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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 09-10-2010, 07:27 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Several observations that may be of interest:

The few robotics competitions that include high school and college teams that I have been involved with, often result in a high school team outscoring college teams. Thus the FRC game might be appropriate for college level play as well. No need to invent a new game, just a new league. It would be cheaper for FIRST and the $6000 (?) fee for the college would be relatively cheap.

A goal of a college team should be to include non engineering students. An inner disciplinary team that includes English, Art, Humanities and Business majors in an engineering project would have a very positive impact on them as well as the engineering students.

The college teams should be required to submit a Chairman's paper and presentation and both should be public. We would all learn a lot from them.

I have heard from a number of former students how disappointing freshman engineering can be. They don't really have an authentic project until their senior year. (Not everyone goes to Olin college) For the FIRSTers, it is kind of a letdown after the adrenalin rush of their high school years.

A few years ago we had a graduate young lady enter ASU's college of Construction. She was just about the only female in her classes and felt maybe she might switch majors. After class one day, one of her professors asked if she had a moment. It seems the college had to make a presentation for an important grant and the faculty felt it would help if a student was part of the team. She accepted and asked why she was chosen. The professor replied, "Since you were on a FIRST team, you know how to work on a project and make presentations." They were awarded that grant. She graduates next spring with a B.S. in general construction.

A collegiate FIRST experience would include many challenges, not just the technical skills needed to build a robot. Organization, fund raising, communications, publicity, conflict management, scheduling, community outreach, networking... All the "real world" skills future engineers need to learn and practice before graduation.
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Unread 09-10-2010, 07:40 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
However, I am going to be completely blunt here, the vast majority of college students are not going to be good mentors yet. They are going to be, for want of a better description, college students.
Wouldn't this exact statement be a reason for a college level FIRST competition?

It has been debated for years now about college students roles as mentors, particularly ones in their first couple of years removed from high school. If these students can focus on their own competition wouldn't it help both sides? The college students can continue to develop skills and learn (what college is technically supposed to be for) while the high school students are not subject to "bad mentoring".


Considering we don't know much besides the word quadcopters I would suggest we stop speculating as to what the actual challenge is. Lets try to be constructive and offer our thoughts and experiences as college students who may be interested in something like this.


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Unread 09-10-2010, 08:01 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

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Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
No one goes to MIT or Caltech to major in English, and I've never heard of an incredibly successful engineer who went to Harvard.
<a slight veer off-topic>

Chris. Perhaps a little research is in order.
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Unread 09-10-2010, 08:21 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

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Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
FIRST is about inspiring students to pursue science and engineering as a career.
This is correct, the main goal of FIRST is to inspire students.

College students I believe fit that criteria. I think where your and my opinion is different is that once you hit college and choose a major your life isn't set in stone. I know tons of people who become engineers (aka earn a degree) who are not cut out to be one and shift gears way after their undergrad days. I also know quite a few people who became engineers long after they earned their first bachelor's degree. Who's to say you can't change your mind sometime down the road.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
The reason I react so strongly against this, though, is because I can't exactly see a way that this wouldn't take funding away from FRC teams. Colleges in FRC who want to do this would have to come up with thousands more dollars, so I bet more than a few would go "well we don't need to support that OTHER FIRST thing anymore". Any corporate money going to this would probably be better spent on new and sustainable FRC teams, which have a much higher "inspiration quotient" per team than any college team.
This is a legitimate concern, but cmon, this by no means is insurmountable. There would definitely be a correct way to do this versus just going out and gobbling up funding.

Keep in mind though, the amount of colleges that are involved with FRC versus the amount of colleges not involved with FRC are not even remotely comparable (meaning tons of colleges are not involved with FIRST). The only issues you would run into would be with colleges who already directly support FRC teams (meaning give money to a team), which is small potatoes compared to the entire college landscape.

Theres going to be challenges absolutely, but I don't see why a collegiate FRC program shouldn't exist. I think it very readily could be the answer to a lot of the concerns/issues involved with college mentors.

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Unread 09-10-2010, 09:47 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoboMom View Post

Originally Posted by Chris is me
No one goes to MIT or Caltech to major in English, and I've never heard of an incredibly successful engineer who went to Harvard.

<a slight veer off-topic>

Chris. Perhaps a little research is in order.
I have a friend who's an MIT graduate in History. He does have to explain his degree whenever the topic comes up.
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Unread 09-10-2010, 10:21 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Perhaps I'm jumping the gun on Collegiate FIRST. Sorry about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoboMom View Post
<a slight veer off-topic>

Chris. Perhaps a little research is in order.
I really should do some... I was going off personal experience and such. At RPI for example, engineering is a very difficult program to get into, and they have other disciplines they are kind of sort of working to build upon. I don't think they would be willing to finance a program that would make people stay at RPI longer after a late major shift, or one designed to overbloat their engineering program by making another 25 or so people jump ship every year..

While a lot of schools have large and broad programs in many disciplines, unlike high school many colleges specialize in liberal arts or the sciences. If you applied to MIT and got in, chances are you don't despise STEM and have already thought about this kind of thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon Holley View Post
College students I believe fit that criteria. I think where your and my opinion is different is that once you hit college and choose a major your life isn't set in stone. I know tons of people who become engineers (aka earn a degree) who are not cut out to be one and shift gears way after their undergrad days. I also know quite a few people who became engineers long after they earned their first bachelor's degree. Who's to say you can't change your mind sometime down the road.
I agree completely, but at the same time I guess I find it hard to believe that there would be an extracurricular that would successfully attract non-STEM students to work on an incredibly hard challenge in a discipline they didn't consider before college. It's hard enough getting "non robotics kids" on the team in high school, where every 10 seconds you're told you can do anything you want to with your life. How could this program appeal to different disciplines?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark McLeod View Post
I have a friend who's an MIT graduate in History. He does have to explain his degree whenever the topic comes up.
I actually know of someone who graduated from Caltech with an English degree. He did explain that he was one of 3 in his class year, and that the majority were double majors.
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Unread 09-10-2010, 11:57 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris is me View Post
I really should do some... I was going off personal experience and such.
It's hard when you make generalizations based on just personal experience.

Just a little FIRST story based on my personal experience.
I had the pleasure of being a judge at FRC events outside of my geographic area for 3 years. One of my judging partners worked for a very big, very famous company. This person was an engineer. This person gave money to the regional where we met as judges. And much to my surprise this person sent a check to help teams in my geographic area after I told a story about some teams.

This person graduated from Harvard.

I don't know what your definition of "incredibly successful engineer" is but I don't think it is the same as mine.
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Unread 09-10-2010, 12:51 PM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Some of the opposition I'm seeing to the idea of a FIRST competition for college students appears based on a misunderstanding of FIRST's goals. I won't dispute the claim that few students will change their direction and pursue engineering or technology based on the existence of such a competition. But I'll point out that the claim is not especially relevant to what FIRST is trying to do. Sure, we might not inspire more people to take up engineering as a profession, but in FIRST's name _I_nspiration is no more important than _R_ecognition.

We don't need to convince business or education or theatre majors to become engineers in order to promote the celebration of science and technology in society. We just need to make engineering an interesting everyday thing, as visible as art exhibits or concerts or football games. Some people become recognized as outstanding photographers or pianists or ball-throwers. If we find the right way to present things, some people will be similarly recognized as outstanding problem-solvers.

So don't dismiss a post-highschool engineering competition as undeserving of FIRST's attention. It's not the same focus as the programs aimed at younger students, but it can serve the same ultimate purpose.
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Unread 09-10-2010, 03:13 PM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

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Originally Posted by N7UJJ View Post
I have heard from a number of former students how disappointing freshman engineering can be. They don't really have an authentic project until their senior year. (Not everyone goes to Olin college) For the FIRSTers, it is kind of a letdown after the adrenalin rush of their high school years.
Freshmen engineering classes are definitely disappointing to many if you expect to be a shop rat all day long and are instead stuck at a desk doing integral after integral. That said, not getting involved in some kind of technical club at an engineering school is rather silly. You definitely don't need to go to Olin to get hands on experience. I didn't visit a school with a solid engineering program that didn't have student run engineering clubs like Formula SAE, Formula Hybrid, Mini Baja, Design/Build/Fly, Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge, etc. And if you end up at a school that doesn't have a team you're interested in, start one!
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Unread 09-11-2010, 07:38 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

So as a post from a day or so ago suggested, can we bring this discussion back around to what would make a good FIRST Collegiate Competition? I wonder of the Federal Communication Commission would mind FIRST using FCC as the moniker FRC, FTC, FLL

So I am on record as having something kit based, no wheels allowed (Hooverbot, quadcopter, blimp...) with expanded autonomous and more emphasis on sensors with a desire for machine to machine interaction.

Any other ideas out there?
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Unread 09-11-2010, 08:05 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

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We will have an official release in the near future and it should paint a more broad picture of where we are headed.
Who is the 'we'?

Jane
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Unread 09-11-2010, 01:51 PM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

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Who is the 'we'?

Jane
I'm beginning to wonder the same thing. Bill's Blog hasn't had anything, or email blast, Dean hasn't said anything either, and CD isn't the most official means for FIRST to begin discussion on a topic.
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Unread 09-11-2010, 11:37 PM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Thank you all for the very serious discussion! You bring up a plethora of important obstacles, decisions and talking points. It's clear why it has taken so long for FIRST to come this far, and I hope we can address many of these challenges and emphasize the good in the months ahead as we develop the pilot program.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schuetze View Post
So as a post from a day or so ago suggested, can we bring this discussion back around to what would make a good FIRST Collegiate Competition? I wonder of the Federal Communication Commission would mind FIRST using FCC as the moniker FRC, FTC, FLL

So I am on record as having something kit based, no wheels allowed (Hooverbot, quadcopter, blimp...) with expanded autonomous and more emphasis on sensors with a desire for machine to machine interaction.

Any other ideas out there?
There's more than one reason we use Collegiate instead of University!

Quote:
Originally Posted by JaneYoung View Post
Who is the 'we'?

Jane
The current "we" is comprised of college faculty and administration, students from college and FIRST programs around the country and mentors from various FIRST programs. The group is working with support from Manchester and actively recruiting additional members. If you or anyone else is interested, please talk to me; there are a number of roles to be filled. Clearly, there is a lot to be considered in designing a pilot!

Thank you again everyone for the feedback! All of your comments have been and will continue to be reviewed and taken seriously. I'm sure you'll hear more from us in the future!
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Unread 12-05-2010, 01:42 AM
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Re: Collegiate FIRST competition

Today we have an update for everyone interested in this program.

The planning committee is happy to share with you our kickoff video for the 2011 pilot event to be hosted at the World Festival in St. Louis!

Here is the link to the 20-minute kickoff video: http://vimeo.com/17484250

We stress this in the video, but let me just repeat it here: everything is preliminary! There are many components of the pilot pending official marketing approval and, as this is a pilot, some aspects of the program are bound to change.

Please enjoy and we welcome your feedback!
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Unread 12-05-2010, 03:00 AM
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College level First!

http://vimeo.com/17484250

A new tier of FIRST is now in it's pilot stage, and the video which gives an over view of the whole program was released only a few hours ago. Rules are as follows, enjoy!

https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&p...thkey=CM2L9sIG
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