Preston Ling


Bachelor of Science, Computing Science with Specialization in Software Practice, 4th year

Course: CMPUT 401 (Fall 2022) with Instructor Ildar Akhmetov

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives

I worked closely with Jay Frieson, who previously served as a Partnership Coordinator at CSL, on a project to enhance the completion paperwork process. Our primary objective was to develop a user-friendly eSignature app that could streamline the process and make it more efficient. Our team aimed to simplify the completion process for both students and community partners by creating webforms and automated emails. We eliminated much of the manual work that CSL coordinators needed to perform at the end of the semester, making the entire process much more straightforward and hassle-free. We also used Google App APIs like Drive and Sheets to ensure that all necessary information was accurately captured and easily accessible. Overall, the project's goal was to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the CSL completion paperwork process, improving the experience for everyone involved.

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement

During my CSL placement, I learned that the skills and knowledge I gained during my time at the University of Alberta can be put to use to make a positive impact on the community. CSL provided me with a platform to identify and address various social issues, by working with community partners to find solutions. The semester began with many CSL community partners presenting the class with problems they were facing. This provided students with an opportunity to build solutions to these problems throughout the semester. Through this process, I gained hands-on experience in collaborating with community partners to understand the unique challenges and needs of different communities.

I also discovered that effective community engagement requires active listening, empathy, and a commitment to building meaningful relationships. Working collaboratively with a team allowed us to achieve a common goal, as we navigated through the complexities of software development. I realised that reaching the end of the development process was even more rewarding when you had a team of individuals working towards a common vision.

Overall, my CSL placement provided me with a deeper understanding of the power of community-based action and the potential for positive change when individuals and organizations come together to create a better future for all.

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)?

I gained valuable skills in community engagement, empathy, and collaborative problem-solving. I believe these skills will be highly transferable to my future endeavours, whether academic, professional, or volunteer-based.

In my academic courses, I will apply my community engagement skills to connect with peers and instructors, contributing to class discussions and projects. My active listening and empathy skills will allow me to better understand different perspectives, leading to more effective communication.

For future employment, the skills I gained through my CSL placement will enable me to build strong relationships with colleagues, clients, and stakeholders, and develop solutions that meet their needs. As a software engineer, identifying the right solution to a problem can be challenging. However, the skills I gained from my CSL placement will help me keep the problem at the forefront of the development process and develop sustainable solutions that address complex issues. Additionally, my collaborative problem-solving skills will enable me to work effectively in teams.

Finally, in my future volunteer work, I can use the skills and knowledge gained through my CSL placement to connect with community partners, understand their unique challenges and needs, and develop impactful solutions that create positive change.