This work-in-progress paper details the growth of an informal experiential learning program around hackathons and makeathons and presents the evolution of the program as a model of a successful co-curricular approach in engineering. After six years of growing an informal learning program from a single hackathon event of 100 attendees to a complete experiential learning platform consisting of over twelve events, industry engagement, and building a successful and stable team of student leaders, the authors will share and gather feedback on the development and evolution of the program.
Hackathons and makeathons have been used in an industry setting for many years. Articles have been written about hackathon and other informal learning events used in the classroom (Gama et al., 2018; Kolog et al., 2016) engaging with the public (Taylor et al, 2017; Del Fatto et al., 2017), and about research around the events themselves (Nandi & Mandernach, 2016; Kos 2018; Warner & Guo; 2017.) These rapid-prototyping contests focus on software or hardware development provide participants and hands-on experience to create a workable product in a short time frame. This project builds on the industry standard to create an entire informal learning program focused on events, industry engagement, alumni interaction, and integration into curricular and co-curricular student experiences. In recent years, interdisciplinary collaboration has become a growing component of the program, bridging engineering with business, entrepreneurship, and health and wellness. These collaborations are not simply of joining students of different majors, but in working with similar grass-roots university programs in different colleges and departments.
With multiple measures of success, the authors will highlight a few from this multifaceted program. This work will include survey results from participants about specific events as well as interviews about the overarching program from the student leader team, a group of about 15 individuals. Finally, we hope to share the program as a model for sustained engagement with industry and alumni that could be replicated at other schools.
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June 22, 2020, and to all visitors after the conference ends on June 26, 2021
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