The use of the "hackathon" in design education: An opportunistic exploration

Finlay Page, Sylvester Sweeney, Fraser Bruce, Seaton Baxter

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper reports on a "Hackathon" attended by 195 participants at an event in the University of Dundee in September 2015. In collaboration with a leading retailer of greeting cards and products in the UK, the goal of the hackathon was to reconceptualise new digital products from the firm's existing product range and markets. Over the course of five days, students from two undergraduate courses, product design and digital interaction design, participated in the event. The students were divided into large interdisciplinary/inter-year groups and provided with basic tools and electronic kits. "Fly on the wall" and "Immersive" techniques were used in the observation of the groups and in the development of their initial ideas and concepts during the hackathon. Samples of students were later interviewed and additional qualitative data gathered using a 'Graffiti wall' technique. The paper explores issues that were encountered during the event and also provides some useful insights on the role of icebreakers, leadership and team roles, distractions and workplace environments. The paper concludes with a series of recommendations for the future use of "Hackathons" in design education, paying particular attention to the role of team motivation at all stages during the event.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
    Subtitle of host publication Design Education: Collaboration and Cross-Disciplinarity, E and PDE 2016
    EditorsErik Bohemia, Lyndon Buck, Kaare Eriksen, Ahmed Kovacevic, Nis Ovesen, Christian Tollestrup
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherInstitution of Engineering Designers, The Design Society
    Number of pages6
    ISBN (Electronic)9781904670780
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    Event18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2016 - Aalborg, Denmark
    Duration: 8 Sept 20169 Sept 2016


    Conference18th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, E and PDE 2016


    • Design
    • Distractions
    • Education
    • Hackathon
    • Icebreakers
    • Motivations
    • Product

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
    • Education


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