Well done to all the teams who successfully competed in yesterday’s RoboSumo tournament. There were some very impressive performances, but of course many teams also experienced technical difficulties. Some teams overcame those difficulties while others sadly did not. Overall however, we (the RoboSumo tutors) were very impressed by what we saw, and especially by the dedication of the teams who battled on until the very last minute to get things working.
Inspirational Pep Talk
Damon and I were discussing yesterday’s tournament over lunch today and he shared (part of) the following thought-provoking quote from Rocky Balboa with me:
So to those teams who didn’t give up when the going got tough, in the spirit of Rocky we salute you! You may still have one or two things to learn about building robots, but you already possess one of the most important things you need to be good engineers: the ability to keep working together and problem solving even when the pressure is on.
Even if things went wrong for your team on the day of the competition, that’s not the end of the world in terms of formal assessment. Your final ranking only accounts for 25% of the total mark, although of course robots which performed well on the day are likely to score well in other categories too. The overall marking scheme for the module is described on the Module Info page of the RoboSumo Cookbook web site:
The module grade comprises four equally weighted components:
- 25% for competition ranking: Roughly speaking, this mark is allocated as follows. The overall winner gets 100% in this category, the lowest ranked team that meaningfully competed gets approximately 40%, and all of the teams in between are spaced evenly between 100% and 40%. Teams which did not compete meaningfully on the day (for example if a robot stopped working completely) are considered on a case-by-case basis. If a team made a reasonable effort to produce a working robot but were victims of “bad luck”, we would try to award them a mark close to 40%. However, if a team made no effort at all to produce a working robot and didn’t even weigh in on the day, they would receive a mark of 0% in this category. Under nomal circumstances, the same competition mark is awarded to all members of a team, but we reserve the right to rebalance the marks when we have evidence that one or more team members did not contribute satisfactorily to the team’s progress.
- 25% for individual contribution to the group process: This is basically how much the student contributed to an efficient and productive group work process. It rewards things like: attending class and meetings consistently, fulfilling personal responsibilities agreed with the team, conducting team meetings (possibly including chairing meetings, drawing up agendas and/or recording minutes), resolving conflicts within the team, teaching things to your team mates, learning things from your team mates, making useful contributions in team discussions, listening to your team mates, supporting good decision making practices, showing commitment to the team, working hard, etc. Things that would impact this mark negatively include: not turning up for class, not listening to your team mates, refusing to work together as a team, being disrespectful to your team mates, saying nothing in team meetings, refusing to compromise on team decisions, etc. Normally, our evidence for this category is drawn from your individual blog and from tutor observation of your team’s work (e.g. in the weekly lab session), as well as attendance records, etc.
- 25% for individual contribution to the team’s technical attainment: This is awarded based on the quality of your own technical work. The evidence for this category comes from your robot (which you should have submitted to us yesterday), from your individual blog, and from your tutor’s observation of your work. To maximise your mark in this category, ensure that all of your technical work is neatly documented in a professional fashion on your blog. Things like C code, circuit diagrams, photographs/videos of work carried out, mathematical analysis, experiments carried out, etc should be included on your blog.
- 25% for your blog: This mark reflects the quality of what you present on your blog. It reflects not only the quality of the work described, but also the presentation of the blog itself – Is the writing clear? Are the diagrams neat and clear? Is the C code correctly indented and commented? etc.
Since the blog not only earns 25% of your grade, but also feeds into two of the other 25% components in a very important way, by far the most important thing you can do now to maximise your overall grade for the module is to make your blog as good as possible. Remember, your blog is your opportunity to make sure we don’t overlook anything valuable you contributed to what your team achieved.
- Have you submitted your robot with a clear label showing your team name? If not, please do so without delay since the design inspection of all the robots is the next part of the assessment.
- Have you documented all of your own personal contributions to what your team achieved on your individual blog? This includes contributions to technical attainment as well as contributions to effective group work.
- Is your blog neat, clear and professional looking?
- If your robot did not function as expected on the day, does your blog include videos of the things you did get working? Videos are a great way to prove that you had some things working previously, which will help increase your grade.
- If you have spent time creating diagrams (circuit diagrams, flowcharts, design schematics, etc) or other content, please include your name in each image file so that if your team mates use the same images, we know who should receive credit for creating each image.