[FRC Blog] Awards Section of FRC Administrative Manual Posted


**Awards Section of FRC Administrative Manual Posted
**Blog Date: **Thursday, December 19, 2013 - 10:10
The awards section of the manual has been posted. You can find it here.

You’ll see we’ve added a FIRST 3D Printing Award, sponsored by America Makes and ORNL, to be presented at Championship, to go along with the 3D printers we’re making available through FIRST Choice – once FIRST Choice is up and running. As you’ve seen from their recent updates, our Kit of Parts team, Kate and Collin, has been working very hard with our friends at AndyMark to fix the issues we’ve experienced. I join them in sincerely apologizing to you for the problems, and thank you for your continued patience as we work through this. I’d also like to thank our wonderful FIRST IT staff for their advice and additional support on this issue as well, they’ve been tremendously helpful.

One thing you will not see in the award section is the return of the 3D Design and Animation award. I haven’t given up on this yet, but we are running out of time to put this in place for the 2014 season. This sounds like it should be a simple thing, but every award has lots of moving parts that need to work together. I’ll let you know one way or the other when the decision on this award is finalized.


Here is the actual link to the Award Section of the manual: http://frc-manual.usfirst.org/viewItem/9

EDIT: OP has now added it to his post.

Some interesting questions that I have regarding the Chairman’s Award section (that CD probably can’t provide a solid answer, so I’ll go through FIRST Q/A too, just thought I’d put them here as well):

  • The Executive Summary is no longer referred to as the Executive Summary in the manual? Is there a title for this section, or are we just now going to refer to it as the questions to fill out in STIMS? (Or even better: The Section Formerly Known as Executive Summary
  • One mentor is now officially allowed in the presentation as an observer
    only. If a mentor does this, they are considered one of the three people in the room. Why does the mentor have to count as part of the three? It seems like it would benefit everyone if a mentor was allowed to observe without taking away the spot from student presenter.
  • The content of the video must be in English. Once again… why? I feel like this could negatively affect some international teams. Language is an integral part of culture, and the video is a perfect way to highlight teams’ cultures. I understand judges needing to understand what the video is about. Wouldn’t English sub-titles be sufficient?


*]Why is the video part of the submission not judged still? If it’s a requirement, and judges have access to it, and it must be done appropriately, then why is it not officially judged?

I agree with this. I think it’s kind of silly to have this pseudo-requirement that kinda-sorta-somewhat-butnotreally matters. Why not require it as a piece of your presentation? Or just don’t tell teams to do it.

I think that they require videos from Chairman’s teams so they have something easy to show of what the teams are doing. However, it does seem odd to me that it isn’t officially used in the judging process. As a student, we spent about the same amount of time on the video as we did on the essay. It would make sense for both pieces to be used in judging.

My assumption is that the video isn’t judged because the Chairman’s Award isn’t about making videos.

However, I disagree with the CA judges last year who flatly refused to watch the video that one team intended to use as the opening part of their presentation. Most teams prepare a pamphlet or booklet or scrapbook or something to show the judges, don’t they? If video is part of a team’s community outreach or sponsorship search or general awareness-raising, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with showing that.

I was not aware this had happened. I was under the belief that if a team wanted to use videos in their presentation, they were more than free too. Am I mistaken on this?

If this is the case (and I’m not disagreeing), then why is it a requirement of the submission at all?

It seems that the video exists so FIRST has more things to publicize. Which is not a bad reason. I’d just like it to be clear that this is the case, and I’d then like reasons why it is not judged.

The video is the part of the CA submission that takes the most time for my students. I feel that their time and efforts should be rewarded with feedback and judging towards the award.

I do think that the video should either be admissible as a judged item or not required. There is so much effort that goes into making a video that would be worthy of showing to a regional or championship audience. That is one reason why we decided to make the video part of our presentation. After all of that effort by the kids, we wanted to ensure that someone watched it.

In almost every other student activity, there is either direct or indirect feedback. If you are a programmer you see your robot move, if you write the Chairmans Award, someone reads it. Even if they do not win, Kids want to know that their efforts will be valued and considered by others.

[li]One mentor is now officially allowed in the presentation as an observer only. If a mentor does this, they are considered one of the three people in the room. Why does the mentor have to count as part of the three? It seems like it would benefit everyone if a mentor was allowed to observe without taking away the spot from student presenter. [*]
Not a huge fan of this. As a three time Chairman’s presenter (One Regional Chairman’s, one EI), I feel like it almost takes away part of the experience. It’s completely understandable that the mentors want to be in the interview room because they put in a ton of work with the students when working on the Chairman’s presentation and it’s other aspects, however having gone through the process a few times, part of the experience is being independent towards the end of working through the presentation and getting the students to a level in which they are able to do it themselves. Also, if a mentor does come into the interview, they cannot provide any information, and can only observe. This accordingly means that it compromises the number of open positions for students if the team chooses to have a mentor in the room.

It’s certainly and interesting change to the rules.

I definitely agree with your first point, that it would benefit teams to have the mentor observing.

This may not always be a negative thing, especially not for smaller or newer teams. If the team only has ~10 students, you may not be willing to have 1/3 of your team give a presentation, especially if you have a match soon to follow. Also if the team is newer, or has many new students, it may be more beneficial to have just 2 students present and a mentor there to give advice afterwards.

While I am unsure of the reasons for this change, I am interested to see what other teams decide to do.

The change is different from what you are thinking.

The rules, for as long as i can remember, have allowed 3 team members (students or adults) to present. As the rule was written, 3 mentors could present for a team if they desired. Personally, i have never seen a mentor on a presentation team, but i believe there are some teams that do that and it was clearly allowable.

This rule change makes it clear that one person on the presentation team can be a mentor, but they cannot present. The limit is still 3 team members.

For most teams, the rule change will have no effect.

From the 2013 FIRST Rules ***“Not more than three team members (students and/or adult mentors) from each team are allowed to present.” ***

This issue was corrected for the affected team.

For the Chairman’s Video - Alan is right. The CA is not about how good of a video you can make, and if it was judged, the award could become just that.

In the early years, the RCA could be submitted any way a team wanted and there was a lot of work and effort put into the presentation format. We presented in binders, in the form of a newspaper, as a formatted word document, and many teams did similar. Many felt that there was too much work put into the style, not enough into the presentation content.

As the award is now, the team materials and student presentation is what is being judged. That is part of the reason for the online submission in a basic text format.

Requiring a video is mixed. It is a lot of work, for something that might not be show at the event, but there is nothing to stop a team from using their video as a school promotion, posting it on YouTube, showing sponsors, etc.

I don’t where I fall on the “Chairman’s Video” discussion so I’m going to comment on something I noticed in the Awards Section.

The Entrepreneurship Award is VERY different. I’ve heard of teams submitting 50+ page Business Plans. I understand that that is maybe necessary given a team’s history but that would be extremely hard to judge. Restricting the characters and providing a pretty strict format will make it easier.

But holy cow(s) did the Business Plan portion change!!

I’m actually not sure if it did, and since I’m no longer a student, I can’t check.

The manual states:

A formal business plan is submitted through STIMS at (https://my.usfirst.org/stims/site.lasso).

Then there’s a bolded and udnerlined, “Business Plan Template”(which I believe was a hyperlink to a template last year) but then goes on to say that an executive summary must be filled out; is what’s referred to as the “executive summary” replacing the business plan? It doesn’t reference having to upload a PDF or anything.

I made my award submitters log in to STIMS with me on November 14th to poke around and make sure they understood what was needed for the submissions (we had an issue last year with the submitters for one of the awards logging in the 2nd to last day and then scrambling…)

We were shocked to see the massive amount of changes to the business plan submission process. My understanding is that last year, it was just uploading of a document. This year, it’s a lot of individual sections with maximum character limits. While I wish this was released/made public much earlier in the season (we pretty much develop our business plan at the beginning of the year), I understand that this makes the submissions much easier to compare and judge. We’re one of those 50+ page business plan teams. We’ll pare it down and make it fit the new format.

I think the itemized list for the executive summary for chairman’s is new too, rather than a free form maximum character space.

Of course, as a mentor, I don’t have access to these screens, so I’m going off memory.

I was confused as well. However, I had a current student log in and we checked it out. There is no document upload spot. It’s just the 8 different 1600 character sections. There are also 4 different picture uploads.

I agree with MechEng83. I would have liked to have known this information in advance but it’s ok. We still have about 2 months.

Also, the Chairman’s Executive Summary has changed. There are now 12 sections. I noticed a marked emphasis on how FRC teams build up other FIRST teams in the questions. It makes sense, we heard that kind of feedback last year at our presentation.