COVID, Computer Science, and System Thinking, Part 2


My post yesterday was grounded in fact and a possible solution. It is a real world situation. Today, I want to propose a second System Thinking option for computer solution. And, it has been implemented so that answers the question “When would we ever need this?”

In Essex County, COVID vaccination is available in a number of different locations. Drug stores (Rexall and Shoppers in Amherstburg) and at the Libro Centre. It’s not available for everyone just yet so it’s not like you can just walk in and get it.

First, you have to be eligible.

And you’re off…

In this system thinking example, I’m going to propose developing an online registration system. Obviously, there’s the benefit of seeing if students can code a solution but there’s a great deal of thinking and planning that needs to go into place before ever going near a keyboard.

Things that have to be considered…

Capacity – it appears that Rexall can take 1 person at a time, Shoppers 2, and the Libro Centre 4

Eligibility – using the data above, any potential person getting vaccinated would have to meet certain criteria

Details – a bit of information would be required by anyone using the system – Email or SMS however you intend to stay in contact, Health Card Number, Name, Address, Phone Number, any known allergies

You can see how we’re narrowing down the possible candidates. At any point, a wrong criteria would reject the person using the system and ask them to try later

Schedule – this is where it gets interesting – as noted above, there are limits to the number of people who can be treated. We all know how frustrating it is to be double-booked so that will have to be addressed. Presumably people using the system would be coming from the internet could arrive simultaneously and everyone wanting 9:00. So, you’ll have to find a way to lock out a time slot so that the first person there can get it. If they fall to sleep or otherwise leave in the middle of the process, there would need to be a timeout or some other design to make the timeslot available to others. Would you allow a husband and wife to register at the same time or are you one person only?

Arrival – once you’ve scheduled your client, you’ll have to give them advice about when to arrive. It wouldn’t be safe to have huge numbers in the location all at the same time. If there are multiple ways to get in, which are you recommending?

Reminder – will you system be user-friendly enough to send out a reminder via email, SMS, or phone call to remind the it’s time to get to their appointment?

Schedule – for the doctor, nurse, or technician that’s giving the vaccination, they’ll want to have a listing, by time, of who will be there

Privacy – wow, we’re collecting a lot of information here – what procedures would be followed to ensure that the information given remains secure?

Afterwards – it would probably be a good idea to provide advice for what kind of problems people might run in to and what to do should it happen. If the vaccine they’re getting requires two doses, what’s the procedure for getting the second dose?

Certification – everyone like a good badge! It shows accomplishments. Will you give a certification to those who are complete?

Flexibility – this drives every programmer crazy so why not here? The rules would have to be firm as of the time of compilation of the program. Suppose the government or the Health Unit changes the rules, how quick and responsive will you be for making the required changes?

And, there probably will be a lot more details once this gets designed and fleshed out. I really like the concept of a big system project along this line. It obviously wouldn’t be put into production but it’s something that I would have used with my Grade 12 class because it is a big, involved project and yet doable based upon the restrictions of the classroom. It’s also not something that can be done in a day or two. It would require a lot of tire kicking and testing. It also is rich in various programming and design concepts.

Above all this, it’s the sort of project that can be handled by high school students given the knowledge of the programming skills, their level of thinking a problem through, and a solution that replicates a real world solution that everyone would understand the need.

OTR Links 04/08/2021


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.