Bound Engineering Notebook Needed?

Are spiral notebooks allowed for an engineering notebook?

I’ve seen people say it’s not allowed, but I don’t see any mention of needing a bound notebook in the engineering notebook rubric.
http://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2020/06/engineering-notebook-and-team-interview-rubric.pdf/
Am I looking at the wrong rubric or has this rule since been changed?

Five (5) points if the notebook has appropriate
evidence that documentation was done in
sequence with the design process. Examples of
this would include signed and dated entries in a
bound notebook, or time stamps generated by
digital collaboration platforms.

An example of proof of timestamps is if the journal is bounded. This suggests it does not have to be, but it would be safer to use a bounded notebook so you can’t lose points for it.

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Can we also have an Online Notebook?
We just don’t have enough time to fill out a notebook during the once a week 2 hour club meetings for the past few weeks, we’re finally starting to get past the drivebase and such.

This rubric is to be used for both Digitally and Physically submitted engineering notebooks.

Yes, Digital Notebooks are allowed, just keep in mind some events may require a physical notebook, so you’ll need to print it out.

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See @StuartV 's note above. Bound notebooks are not required this season, but highly recommended.

Assuming the criteria changes back next season to how it was: A spiral notebook that is pre-bound would meet the criteria. Where teams go overboard and lose points is DIY spiral or comb bound notebooks.

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Spiral notebooks have been deemed as not bound in the past.

As always, each season may have variances and final authoritative clarification should be found on Official Judging Q&A

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The wording in the past is that “pages cannot be added or removed.” A standard off the shelf spiral notebook does not allow pages to be added, but could potentially allow pages to be removed. At Worlds we have given teams the benefit of the doubt, but in all reality it has not made a difference in my judging. Better quality teams just tend to gravitate toward perfect bound or stich bound notebooks anyway. I would never recommend a spiral bound notebook.

That said, bound is not part of the bonus for this season anyway. We’ll see if that comes back next year. my recommendation is always to use the VEX notebooks or similar if you are looking for a cheaper alternative. My teams always ended the season with multiple volumes, so something with holes pre-punched that allow for them to be put in a binder as a cover was always preferable.

(Yes, multiple volumes. My best teams always were into 3 by the time worlds came around. I have judged one at worlds that had 7. Quantity doesn’t always mean quality though)

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That’s surprising to hear considering that most spiral notebooks are locked in place by merely two bends on the top and bottom. If I find a mistake, I don’t think it would be hard to unbend the metal ends and twist the spiral out, then move a replacement page to the location I want to reconstruct the page
image

This is far easier than trying to stitch new pages into a fully bound notebook, and absolutely plausible with standard materials around the house.

There was at some point an official judging Q&A that specifically stated no spiral notebook was considered bound. I guess it will have to be asked again, as that (maybe?) matters still based on the revised Judge Guide (a bound notebook is one of their examples as satisfying the new requirement, and my understanding from past judging is the same as @lacsap - a spiral notebook (hand-written in) is not deemed bound [edit - digital notebooks with time stamps that are printed and spiral bound are separate from this and would qualify]).

The 5-point bonus for having a bound notebook has been removed and replaced
with a 5-point bonus for submissions of paper, printed, or digital submissions
containing evidence that documentation was done in sequence with the design
process. This change to the rubric is meant to allow judges to award the 5-point
bonus for submissions that provided appropriate evidence of sequential work
irrespective of the notebook submission format.
:black_small_square: Examples of this would include signed and dated entries in a bound
notebook, or time stamps generated by digital collaboration platforms.
The Judge Advisor will use reasonable discretion to determine whether
evidence is sufficient to warrant the bonus, and will apply that standard
consistently to all submissions at the event. When there is doubt or
question regarding evidence, the benefit of doubt should be given to the
team.

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Look at the bottom of the first page on the link you’ve provided; it says:

Five (5) points if the notebook has appropriate evidence that documentation was done in
sequence with the design process. Examples of this would include signed and dated entries in a
bound notebook, or time stamps generated by digital collaboration platforms.

This references a bound notebook as an example of appropriate evidence.

If I were a team that wanted to be a top contender for the Design Award, I would make sure to use something that CLEARLY qualifies for the 5 points (without any discussion needed between your judges). Since the Judge Guide (and its enclosed Rubric) SPECIFICALLY states that a bound notebook or a time stamped digital are acceptable items, I would stick with one of those. Since some experienced judges are here having a discussion about spiral notebooks, I would avoid those (as that is a clear indication that this may be an area of discussion). Anything that requires a discussion between your judges instead of a simple “yep, 5 points” is something you should try to avoid!

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I am going to get flamed - but here is an example of physical notebook which would work:

Take a roll of toilet paper, write the date at top of roll, write your notes clearly, in ink that does not bleed, sequentially, following all the steps of engineering design process, and sign at end of entry and have some witness at end. Repeat. DO NOT tear sheets off! DO NOT use TP for intended purpose.

You would get 5 point bonus if the content is reasonably considered engineering process your team followed through the season.

I say this somewhat in jest, but the reality is that authentic engineering actually has messy documentation, that is authentic, and at times part of legal record of patent process. Ideas documented on “backs of menus, paper placemats,…” have all been included in memorializing an idea being rendered into utility.

Please do not come to my events with rolls of TP …

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Well NOW I want to come to one of your events just so I can bring you a roll of TP… :rofl:

I concur - a signed & dated TP entry should be considered bound, as long as the roll remains un-ripped.

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Me: Where did you put the engineering notebook? I can’t find it!

Teammate: Oh, that was the notebook?

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and unused for original purpose :slight_smile:

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And you can use it for the coach’s house at the end of the season. Built in after dark team bonding activity!

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OMG - please don’t!

well, if you give us golden roll of TP with no infill! Only solid gold matters!

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