Care Corner Counselling Centre (CCCC), formerly named Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre (CCMCC) and even earlier as 800 Counselling Centre, began its operations in 1985 providing telephone counselling services. Since then, the centre has evolved into a professional and integrative social service network providing counselling, friendship and advice to individuals and families in need.
The core services provided by the centre include Psychotherapy and Counselling, and Hotline Counselling which are supported by a team of professional and experienced practitioners. Aside from counselling, the Centre also conducts family life education programmes to promote personal growth, family integration and stronger interpersonal relationships. The centre also provides training and consultation for students who are pursuing an education in counselling, or to organisations looking to enhance the effectiveness of their clinical work. Lastly, CCCC also offers personality tests and assessments for individuals seeking to learn more about themselves.
Every year, CCCC serves close to a total of 1600 cases from existing and new clients. Managing such a vast amount of data is not easy and the centre currently relies on an old case management system (CMS) built in the 1990s to manage this information. However, the existing system had deteriorated beyond usability and the continued reliance on the current CMS impeded the operations of the centre. Therefore, CCCC sought CVWO’s help in 2015 to renew their case management system.
After reviewing CCCC’s requirements, CVWO found the project to be feasible and work began in late June after the successful deployment and migration of our Lions project. We met with CCCC’s staff to understand more about the workflow in their organization and reviewed the needs of the centre. In our evaluation, we found Care Corner’s requirements to be very similar to that of our former client, Fei Yue Family Services Centre. Therefore, we decided to adapt the system built for Fei Yue Family Services Centre to Care Corner’s use.
Project Development and Accomplishments
The project was developed in three phases:
1. Understanding the Requirements
Before development began, the team visited the counselling centre in order to meet the clients and demonstrate the existing system to them. In this manner, we could see the workflow of the existing system first hand and be able to suggest the necessary changes to be made to suit their workflow.
The team had to spend time looking around the Fei Yue code base in order to familiarise ourselves with it, as it was built on a platform new to us, Ruby on Rails.
In order to facilitate our understanding of the code base, the team lead initially assigned each member small tasks that would build up our knowledge before having us tackle the larger tasks.
After gaining some familiarity with Ruby on Rails, the team was able to get started on handling the larger tasks such as customising the intake form, upgrading the calendar according to their requests and building the reports they needed.
3. Deployment and Feedback
After implementing the first round of features and customisations while receiving continuous feedback from the clients, the team deployed the system onto a staging server for the CCCC staff to familiarise themselves with the system and to garner feedback. This user testing was very helpful as the clients were able to uncover some corner cases which we had not considered previously, as well as offer feedback for improvement on certain aspects of the user interface which they found unfriendly.
In addition, after trying out the system, the users realised that there were other features that would be useful that were lacking in the existing system. After clarifying the requirements, the team was able to continue working on these new features and receive continuous feedback on them before the actual deployment.
- Thng Kai Yuan (Project Lead, Year 1)
- Lai Hoang Dung (Louis) (Project 2IC, Year 1)
- Tham Zheng Yi (Developer/Secretary, Year 2)
- Hong Lu (Developer, Year 1)
- Huang Bohan (Developer, Year 1)
- Melvin Tan Jun Keong (Developer, Year 1)
All in all, I found this journey to be tougher than I expected, but I also learnt more than what I had expected. I feel a sense of great satisfaction seeing our product being put to good use and delivering value to the partner organisations. I also made good friends over the summer and the experience as a whole was priceless.
– Kai Yuan
CVWO was definitely a memorable learning experience. Though frustrating and stressful at times, it was really a rare opportunity where I was able to apply what I learnt in a real-world context. It is definitely fulfilling to see the fruits of our labour used by the VWOs to enhance their work processes with their clients.
I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in CVWO, as this experience in developing a product that will have significant impact in the lives of its users and their clients for years to come is something that I believe I could not have obtained in many other internships.
– Zheng Yi
The things I learned here can never be learned in a classroom setting. We got our hands dirty and we had to deal with clients. What we produced is really going to impact the real world. Moreover, I feel very lucky to be a member of my team. My colleagues are cute and kind. They are willing to help and take up responsibilities and they never hesitate to share experience, thoughts and knowledge. I love my CVWO team.
– Hong Lu
The precious three-month CVWO journey was a great and meaningful experience for me. It gave me a clearer understanding of myself and computer science. It encourages me to experience more, learn more and gain more in the future.
In the end, seeing the users’ satisfaction in using our system and knowing that we have improved an organisation’s work experience makes all the tough time spent worthwhile. Doing the things you enjoy while being able to contribute back to society in the process, what could be a better way to spend the summer holiday?
We would also like to thank the following people:
- Dr Ben Leong (NUS) for his guidance, teachings and wisdom.
- Our seniors Joel Low and Tay Yang Shun, for their timely advice and feedback.
- CCCC staff, for their co-operation and support.
- Our various sponsors, without whom we would not be able to support ourselves financially through the duration of this project.
- Our families and friends, for their love and support, even as they had to bear our late nights and tight schedules.