Determining the judging format (In-person or Remote) that an event will offer requires a conversation between the Judge Advisor and Event Partner. Ultimately the decision on the judging format falls to the Event Partner, but the Judge Advisor should be comfortable with working in the chosen format. Remote judging can help manage volunteer resources available for the event day, but judge volunteers need to be comfortable with any additional time and/or technology requirements that may be required of them.
All teams being judged for an event should be judged in the same format to ensure consistency in the judging experience, and to remove the potential of format-based bias from impacting deliberations. For example, if Competition Logbooks are being submitted for evaluation via links to digital logbooks ahead of the event for some teams, then physical logbooks should not be evaluated in-person the day of the event for other teams.
Remote judging follows all of the guidelines of in-person judging. This section is to highlight the key differences in the judging process if some of the judging tasks usually done in person are conducted remotely. Remote judging can occur in the form of Remote Digital Competition Logbook Judging, or Remote Initial Judged Team Interviews, or a combination of both, as follows:
Note: Remote judging does not take the place of in-person follow up interviews and deliberations on the day of the event – it is meant to provide flexibility for Event Partners and judging volunteers to perform some judging tasks ahead of the event day. Remote judging can allow a smaller group of Judges to take advantage of the longer time frame by scheduling judging ahead of the event, and also allows for the utilization of Judge volunteers that may not be able to attend an event in person.
Digital Competition Logbook links are uploaded by the Primary Team Contact in their RobotEvents.com account. The Event Partner and the Judge Advisor should determine a deadline by which all teams must have their links uploaded, thus giving the Judges adequate time to begin reviewing the Digital Competition Logbooks. The EP will share that list of links with the Judge Advisor, who will assign Judges to review each Digital Competition Logbook according to the Competition Logbook evaluation process (see Section 5). All Digital Competition Logbook should be evaluated under similar conditions and time constraints.
Scheduling the Remote Judging Volunteers – Interview scheduling requires coordination between the Event Partner and Judge Advisor, Remote Judges, and the teams. It is recommended to first create a schedule of interview times, then ensure that Remote Judges and the Judge Advisor are available for those times. While the Judge Advisor may not need to participate in an interview, it is highly recommended that they be on hand to help manage any issues that may arise. Additionally, if a Remote Judge ends up not being able to attend or has a technology issue, the Judge Advisor can step in and serve as a Remote Judge so teams can be interviewed at their scheduled time.
Scheduling the Teams – Remote Initial Team Interview sign-up times can be manually scheduled by the Event Partner, or an easier method may be for teams to schedule themselves via a first-come, first-served sign-up system. It is recommended that remote interviews be completed a few days ahead of the event in case extra time is needed due to a volunteer or technology issue disrupting the schedule.
If there are enough Remote Judge volunteers to support it, multiple interviews can be conducted in parallel. For example, using a single remote judging link with a main room for incoming teams and breakout rooms for each team of Remote Judges. Teams are then moved from the main room into a breakout room for their interview. It may be helpful to have two adults (the Judge Advisor and another event staff member) greet teams in the main room as they arrive, ensure they have their adult representative visible on camera, and ensure it is the correct team for the time slot, before moving teams in to see their Remote Judges. Having this “waiting room” also prevents teams from inadvertently interrupting another team’s interview. Note: Past experience has shown that half-hour interview cycle times work well. Thirty-minutes allows ample time for teams to enter the remote judging environment, for Remote Judges to conduct a 10-15 minute interview, and for Remote Judges to have time to discuss, score the interview, and fill out the Initial Award Candidate Ranking Sheet, before the next team arrives.