Thank you for your question.
It is true that the Engineering Notebook criteria has been more open ended in the past. This has resulted in some confusion amongst teams as to what is expected by judges. The current VEX IQ Engineering Notebook requirements have been adopted to help teams understand what judges are looking for, especially as teams move on to Worlds.
The VEX IQ Engineering Notebook supplied by the REC Foundation did change this year. In previous years the notebook given to VEX IQ teams was the same notebook given to VRC teams. The new Engineering Notebook was developed to be more age appropriate for VEX IQ students, especially elementary students. The inside cover of the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook contains notes that explain to teachers and other adult mentors the documentation that should be included as well as how to record entries in the notebook.
The example that is on line was chosen because it is the best example available at this time of what judges should be looking for. It included student inputs, examples of code, and drawings. The format differs somewhat from the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook for the simple reason that the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook did not exist last year. There should be a new example Engineering Notebook posted next year that will feature the new VEX IQ Engineering Notebook.
The Design Rubric outlines the criteria judges use during their evaluation of team notebooks. It is made available to teams so that they are aware of the criteria that judges use. The rubric contains a bonus of 3 points for bound Engineering Notebooks. At this time, judges are still instructed to accept all Engineering Notebooks submitted. However unbound notebooks will be at a disadvantage in terms of judging. Teams should understand that judges may also take a notebook’s format into account as they make their deliberations on the Design and Excellence award.
The new document differentiating between notebook content and journals is also new this season. The purpose of this document was to further define the content that Engineering Notebooks should include.