2016 Online Challenge Ideas

I think there should be a button design contest because it seems like there are so many teams with buttons at worlds and it would be very fun

A virtual autonomous challenge split up by which robot is used would be cool too.

Another cool challenge would be a Worlds tee shirt design contest with the winning shirt being purchasable at Worlds.

I would really like to see a robot reveal challenge as well. The only difficulty with this being the challenge deadline would most likely need to be closer to state for a large number of teams to be able to have a finished robot, and to logistically find the time to create a jaw dropping reveal.

Team buttons and t-shirts. Hmm… How about a VEX Team Marketing challenge? Produce a video that shows us how you market your team in the community and at events?

How would this be different from the Promote Award? Is it different enough to justify two awards?

As always, we are interested in your thoughts.

Looks the same as the promote award…

I don’t think teams should have to go to Worlds to fully participate in the online challenges, so I don’t like the idea of challenges that are based around things people mostly do at worlds (like making team buttons). A minority of teams go to Worlds. For teams who live far away from Worlds, even when they qualify a minority of members make the trip.

I agree that downloads wouldn’t work well, but it would be good if apps that are entirely web-based (VexDB is the most obvious example) were eligible for some sort of online challenge. As it is they don’t fall under any of the judging criteria for the website challenge:

The website challenge has a very narrow focus on websites that are created to promote a team.

Speaking of which, can someone explain how websites created mostly by and for FRC teams do so well when the requirements say that they are ineligible?

Perhaps websites that have won in previous years should be ineligible to win again.

As an example, Team 254 The Cheesy Poofs have won the website challenge every year since 2011, accumulating $3750 of prize money over five years for the same website.

This website is very well done, but it seems like a stretch to assume that the majority of the work was done by current VEX team members.

I would like a do something cool with robotics challenge. It would not even have to be vex, but something you built for your own. If you won you would have to demo it at worlds, and give a talk on it to get your money.

I agree with Owen that a team should not be able to win 1st place over and over again. I don’t think it is fair for the other teams. But I do think that anyone who wins second or third place should be eligible to submit their website or other challenges again in hope to win first place for the next year. Like Owen said, the cheesy poofs have had the same website for a long time, and they can’t just keep entering it on there every time expecting it to win with changing little content on the website each year. Yes, they do have a nice website, but it SHOULD NOT win 1st place every single year.

I think you should be able to win multiple times- if what you enter is the best, it should win. People should make their websites better to compete with the best which is what the competition is about in my opinion.
But to counter this, if I remember correctly, you are not allowed to submit the same promote award multiple times, so compared to that they should have the same requirements, not 2 different ones

Also how would you define changes on a website? If a team won 5 years ago and there are new people that redesign it, should they be allowed to enter? If so, how much do they have to change? Everything?

The cheesy poofs website has stayed the same for a long time. They update some pictures here and there, but since the first time they have entered their website it has been relatively the same since. What I mean by changes, is to update the website often. As you can see in the comments about the cheesy poofs website in this link, people have complained that all of the information is extremely outdated in their website. I don’t mean change everything, but obviously make it better and to improve on the existing website. Since I first saw 254’s website it hasn’t had many noticeable changes at all. I entered my website in the challenge for this year, and since the winners were announced, I have made several large changes to my website already in order to improve on my website. Whether it is rewording sentences, adding new pages, updating all of the content and pictures, and just making sure I am staying current, it all matters. When you look at large companies’ websites, they are always changing. You look at it one month and the next it is different. Websites are meant to be updated and revised all the time. I did not mean to completely making a new website every time, and I am sorry if I was unclear. It seams to me that they just made the website the first year and they resubmit it every year without updating the website. Like I said previously, they have a great website with lots of good content, and yes it does deserve to win, but it is unfair if they win every single time. As Eric said below, “people need to make their website better”, and not just leave it the same.

Not exactly a fan of the 254 bashing here but one thing you can do is take note of what they have and add it to your website to beat them next time.

  1. Look at what they were looking for in the challenge and make sure you have it:
  • Provide recognition for sponsors, teachers, mentors, and schools
  • Tell the story of the program, including the past, present and future plans
  • Does it provide useful information for outsiders wanting to learn about your program?
  • Website includes all your team’s activities, including outreach and educational.

Is the website attractive and easy to navigate and does it have a unified design? Does the website have a clear, easy-to-use layout, good structure, and consistent use of colors, menus, and imagery?

  1. Look at the extra stuff they have and copy the heck out of it

  2. Have not just a single design layout on your pages like 254 did and use multiple templates and graphical elements

So let’s look at the extras on their site. Yes some are old, but it still adds to the site. Much is FRC based too

a) They made a style guide for the Cheezy Poofs brand
http://team254.com/resources/identity/

b) They tell their history. Granted it seems to be an FRC history versus a Vex history.
http://team254.com/about/

c) they have a store to sell shirts
http://team254.com/store/

d) they have a blog documenting activities.
http://team254.com/blog

e) Clearly lay out student leadership with contact info
http://team254.com/leaders/

f) has a team handbook telling you exactly what you’re getting into
http://team254.com/resources/handbook/

g) a pretty cool event page for an FRC event they hosted. Many elements like a google map with pin points for their sponsors, team list, and videos.
http://team254.com/chezychamps/

I think a good challenge would be to come up with a simple robot that new teams could build, and then design a curriculum around it to teach them things that most people think is common knowledge, but since they are new they would probably never know until they where further along and more experienced. these could be like building and construction tips (how to make a good joint, rubberbanding, etc.) and some programming stuff too (I don’t know much about programming so insert basic good stuff here).

I second that!! I think that is a great idea. I would love to see this challenge next year.

I would love these challenges return for the 2015-2016 VEX Online Challenges:

  1. VEX Robotics Engineering CAD Challenge
  2. VEX Robotics Competition Promote Award
  3. VEX Robotics Essay Challenge
  4. VEX Robotics Team Website
  5. VEX Robotics Team Educational Video
  6. VEX Robotics Photography Challenges

This challenge is not from the previous years, but I would love to see a new challenge that you guys create that involves Power Point or Prezi. I think students will be interested on doing some challenges that involve this type of project.

-Ian Clavio, Team 687D, California Academy of Mathematics and Science