The format for the judging of the software design invitational for the Imagine Cup 2007 has changed slightly from 2005 when I was last involved. This year, instead of having a lightning round where we got to know the competitors, we were straight into round 1 today. Round 1 is to be split over two days with each team presenting to 2 different sets of judges. There are 55 teams in this division this year which have been broken into 6 pools - this means that each set of judges sees at least 9 teams in both halves of round 1.
Two teams from each pool will advance to Round 2 where they will again be broken into pools. This time there will be 3 pools and they will have to present to yet another set of judges in order to qualify for the final round of 6.
After watching 9 presentations this afternoon there are a number of general comments to be made:
Firstly I would like to reiterate the marking scheme that the students have and that the judges are marking against:
Project Definition - 15%
Design - 60%
Development - 15%
I think in most cases the presentation skills weren't too bad - although there is always room for improvement, which comes with more practices. The biggest difficulty I found was with the articulation of the project definition. Unfortunately although this is only weighted to 15% if students don't get this across then they will loose marks across the board. Failing to communicate the project definition is usual a result of a poorly structured or ill prepared presentation and if the judges fail to understand the project then it is hard to know whether the design and development of the application addresses the project.
There are other specific feedback comments that have been passed onto the relevant teams but for the most part teams should focus on conveying the project definition and how their solution addresses it. For the most part the innovation behind the application will then be self-evident.