Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Educational Research and Methods
This paper describes an evidence-based practice of using a hackathon model to address student learning outcomes in first year Engineering programs. There is a growing body of work around the use of hackathons to promote engagement, innovation, teamwork, and problem-solving in engineers before, during, and after their undergraduate studies. Existing hackathons tend to be open, extra-curricular events with a focus on software design and UX/UI design. While some hackathons have a theme to steer students towards a problem space defined by the organizers, there is an absence of literature regarding the use of hackathons in-class to support course-level learning objectives. This paper describes one model for an in-class, curricular hackathon which has (of this writing) been deployed in four different undergraduate programs (Computer, Electrical, Mechanical, and Mechatronics Engineering) on five separate occasions, with another two upcoming offerings. This model, which we have named Engineering Design Days, has been implemented in slightly different ways to engage the various cohorts of students and investigate best practices for student engagement. In general, each instance is two days with no traditional classes, labs, or tutorials, where the students work in teams to design and build solutions to open-ended problems. These problems are designed to integrate knowledge from across multiple courses in which the students are enrolled. The implementations described in this paper had students solve design problems by building physical systems using off-the-shelf components. The solutions were presented and tested in front of their peers at the end of the second day. Students and course instructors from each implementation described in this paper provided feedback through surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The results so far have been overwhelmingly positive from both students and instructors, with the adoption of this concept expanding across the Faculty of Engineering. Within this paper, lessons-learned will be discussed (including from an early iteration of this idea), as will strategies for ensuring the sustainability of Engineering Design Days moving forward.
Rennick, C., & Hulls, C., & Wright, D., & Milne, A. J. B., & Li, E., & Bedi, S. (2018, June), Engineering Design Days: Engaging Students with Authentic Problem-Solving in an Academic Hackathon Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30407
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