Robotics Education & Competition Foundation
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Preference of Handwritten Notebooks

Henry Hathaway

Are judges at events able to arbitrarily give preference to a notebook solely on the basis that it is hand written?

According to the Engineering Notebook Rubric, there is nothing that gives any form of preference in terms of points to a hand written notebook. However, some judges have said that they will give preference to a hand written notebook in the event that they are presented with both options.

I'm asking to find out if judges will be working with this mindset going forward into future competitions, including the World Championship.

Thank you.

Answered by Competition Judging Committee

Judges should not give preference to one format of notebook over another. Engineering Notebooks are done by the team, for the team in order to document their progress and record ideas. Showing the Engineering Notebook to judges is a secondary purpose. It is not our intention to set a precedent that teams are will choose notebooking strategies that are less compatible with their team's circumstances, in order to attempt to be evaluated more highly by Judges at events.

It is our intention that teams should be comfortable using the type of Engineering Notebook that works best for them. Judges should adapt to different formats, and evaluate notebooks by content, rather than by format.

Individual judges who are unable to reconcile their personal bias in favor of one format or another, should at minimum recuse themselves from evaluating Engineering Notebooks and weighing in on awards such as Excellence, Design, and Innovate that directly involve the Engineering Notebook, and are encouraged to look into other volunteer roles instead.