Digital Engineering Notebook

Is a digital engineering notebook scored lower than a physical one? We had one on a Google Doc but then we heard that a physical one is required??? Is there a difference between a printed notebook and a hand written one? We don’t really want to copy the 20 or so pages we wrote digitally…


A bound notebook gets an extra 3 points when scores are tallied. Here is the Design Award Rubircs Sheet

To add on, here is a link to the appendix for VRC awards, with a big chunk about the judged awards (excellence, design, judge’s, etc.) link
To clarify your first question about a hard copy: (quote from the document)

(page 6)
Best of luck!

I like that the notebook is to be non-digital. My kids have chromebooks in school and more often than not, the computer makes the assignment much tougher than it would be for pen and paper. We spent well over an hour on a 10 question assignment to look up items on a map. In addition, after almost 30 years as a manufacturing engineer, at every meeting I go to, each project I’m on, notes are taken with pen in a notebook.

Yea, my team tried to do one last year, but our coach said it isn’t accepted. I guess it mainly reflects the fact that the judges want you to get used to standard engineering design documentation with hand-drawn sketches, hand-written logs, etc…

Best of Luck

Digital notebooks don’t work really well for all judges across the board…

-There may be no internet access at the event.
-We can’t have judges responsible for your valuable technology (computer, tablet, etc.)
-We can’t ask judges to plug strange USB drives into their own devices. or judges may not have a device.

For these reasons engineering notebooks need to be at least printed and physically handed in to the event staff. Bonus points for a bound notebook.

Also for a notebook to be considered bound it has to be handwritten because a printed ‘bound’ notebook could have easily been changed throughout the season without the judges knowing. So if you want to win any awards handwritten is the way to go.

You are allowed to glue in printed pages, drawing, pictures, code, … just sign and date across the borders to show it has not been tampered with. This is described in the example notebooks provided to each organization when they register.

If you are like me and don’t have the neatest handwriting, this is the method you use. The judges at least in my area seem to prefer this method as it makes it easy to read.

Adding in printed material is always good(I do this in my notebook often) I have just noticed teams in my area get awards when in their bound notebook they use that as well as a handwritten log. Then again it is everyone’s personal preference and no notebook looks alike.