2020 Online Challenges Now Viewable

2020 Online Challenges are now available to view. Official entries may begin in one week on September 9, 2019. Again, pay special attention to the deadline dates this year because there will be no exceptions for late entries. If you are having any difficulties at all, please email onlinechallenges@roboticseducation.org early!

https://challenges.robotevents.com/season/13/challenge

We are still working with a few sponsors and could possible be adding a few more but you will have to just stay tuned! Good luck to all!

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Also, you can visit the RECF Online Challenges page on the VEX Wiki where you can view every single winning entry over the past decade, as well as find relevant information to the current online challenge season. Good luck to all those participating in this year’s challenge!!

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For some reason, I didn’t think that the Community Award would be an online challenge. I understand that it makes sense, but I thought it would be something closer to submitting for getting in the STEM Hall of Fame.

No online CAD challenge this year?

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A lot of the online challenges depend on companies to sponsor them. If the sponsorship ends that will end the challenge as well.

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Not yet! We are still working with sponsors and we are hoping to still be able to add two more challenges. The deadline will be the same if we can work it out, but I will update this forum as soon as they are ready.

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Will the Robot Virtual Worlds Challenge also be available this year?

Probably not because there is no virtual worlds platform for v5 coding yet. If Vex releases a new virtual worlds before the end of the year, they may choose to recreate that challenge. Vex could also wait to revive the Robot Virtual Worlds Challenge next year, or they may not for any number of years. We mostly just have to wait and see.

Sounds like a plan. Thanks.

Why no Game Animation challenge this year?

This was fun!

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No, there will not be a Virtual Worlds Challenge this year. Each year the challenges are based on Sponsorship and although we still have a relationship with Robomatter, it has shifted into different areas so they are not sponsoring this challenge. This may change in the future.

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Last year some of the awards were given to online challenges that were not very strong. My kids weren’t pleased they lost to a big spacer when teams like 240P also came up empty handed.

Can vex comment on what the judging process looks like please? How is it decided which entries will win?

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@DavisHS The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation is the entity that controls and moderates the Online Challenges, not VEX Robotics – they are simply just sponsors of the program.

The judging process consists of many volunteers who are provided a selection of entries (approximately 20-40 entries – possibly more) from a single online challenge. Each volunteer is then required to confirm that each entry has met the minimum requirements which are listed on each challenge’s page. If an entry does not meet the minimum requirements, it could be disqualified, and it happens every year. No matter how good of an entry it is, everyone is required to follow the requirements. After verifying that the entries met those requirements, each judge will rank the entry based on numerous judging criteria, which is also listed on each challenge’s page. After judging each entry, the entries receive a calculated score based on the rank of each criterion judged and are placed into a ranked list. At this point, a small selection of the top entries (approximately 10-30 entries per challenge) moves onto the finalist judging process where another set of volunteer judges will judge those top entries in the same manner until the winning entries are decided upon. It is important to note that there are a lot of judging criteria that go into deciding the top entries – you simply can’t judge a book by its cover. Just because an entry doesn’t look like a winning entry doesn’t mean that it isn’t. The judging process isn’t without its flaws, but it does a very good job of narrowing down the best entries based on the provided criteria. (Please note: this is a basic description of the outline of the judging process from the perspective of a volunteer judge and does not completely describe every aspect of the judging process.)

If you are interested in judging in the Online Challenges yourself and you are not currently participating in the online challenges you are more than welcome to sign up as a volunteer judge. Just email onlinechallenges@roboticseducation.org. I hope this information was insightful to you and others.

For those of you who feel as though the odds are stacked against you based on last year’s online challenges, please don’t give up and don’t stop submitting your entries. There is always room for improvement, and always a chance you could come out on top the following year. My first year participating in the online challenges, I didn’t win, which was very upsetting because I believed I had the winning entry and I had put so much work into it. This motivated me to do better and improve the submission for the following year and sure enough the following year I won first place in an online challenge, and again the next year. I strongly encourage everyone whether or not they won to try your best and never give up even if it seems impossible.

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-AiDEN PYLE

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@DavisHS, thank you for reaching out. I will say that @AidenPyle did a fantastic job explaining how the judging process works. We have made some changes to the judging rubrics this year and hope that it will make the process stronger. We are also now asking for more community judges, even if you have an entry that can help us with the preliminary/requirement phase of judging to make sure all entries meet the minimum requirements. This, as you can imagine with over 1,200 entries is the most tedious of jobs and sadly, some do get by us! So, if you are interested, simply email us at onlinechallenges@roboticseducation.org. Thank you!

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