White-Out in an Engineering Log Book

Regarding the engineering log book, since it is recommended that you write in black ink rather than pencil, because pencil is easily erased, would that then mean that you aren’t allowed to use white-out either?

Use a simple black line across passages you deem in error, For judges, this is good to track idea development. Whiteout is not a good approach in my opinion.

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Never ever use white out. You could very easily get your notebook eliminated from consideration.

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Why would it be eliminated just for using whiteout?

If the person wrote over the whiteout, that would be of concern.

However, read through the judges guide and you will see a lot of leeway is given in the judges being able to consider many factors for awards.

I would focus on the substance - are you able to meet all the criteria in the Design Rubric to be at mastery or above? Are ALL your team members able to articulate it as well? Is the robot reflective of all this?

Design and engineering is not formulaic - but the artifacts you present should be authentic.

It shouldn’t be eliminated, but formatting (including error correction methods) could make a difference in a close call (maybe by reducing the “record of team and project management” points some, depending on other aspects of the notebook).

From Judge’s Guide:

All Engineering Notebooks should contain these elements:
• Team number on the cover
• Written in ink with errors crossed out using a single line (so errors can be seen)
• Notebook has not been edited

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Look, I do advocate using single line cross out, however my students and all teams are human. I look to see how skills have evolved by the team when judging. So the assertion, “definitely frowned upon” is perhaps overly sweeping, and with regards to mastery of any skills, the team may not be there yet!

This program is about growth, so what better artifact as evidence of growth than the team notebook? with all of it blemishes that get polished during the season? If you want to show growth, the first pages of the notebook should be a lot less polished than late season. Why? Despite thinking you know the game, teams are really not sure. Be honest.,

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Fair enough - definitely depends on the judges, too, as to whether they will make certain things a big deal or not.

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My context lies primarily at middle school competitions. That said, there is sometimes where too polished and/or rehearsed may rub wrong with judging team as not authentic.

Team members should all be able to speak about the robot, team notebook should demonstrate all members contributed to the understanding of the problems and solutions, and the robot itself should be able to be recreated using the engineering notebook (not logbook)

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My expectations may differ than others who volunteer as judges. However, my background in the so-called real world, I hope informs me as to what to consider when looking at any team notebooks. To date, I have been impressed with the effort and the resulting notebooks at all levels of VRC.

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As a science teacher, this is something I keep trying to ingrain in my students. A strikethrough is only way to edit a page. Also, when working on a large collaborative project, unless it is just a spelling error, make sure to…

  1. Initial near it so teammates can see who made the change
  2. Explain the nature of the change nearby
  3. Keep everything as neat and readable as possible.

Remember that real engineering notebooks can be revisited years after an entry was made, and it is important to communicate information regarding an edit.

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Don’t get hung up on having a notebook with no neat single-line edits. The point is, many students are getting the wrong idea about the engineering notebook. It is NOT like a school assignment, report, or publication you turn in at the end of a project. That would be a presentation. The judges are looking at the “Design Process” and using the rubric from the Judges Guide (https://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2019/08/judge-guide-2019-20.pdf/ ) to make the evaluation. In the judge’s guide, look at page 11 and following, and pages 26-27 for the rubric. While it’s good to be at least legible, the judges are not scoring the notebook based on handwriting, grammar, layout, sentence structure, etc, but on the points of the rubric (just look at the rubric…there’s no place to score “penmanship”. But if it’s so sloppy that the judges can’t find the rubric information, then you will not receive the points. Some teams index-tab the notebook to each rubric item so the judges can find the information (as a judge, I like reading notebooks that do this).

Now, if your team wants to make a great presentation, like a school assignment, do it in addition to your notebook. Don’t turn it in with the EN, but rather use it during your interview to impress the judges with the great stuff you’ve done. Some teams, especially younger ones, like the “science fair” style display boards…again, it is a tool to help you make your interview go better by providing some visual resources.

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This ^^^
Teams should not waste their time re-transcribing information just to have a pretty Engineering Notebook. That is not the point of the EN. It should be a contemporaneous documentation of the engineering design process of your robot. The good, bad, and the ugly.

I tell my students not to totally scratch anything out (it is a bad habit to break). There are times that you might think you made a mistake, scratch it out then come back later and find that it was actually correct. That is why you don’t want to white out or obliterate anything you’ve written. I’ve heard anecdotal stories about inventors, lining through a perceived error then coming back later and realizing that it was not a mistake but a discovery. ALWAYS LINE THROUGH ONCE

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“This team used white out, so their engineering notebook should be disqualified.” Said by no judge, ever.

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I do all my professional Engineering notebooks in pencil.

I carry around a pink eraser to make edits frequently. (generally to make my scratches neater)

Writing in Pen would cause me stress, I Know none of my judges would care or notice something is written in pencil as opposed to pen. Maybe judges at Worlds Care, but locally I doubt it.

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I always write my notebooks in pen. It’s on the design rubric that you should, and it is recommended for a few very good reasons:

  • So they know your thought process. If you erase a mistake you made, they’re not going to know what you did wrong and neither are you if you need to look back on it.
  • If someone were to get ahold of your book, they could just go ahead and erase whatever they want off of your pages. That’s unlikely but that’s why you should write in pen.
  • If it really is a big deal for you to write it in pen, write on a separate piece of paper first and then put it in the notebook. In my opinion, that takes way too long and the judges won’t care how many cross outs there are on the page, they just want the information.
  • It just looks more professional. I know that content is more important than the way that it is written but using pencil means that you could erase your mistakes and not show how you improved.
    So, I would just say that you should cross through any mistakes you make with a line, initial or sign it so that they know that you did it, and then correct the mistake beside of it. I know that judges wouldn’t care too much but those reasons above are why I don’t. Good luck with your notebook.
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sure,

I simply said my professional one that I use everyday is in pencil.

I hear a lot of “in the real world it HAS to be in pen” and I’m just pushing back against that.

The worst thing about pencil is that it smears, but I’ll trade that for the ability to adjust format, spelling mistakes, general neatness, and not having to cross out frivolous mistakes.

If I am taking data, and need to fix an error I still do single line cross outs for the reason stated above.

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I have been a judge at a competition and what we looked for was not the nit picky stuff whether a team used white out instead of crossing out a word. We looked at whether they were following the engineering design process

Don’t get hung up on having a notebook with no neat single-line edits. The point is, many students are getting the wrong idea about the engineering notebook. It is NOT like a school assignment, report, or publication you turn in at the end of a project. That would be a presentation. The judges are looking at the “Design Process” and using the rubric from the Judges Guide (https://www.roboticseducation.org/documents/2019/08/judge-guide-2019-20.pdf/ ) to make the evaluation. In the judge’s guide, look at page 11 and following, and pages 26-27 for the rubric. While it’s good to be at least legible, the judges are not scoring the notebook based on handwriting, grammar, layout, sentence structure, etc, but on the points of the rubric (just look at the rubric…there’s no place to score “penmanship”. But if it’s so sloppy that the judges can’t find the rubric information, then you will not receive the points. Some teams index-tab the notebook to each rubric item so the judges can find the information (as a judge, I like reading notebooks that do this).

Now, if your team wants to make a great presentation, like a school assignment, do it in addition to your notebook. Don’t turn it in with the EN , but rather use it during your interview to impress the judges with the great stuff you’ve done. Some teams, especially younger ones, like the “science fair” style display boards…again, it is a tool to help you make your interview go better by providing some visual resources.

We did not look for pretty, but make sure that the engineering notebook is organised. A good tip is to make sure that the judge is able to look through the notebook and is able to recreate your robot as well as the code.

Edit: spelling

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We did not look for pretty, but make sure that the engineering notebook is organised. A good tip is to make sure that the judge is able to look through the notebook and is able to recreate your robot as well as the code.

Edit: spelling

So the judges can recreate the team’s robot and recreate the code? Or they use the code that the team made and attach it to the notebook? If recreating the code, how can the judges recreate the code from the notebook?

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ETA - you really should have put this question in your current thread about notebooks and not brought back an older post about something only loosely related.

Per the judge’s guide eng notebook rubric:

Usefulness and repeatability - Records the entire design and development process in such great clarity and detail that the reader could recreate the project’s history and build the current robot from the notebook.

Build and program the solution - Records the steps to build and program the solution. Includes enough detail that the reader could recreate the solution following the steps in the Notebook.

The judges expect to be able to read through the notebook and clearly follow the steps you took to do the building and the programming, which should be recorded with “such great clarity and detail” that they would be able to rebuild and reprogram your robot if desired.

The code is generally developed much as the robot itself is; you had a starting place, you made necessary changes, and you ended up with a final code that you used in competition. After competition testing, you saw what needed to be fixed and (hopefully) made adjustments to the code. These are the steps that the judges want to see; a possible way to do so would be to print out and glue in the starting code, snippets when minor changes are made, and the full code when major changes are made.

The judges should be able to recreate the code from the notebook by looking in the notebook and finding the code you used, which you should be printing and putting in the notebook as changes to it are made…

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