew Eng

We would like to thank the following people:

  • Dr Ben Leong (NUS) for his guidance, teachings and advice
  • The staff from the various organisations who have been co-operative, helpful and shown great appreciation for our contributions