Learning Series: Judging Methods

The debate over online vs. in-person judging methods isn’t a new one. More and more programs continue to move to online judging for a number of important reasons, but that isn’t to say that your judging has to be online as well. In fact, there are a few lingering reasons why you might want to maintain in-person judging.

Below, we compare the two so you better understand your options and the potential benefits and drawbacks of your decision.

Online Judging

Not surprisingly, more and more programs have made a full transition to online systems, including their judging processes. If your program doesn’t require in-person judging, you should consider doing the same.

Some programs hesitate to make the online transition for a number of reasons, however the simplicity and accuracy of the process are two considerations you should be mindful of. Moreover, you should provide reassurance to both entrants and judges when you make the transition.

For example, judges will want to know what they will need to do to score an entry. A simple tutorial that demonstrates:

  • Where and how to login to the portal
  • How to view entries
  • How to score entries; and
  • How to move on from one entry once completed to another

is all it takes for most organizations to make the full transition to an online platform and to do so without hesitation on behalf of any important individuals.

In-Person Judging

In-person judging comes inherent with many challenges, most of which are eliminated with online judging. Some of these challenges include:


  • Shipping and Receiving Entries – Tracking entries can be difficult, especially if you leave it to entrants to ship their entries themselves. It’s best to provide entrants with a shipping label so all entries are shipped with the same company and you don’t have to track packages with a handful of different carriers. Even so, processing each entry takes a lot of time.
  • Display Cards and Fact Sheets – If judges are going to be walking around and observing physical entries, each will need a display card and fact sheet for proper judging. This is an administrative hassle you’ll be forced to contend with.
  • Security of the Entries – If the entries are sent directly to your organization, you’re responsible for their security. Few organizations can afford or manage 24-hour security so you’re always at the risk of losing something important.


Make the Online Judging Transition

If your program requires no physical entries, it’s best to transition to online judging to avoid the inherent risks of the process and gain the ease and simplicity of the digital process.

So, what’s keeping you bound to the in-person judging process?