[FRC Blog] Skill Building Update: Intro to Programming Module

Dare you to republish it


Can confirm this is due to whether or not you’ve paid for the 2022 season. I just paid and the “Access Thinkscape” button appeared. Hope this helps…


The response to comments on the blog seem to indicate the lack of access is a website issue and not a payment required to access issue. But maybe not. The Romi Kit is back ordered anyway.

Good to hear that it’s related to being paid. Our team did a lot of work with the Romi’s last spring and found it to be super helpful. Between the ones we bought and some more from a grant that we received, we’ll be able keep our programmers learning.

The competition that @Lockjaw8y9 mentioned should be a ton of fun! We really enjoyed competing in the New England events this year.

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@FrankJ it was good to see you at GRITS!

Maybe there’s multiple issues going on. For me, it was literally “not there; pay balance; button appears”.

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The blog comments did not mention that is was related being paid. Maybe the person answering the comment did not know it was an requirement or whomever programmed the button didn’t know it wasn’t. With First, it could be either :slight_smile:

Grits was a blast. Even with the necessary Covid precautions.

Emailed FIRST; they confirmed that you shouldn’t have to be paid up, but there was an error in the setup so only paid teams see the button.

They’re working on a fix.

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There you go. Talking to some one that actually knows rather than participating in baseless rumors. That will get you thrown in CD jail. :slight_smile:

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FIRST has the opportunity to engage with our community in the places where it gathers and converses, but they decline.


See this is what I get for trying to overcome my lurking habit and actually participate instead. :smiley:

Thoughts on the content of the course so far? Curious what you all think of it.

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TL;DR It is a mixed bag: admin is terrible, content is good, but very limited at this time. Has great potential

If you are not listed as “Mentor 1” or “Mentor 2” in firstinspires.org you won’t have access to the setup links and will need to get your lead mentors to add/invite you to mythinkscape AND to generate the invitation code and invitation URL to share with students. You won’t have access to student progress. [Edit: the helpful staff at firstinspires.org were able to grant me access to student progress reports and the class. Just had to email FIRSTeducation@firstinspires.org]

As the programming mentor for our team, but not listed as Mentor 1 or 2 this is an exercise in frustration. FIRST support is very kind, but won’t or can’t open mentor access more. I find putting so many hurdles in the way of signing up a mystery. I think students should be able to sign up directly with or without mentor approval. Students should not even need to be FIRST members for that matter.

The content is good, but at this time with just the one introduction module, limited to installing software, setting up your Romi, and the very beginning of an introduction to Java. No significant programming yet.

Module 2 is promised for the Nov/Dec time frame. I’m looking forward to this. I hope it covers Command Based programming.

Lessons alternate between instructive text, embedded web pages from
docs.wpilib.org, original instructional videos, and a few multiple choice and matching questions. I think they’re doing a good job of giving context and explaining the material. The videos are well done.

I have to test this out more, but it seems like just scrolling past the multiple choice questions checks them off as complete. The questions are not comprehensive in any sort of class for a grade way.

For the experience programmers module 1 is remedial, but for those students who just got assigned to our programming sub-team, it’s been very helpful. Especially if you put a physical Romi on the desk next to the student and they know they’ll be able to program and drive it once they get through the module.

There is an “Internship Portfolio” thread throughout the lessons, that is poorly explained. The internship portfolio is the student pretending to be an intern tasked with making the robot collect parts in a factory/warehouse and move them to a given location. Basically using the Romi as a bulldozer. Here is part of the instruction for that:

“To demonstrate what you have learned from your internship, you will present this solution portfolio to your team or mentors. Download the template below to fill out offline as you document your learning outcomes. It can become a working notebook to help your team learn and troubleshoot their programming skills.”

There’s a PDF document you can fill out ( https://info.firstinspires.org/hubfs/Education_Resources/thinkscape/FRC/RomiProgramming/Internship%20portfolio.pdf ), that as best I can tell the student is suppose to self-report what they did and learned. Are they expected to give this to a mentor? I don’t see any grading rubric.

The internship part is minor, easy to skip over, and just a story to help motivate the lesson.


Makes sense! A basics course is what we need. I’m starting to have our kids take the course today. I noticed that once 1 mentor gives the students the short registration url they can all share it and post it on team channels. They can register themselves. Its in the format of http://mythinkscape.com/register/{code}. Then if you want you can organize students behind the scenes, see progress, etc (mentors only).

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Can we get an update for the appearance of Module 2?

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It was announced today and is available as a 2nd course in Thinkscape. Students that are already in the system should see it automatically. I confirmed that with a few of my students.

Our team bought some Romis & intend to use them to build skills over the summer. These modules seem like a good fit, but access is apparently limited to lead mentors, and none of our lead mentors mentor programming. Are there any workarounds or alternative course materials of similar quality?

Lead mentors can grant other mentors access through the portal. You can also contact FIRSTeducation@firstinspires.org if this is not working for your team for some reason.