Design Book Question

My team had a question regarding how to record practice sessions for skills. We’ve read through the rubric and the last 3 steps are just: Build/Program Solution, Test Solution, Repeat. It’s quite vague so we are confused when we can implement our record of skills runs and programming skills improvements.

For driver skills, planning the route is designing and creating your solution, practicing the route is testing your solution and getting feedback, and changing the route is making improvements to your solution based on feedback, which could be slight modifications or completely redoing the design process to create a better route.

Programming your skills route is designing and creating your solution, running it on the field is testing your solution and getting feedback, then improving your program is making improvements to your solution based on feedback, which could be slight modifications or completely redoing the design process to create a better route/program.

In terms of actually logging practice sessions, start the log as you would any other day, talk about how your practicing went (i.e. what were your high scores for the day, did your driver consistently make one mistake, etc.), if you make any changes to your route (or program for prog skills), make sure you state what they were and why you made them. If you spent the whole time planning routes, talk about the different routes you considered, why you chose the one you did, and how you plan to design your program to execute your prog route.


I agree with @Anomalocaris, with some additions from personal experience. I generally wrote down notes run by run (how many points scored, any mistakes/errors made, observations, changes made). This is a little tedious but you can adjust this to maybe only a summary every half hour or something similar. If we ever referred to a route popularized by a notable team, we would cite the video and explain the pros/cons of that route.

Also, my team members liked to record each run so that we could look at errors frame by frame. That way, we could make adjustments to driving or programming more accurately. Since we already had all these clips of many, many runs, we would just compile them into a Google Drive folder and then print out a QR code of the folder link for the judges to look at.

Obviously these are just personal preferences and ideas. I can’t tell you for sure how much they impacted judging.


I never thought of a QR code… That’s a genius way to include videos in your notebook!


Well, except I’ve had judges tell our team that they don’t like it, and won’t scan/go to the video on their mobile device. You can try it, but it’s not a great idea.


Thank you for the advice.

Do the judges in your region prefer a particular way for video sharing on the design book?

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the judges in my region haven’t ever specified a way of video sharing, and when my team also had a Qr code on my notebook the judges told us that they didn’t have enough time to look at the codes and they told us to stick with pictures.
(my team competes in the same region as Josh)


Do you think it’s still a good idea to put codes in just in case the judges would like to see videoa?


Sure, just don’t make it your only resource.


Alright, thanks for the feedback.

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A better idea is to wait for the Judges Guide to be released for this season. In past, the focus is book and interview. Watching videos is not part of the engineering notebook review. Look carefully at the rubric and focus your attention there.

This year there may be some accommodations in the judging process due to pandemic.


Sorry if slightly off topic but isn’t this the new judges guild or is another updated version being released?

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That is the 2019 season Judge Guide. At the RECF/VEX Town Hall Dan Mantz indicated much work is being done with regards to judging in light of pandemic - this work will be discussed in details during the EP Summit mid-July and released shortly after.

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I would guess that one way to stay ahead of com petition is to journal like you always do, or show your methods of overcoming these inconveniences. Makes an impressive journal entry to show that a panicdemic won’t stop your team.

Yeah, what most teams miss about the design book is that it requires planning. Usually they leave it for another member of the team who doesnt show up as often so they can focus on the more fun parts such as building and programming. But nothing ever gets done so it ends up being completed a week before the competiton.

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Wait is the design book the same as a engineering notebook? I’m confused??

Yeah. Design Book is another name for the Engineering Notebook. They’re the same thing.


Okay thank you, I was just making sure!

In the past, versions of the engineering (design) notebook that were turned in by handing the judges a computer or a tablet was NOT allowed. That would include links to any video resources as well. There are several reasons for this. One, a real world engineering notebook would NOT have links to videos. Two, from a practical standpoint of running an event, asking judges to view videos as well as puts an undo burden on them.

That being said, event partners like myself will be finding out about how those notebooks will be handled this season in the next few days.