Hackathons bring together a group of people with different backgrounds, skills and areas of expertise over a condensed period of time, usually between 2 days and a full week, with the aim of creating solutions to specific challenges in the form of prototypes or even minimum viable products. While this type of event originally emerged in the context of coding, the format has now been adopted within a broader range of fields and repurposed to generate other kinds of outputs.
Universities are starting to explore the potential of hackathons as a way of fostering educational innovation and coming up with solutions in response to current challenges for teaching and learning within specific contexts or the sector at large. Involving lecturers, students, learning technologists, librarians and staff from any other areas, as well as external participants (e.g. employers, local communities), hackathons in education can generate different kinds of outputs (e.g. curriculum designs, frameworks, protocols, contents, online tools) ready to be tested and introduced into teaching and learning practices.
Edu-hackathons can be defined an intensive, focused, collaborative and hands-on events aimed at devising approaches and/or resources that address some key educational issues or challenges. Recent examples from the UK include UCL’s Learnhack or the University of Sheffield’s Digital Commons Retreats.
Coventry University is one of the partners of EduHack.eu, an Erasmus + capacity building project for university educators who wish to develop new skills and knowledge enabling the creation of digitally-supported learning experiences designed by means of hackathons.