HT/VT Reporting Website Overview

Discussions around miscellaneous technologies and projects for the general membership.
scion-p40
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#11

Post by scion-p40 »

If I’m not mistaken, quarterly VT reports are required. (If memory serves me well, we were to cut our visits to 10-15 minutes and less frequency back in the 1980’s. I lived in Hawaii at the time and my Hawaiian RS President was sooooo disappointed over that news. In that culture, such a brief visit would be downright rude, too.) However, every place that I have lived seems to continue monthly reporting. Part of this may be tradition, but I’ve also had RS presidents who felt that quarterly contact was just too infrequent. Note that I have never lived in a truly rural area where ward boundaries are enormous.

On the software ideas:
First, I think that it’s a great idea! Not everyone would use it, but as people more comfortable with technology mature, the participation will increase.
  • As a visiting teaching supervisor, I have generally made sure that everyone in my district was visited at least quarterly (if they were agreeable to a visit). I have had occasions where I did all of the monthly visits that were not done by the 20th of the month because 1) several of the visiting teachers were not very active in church, 2) there was a great need for people to be visited in our young military ward, and 3) I was able to make the time to do so. I separately report the visits that I made from those of the assigned visiting teachers. It would be helpful to designate if the teacher was the supervisor or the assigned visiting teachers.
  • Our area would need area codes on the chart, too.
  • Full addresses, including zip codes, would be handy. (This may already be in your program, but I don’t recall seeing it.)
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brado426
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#12

Post by brado426 »

Addresses are currently not stored in the database since this information is not exported with the "Copy to File" command in MLS. Doing anything with addresses or any other additional data would require changes to the MLS system in addition to this HT/VT Reporting application.

scion: Area codes would show up if they were entered in MLS as such.

I like your thoughts, Mr. M. I have a couple comments.

First of all, I didn't think a "Phone" or "Letter" contact was ever counted as "Visited" for Home Teaching. For Visiting Teaching, "Phone" or "Letter" can be counted as "Contacted." This application allows the teacher to select VISITED, APPOINTMENT MADE, or NOT VISITED for Home Teaching and VISITED, PHONE CONTACT, LETTER CONTACT, or NOT CONTACTED for Visiting Teaching. I don't think a household can be marked as Visited when a Phone contact has been made, for example.

Secondly, when putting this site together I was trying to keep it as simple as possible. When the teacher has more checkboxes and comboboxes to select, in my opinion, it complicates the reporting process. I think it would be nice to optionally allow this type of data to be requested, however, the critical data is whether or not the household or sister has been taught. As the site is now, I think it covers the 'Visited" and "Visited Type" columns.

Finally, I have seen it being extremely valuable to have an open-ended comment box. This has proved to open a new line of communication between the teacher and the Presidency. There are plenty of useful comments that can be delivered to the presidency this way such as, "this person has moved," or "this person needs help moving", or "this person no longer wishes to be contacted." These comments are e-mailed to the presidency, which is basically the same as if the teacher directly e-mailed this information to the presidency.

Below is a screenshot of the Administrator's Menu for the application. It will give you some idea of what the Presidency is allowed to do. If a teacher is set to a "Supervisor" access level, only the first 5 options are available.

Image
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Mr. M-p40
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#13

Post by Mr. M-p40 »

The address is in column 11, 12, 14, 15 16 in the Membership.csv file
that is exportable from MLS.

As far as visits, the area we are in we have more families than priesthood holders and the stake and our bishopric has made phone and mail assignments. Each home teaching companionship has two visit families to visit monthly and then a couple families that they have to call or mail with a visit quarterly. There are three stakes in this area that do the same thing, it was given to us by a GA in our stake conferences. It was taught as home teaching triage. Those members that are borderline need visits every month, those that are active get phone calls, those that are NOT active at all or disinterested get letters. Both of the latter get visits each quarter.

That is part of the reason I would want to track all that information to see the effectiveness levels of each type of visit.

Also as a point, for software to be used by everyone we need to take into consideration that different areas do things differently to make an application effective it needs to handle the least common denominator.

Again, I appreciate your hard work, it has definitely opened the door to some great ideas.
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brado426
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#14

Post by brado426 »

I see.... I was not aware of some of these exceptions. I agree that the application needs to be able to handle the needs of the church as a whole, but my only point was that certain enhancements need to be configurable as it seems that most wards are handled by the book (at least those that I've seen).

Those are great ideas though... they have certainly got me thinking.

The problem with the Membership file is that it requires special access to export it. I know that I've never had access to export that file in our ward's MLS system. This is why I have had to resort to a file that is easily exportable by any MLS user... this being the "Copy to File" option within the Home/Visiting Teaching section.

Brad O.
russellhltn
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#15

Post by russellhltn »

brado426 wrote:First of all, I didn't think a "Phone" or "Letter" contact was ever counted as "Visited" for Home Teaching.
Correct. However, wouldn't it be a good idea to at least be able to notate that a "non-count" contact was made as opposed to no contact at all?

You may also want to think about other exceptions such as members who have requested "no contact". In those cases, notating that post cards or bulletins have been mailed. Just because it doesn't count in the stats doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. And the knowledge that it's done and can be reported to leaders is useful to the church's primary goal.
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brado426
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#16

Post by brado426 »

Very good points, Russell.

Adding those additional options so that they would not count in the statistics would be extremely easy. But, would having those options available make some teachers think that a phone or letter is good enough and therefore not make an additional effort to visit? For Visiting Teaching, the church specifically asks for "phone" and "letter" options. However, for Home Teaching, the only requested information is "Visited" or "Not Visited."

My concern is that the church must have a reason for gathering different statistics from Visiting Teachers than Home Teachers. Since these guides were set up by the church, this is probably a question that only a church authority could answer.
JamesAnderson
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#17

Post by JamesAnderson »

You are right about being able to indicate any situations where contact was made but for reasons sometimes even beyond the control of the home teachers they were not able to do a visit one might call 'by the book'.

Here's an example from my experience. I've seen alot of similar situations in ten years of working with home teaching in elders quorums and high priest groups.

Let's say I had five families, and families A B and C were visited. But I only had a phone contact with family D due to their being out of town much of the time and family E doesn't let home teachers in but I am able to leave a note.

What would be the best way to record that type of matter if you were able to notate those in this proposed software?
russellhltn
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#18

Post by russellhltn »

brado426 wrote:But, would having those options available make some teachers think that a phone or letter is good enough and therefore not make an additional effort to visit?
I agree with the concern. I think that a careful screen setup could make that clear. Perhaps coloring the "non-contact" contacts differently. If not, then when the user sees their own stats, they should get the message.

brado426 wrote: My concern is that the church must have a reason for gathering different statistics from Visiting Teachers than Home Teachers. Since these guides were set up by the church, this is probably a question that only a church authority could answer.
I'd love to know the answer myself. But since this is a tech forum, I think we'll have to settle for treating HT and VT differently. I think the screens could be quite similar but using color or shading to note the difference in policy.
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mkmurray
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#19

Post by mkmurray »

RussellHltn wrote:Perhaps coloring the "non-contact" contacts differently.
Perhaps something like the following:

Home Teaching:
Green - visited in person and delivered a message
Yellow - mailed letter, contacted by phone, or talked briefly at the front door
Red - no contact made

...and then something similar for Visiting Teaching. Any of the green options would be considered a "counted" visit; the other options wouldn't be "counted," but would signify if any attempt was made at all.
russellhltn
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#20

Post by russellhltn »

mkmurray wrote:Perhaps something like the following:

Home Teaching:
Green - visited in person and delivered a message
Yellow - mailed letter, contacted by phone, or talked briefly at the front door
Red - no contact made
That's one possibility. I was thinking more along the lines of coloring both the non-contact and non-counting contact the same. Or maybe more closely the same (light red instead of yellow?) The same color would communicate "same status" while everyone would hopefully understand that it's better to have shown some contact then none at all.
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