Engineering Notebook

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Engineering Notebook Requirements

As you are working on your semester-long design project, it is critical that you maintain a record of your work and progress. In order to help create the Milestones and Final Presentation; the Preliminary Design Investigation (PDI) and the Final Design Report (FDR), the notebook should be updated regularly.

In order to pass a project Benchmark assessment, or to complete your final Submission, your notebook must be fully updated and reviewed by a TA. For Milestone 1, Milestone 2, Milestone 3, and Final Submission you must have it approved by your recitation professor in a Word Document (DOC or DOCX) format. One engineering notebook needs to be maintained for each Semester Long Design Project (SLDP) group.

Google Drive Folder Setup

At the beginning of the semester, each semester-long design project (SLDP) team will create a Google Drive folder for documenting all of the work on their project. The folder will be shared with the recitation professor, recitation TA, RAD mentor (if applicable), and the lab TAs. The link to this folder must be uploaded to the EG Website submission page under the SLDP Folders assignment by the due date of the Milestone 1 presentation. This folder will contain a Google Doc for your engineering notebook and all other files used for your SLDP including but not limited to presentations, CAD files, code, circuit diagrams, pictures, budget spreadsheets, Microsoft Project files, PDI, and FDR. The engineering notebook should be used as documentation and an outline for the Milestone presentations, final presentation, and Final Design Report.

Notebook Guide

Engineering notebooks allow engineers to track and document their efforts. In turn, engineering notebooks can be used to assess each team member's contributions to the project and who owns the intellectual property. Engineering notebook should be updated weekly, and kept organized and legible for sharing with the team.

The engineering notebook include:

  • Preliminary Design Investigation
  • Meeting notes
  • Tracking of items for which you are responsible
  • Deadlines and tasks for you and the team
  • Technical notes
  • Designs, sketches, software code, and any other artifacts created
  • Screenshots or pictures of your design
  • Include the artifact itself, or where to find it (e.g., URL to repository)
  • Record and briefly describe important resources (websites, books, people)
  • Your ideas, brainstorming, questions, and general thoughts (even if not developed)
  • Updates to cost or project schedule
  • Plans for the future and to-do lists

The format of the EG 1004 Project Notebook is a Google Doc with chronological entries.

Milestone Assignments

The following assignments will be completed during recitation on the days of the Milestone presentations. A picture or scan of the documents below must be included in your engineering notebook.

Design Thinking

IDEO is an organization that aims to support designers with methods and strategies for critically thinking about the design process. In the Milestone 1 recitation, SLDP teams will be completing the Define a Challenge and Create a Project Plan of the Designer's Workbook (IDEO, 2012).

Design Canvas

Canvases are tools used to help visualize ideas in a brainstorming process. The Business Model Canvas is one of the most commonly used canvases. Researchers adapted this canvas to the engineering design process and created the engineering design canvas (Kline et al., 2017). In the Milestone 2 recitation, SLDP teams will fill out the engineering design canvas.

Design Pitch

Crafting a compelling pitch for a new idea is essential to the implementation of new technology. One common framework for assessing the feasibility of a new innovation is the Heilmeier Catechism. In the Milestone 3 recitation, SLDP teams will generate a response to each of the eight questions in the Heilmeier Catechism (Heilmeier, 2022).

Why Is Keeping a Notebook Important?

As engineers, a record of your work must be shown clearly to your employers and supervisors. As a student working on a long-term engineering project, you are expected to do the same. A notebook will be a valuable source of reference when developing our portfolio, the final presentation, the final report, tracking changes throughout the semester, or attributing credit to who was responsible for contributions to the project. If you wish to continue development of your ideas your engineering notebook can be used to claim ownership of the intellectual property developed during the project.


IDEO. (2012). Toolkit – Design Thinking for Educators.

Kline, W., Schindel, W., Tranquillo, J., Bernal, A., & Hixson, C. (2017). Development of a design canvas with application to first-year and capstone design courses.

G.H.Heilmeier, “The Heilmeier Catechism” [Online], Available: