Design Notebook

Last updated: Sep 27, 2020 at 2:26pm


You are required to keep an up-to-date design notebook throughout the term... this is an essential design practice that documents the history of your work. Your design notebook contributes to a significant portion of the individual component of your final grade.

Notebooks are required in professional practice as they are important legal documents. A notebook is your working design document, and it is populated as you work. Notebooks should not be after-the-fact make-work. At the same time, your notebook should also be something that you are proud of... something that you could show to a potential employer.

Physical Notebooks

In general, notebooks should be either a 8.5 x 11 spiral-bound book (to make scanning easier) or a standard-bound engineering notebook. Unlined notebooks are preferred. This year, we will be providing notebooks for you.

Use your design notebook to document all of your work and contributions towards your team's project. The notebook will also be used for a required reflection entry after each project milestone. You should always bring your up-to-date notebook to team meetings and any project-related activities. Please do not use the notebook for lecture notes. Notebooks are working documents, but they must provide a comprehensible trail for your product development effort. Illegible notebooks will receive a poor grade.

Please be sure to write the date on each page when you make entries and use indelible ink. Design notebooks are legal documents.

Online Notebooks

You will submit digital images of four pages from your notebook every other week on Wednesdays before 10pm. The dates of these are listed on the syllabus. This will be used to build an online record of your key contributions that can be accessed by classmates during peer reviews, as well as used by your instructor for grading. The process of selecting your highlights is a form of reflection that contributes to the learning experience. You may, if you wish, make special summary pages in your notebook that document your contributions in each milestone and include that in the online submission.

In addition, you will submit your milestone reflection from your notebook after each milestone on Mondays.

Submissions for both milestone reflections and notebook images are made through your dashboard.

Please do not make sloppy submissions! The scans must be legible, right side up, and appropriately cropped. Unintelligible images will be considered incomplete. You will be using your student dashboard to upload these documents.

Scanning Your Notebook Pages

Unless you have access to a fancy flatbed scanner, there are a variety of tools to help you get a clear, crisp image of your notebook page. Please do not simply take a photo with your phone's camera app. Instead, try a document scanning app if you choose to use your phone. We recommend the Dropbox Doc Scanner, a free app for iPhone and Android which comes with a variety of nifty features to help you get a good image (adjust the contrast, straighten out the document, etc.)

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