Lehigh University Caring for Cambodia




Lehigh University’s 2014 CAMEMIS for Caring for Cambodia team consisted of  students who came together to continue past efforts to implement the CAMEMIS educational management system for teachers, instructors, and administrators at various schools run by Caring for Cambodia (CFC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Together with Professor Crane, this year’s group consists of four students, James Lisooey, Catherine O’Grady, and Moritz Sturm from the Computer Science and Business program and Jennifer Chow of the Sustainable Development program. Our team demonstrates the strength of Lehigh’s interdisciplinary programs and allows each member to enhance their skills in other areas of study. Our major goals were to (1) write documentation covering the use of CAMEMIS for all applicable users, (2) train users and simultaneously set up schools and classes that can actually be used in the near future, and (3) gather feedback and formulate the updated requirements for the health module that is currently still under development.


Our team faced many difficulties while working with the Caring for Cambodia Schools; however, we were all thrilled about the progress we made while we were abroad.  First, there we encountered a few technical problems that slowed our work during the trip. The server for CAMEMIS that we were using was not working at an optimal speed, and we were unable to trace the problem to an error with our DNS server settings until the last day of work. Additionally, our team encountered additional issues regarding the structure of the elementary schools and the requirements dictated by the Cambodian government.  Due to the complex nature of the requirements, it was very difficult to communicate exactly how we needed to set up the CAMEMIS system until it could be described to us in person.  This required our team to reconfigure the test system we had designed and reenter the data for the elementary school classes.  Despite the setbacks, we were able to learn a lot about the direction of this project and how to move forward.        


Despite various challenges along the way, the past three months have been very successful and we expect to continue our work over the course of the year without any significant hindrances. CAMEMIS has great potential and CFC’s schools can only benefit from its implementation over the course of the next few years. Overall, our team was unable to accomplish as much as we had intended due to our limited understanding of the challenges that CFC must endure. It was not until we were in Cambodia and faced constant power outages and limited internet access that we could understand their limitations and how to adapt the current version of  CAMEMIS to support the work of Caring for Cambodia.
Once we update CAMEMIS to fit their criteria, limitations and needs the system has the potential to save teachers days of grading and expand the school’s  health care and student discipline records to improve the students experience in all aspects of their education. Although our team suffered challenges at the beginning of our time in Cambodia, we all agree that it was vital to aid in our understanding of CAMEMIS as well as to understand the setup of the Cambodian school systems. As a developing country Cambodia faces challenges that none of us have experienced, but through our implementation of CAMEMIS into the Caring for Cambodia school system we are confident that we can enrich their standard of education.
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