Building Something Amazing: 4 years of Ohio State’s Hackathon Program

D49c0d235689fe04b1dd4630cabc2aa8?s=47 Arnab Nandi
February 25, 2017

Building Something Amazing: 4 years of Ohio State’s Hackathon Program

Arnab Nandi, Meris Mandernach

Pictures, videos, reports, papers, and more at:
http://arnab.org/about/ohio-ohio-states-hackathon-program

Presented at http://hackathon-workshop.github.io at CSCW 2017, Portland, Oregon

D49c0d235689fe04b1dd4630cabc2aa8?s=128

Arnab Nandi

February 25, 2017
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Transcript

  1. Building Something Amazing: 4 years of Ohio State’s Hackathon Program

    Arnab Nandi / Meris Mandernach Computer Science / University Libraries The Ohio State University
  2. Outline •  Motivation & Overview •  Growth •  Planning makes

    perfect •  Incorporating feedback •  Towards a holistic hackathon program
  3. Fostering a Tech Culture •  Long-term Investment in our future

    –  Students •  Ecosystem –  Industry –  Research –  Education
  4. “ I built something amazing”

  5. HackOHI/O •  Annual 24—36 hr hackathon •  775+ Students, 1000+

    attendees •  Industry Sponsors & Mentors •  Team-based •  (Unenforced) theme –  Creativity is more important
  6. Hackathon Event Format Hype Events Tutorials API Demos Team Formation

    Hackathon 24 hrs of hacking Judging Showcase Awards Mentorship Helpdesk Tech Talks Months leading up to event Weekend of event
  7. (video)

  8. 4 years of growth •  Rapid growth each year – 

    Participants –  Organizing team (5 to 25+) –  Sponsors (2 to 30) –  Mentors & Judges –  % Women –  Non-CSE majors 100+ 200+ 500+ 775+ Makeathon
 (hardware) Town Hacks
 (city) Makeathon 2016 GiveBackHack (social impact) Startup Weekend (entrepreneurship) 2013 2014 2015 2016 10+ hype events 8 hype events
  9. Team Structure •  Executive Board: Fast decisions, long-term vision – 

    Student leaders from constituent clubs –  Staff & Faculty mentors –  Faculty Directors •  Working Groups –  Student Lead + Staff Mentor + Student Team –  Weekly meetings Executive Board Sponsorship Mentors Outreach Branding Webteam Logistics Registration Judging
  10. Planning Timeline Amount of time Tasks 12 months Secure location,

    recruit team 6 months Recruit Sponsors, monthly meetings 3 months Weekly meetings, working groups, event marketing 2 months Order prizes, shirts, other swag, finalize sponsors 1 month Finalize food, cut off registration 2 weeks Dry run of event components 1 week Swag assembly, list of contacts 1 day Get some sleep!
  11. Planning & Tooling •  As directors: types of plans – 

    Ramping up to the event: weekly meetings –  Day-of: all the moving parts •  Lessons –  Invest in Communication –  Delegate and Trust (allow failure) –  Keep team motivated Tools that worked Tools that didn’t work
  12. Event Day Tips •  Color-coordinated shirts •  Worst Case Planning

    –  Call lists –  Drills •  Persona-based design –  Participant experience –  VIP experience –  Sponsor experience –  Judges Experience
  13. Planning for Scale: 750+ •  Design, Rehearse, Iterate •  Registration

    optimization •  9s per check in •  Food (multiples) •  Swag Assembly •  Wifi: 2760+ devices •  Building upgrade •  Getting more help •  Engaging with Alumni
  14. Factoring in feedback over the years •  Secret sauce: Post-event

    Surveys •  Listen and optimize each year
  15. Post-event Surveys: Quotes "The ability to sit down for an

    extended period of time and just work on a project allowed me to accomplish more in 24 hours than I have since the start of the school year and it made me feel like I actually did something useful for once.” “Having an environment where I’m surrounded by people just like me – I felt much more motivated to learn.” “I came in with no computer, no team and no ideas – all of those things were eventually taken care of and I left with a working Android app. What more could I ask for?!”
  16. Factoring in feedback: Over the years •  Post event surveys:

    Listen & Optimize •  Team sizes: no lone wolves, no mega-teams •  Judging metrics: improve winner quality •  Registration: speed up onboarding •  Food: healthier options •  Spaces: quiet zones/ layout •  Creating a long-term culture: students return as sponsors / mentors
  17. Findings: petri dish for collaborative learning 0" 500" 1000" 1500"

    2000" 2500" 3000" 3500" 4000" 4500" 5000" 10/3/14"12:48" 10/3/14"17:36" 10/3/14"22:24" 10/4/14"3:12" 10/4/14"8:00" 10/4/14"12:48" 10/4/14"17:36" 10/4/14"22:24" 10/5/14"3:12" 10/5/14"8:00" Each%dot%=%source%code%commit% Final%push%before%deadline% Lines&of&code&over&-me,&5&teams& “Hackathons as an Informal Learning Platform”, Nandi & Mandernach, ACM SIGCSE 2016 •  GPA •  Gender •  Majors •  Patterns of work (commit log analysis) •  Post-event surveys
  18. Spinoffs -  One format does not fit all -  Address

    unmet needs from existing events -  HackOHI/O (5th year, 700+) -  MakeOHI/O (3rd year, 150+) -  Little i/o: high schools -  OHI/O Showcase -  Hype Events (8-10) -  Industry Meet -  Special Events
  19. Folding into a program OHI/O Mentoring & Seed Funding Fund

    & spin off related events Travel grants & student sponsorship Year round events & talks HackOHIO: Annual Hackathon A PLATFORM FOR INFORMAL LEARNING
  20. Thank you http://hack.osu.edu

  21. Our Sponsors

  22. Good food is important

  23. Showcase: Demonstrations

  24. Diversity of Thought

  25. Marketing: Chalk team

  26. Prizes don’t matter

  27. Judging

  28. Hardware Table

  29. Keynote

  30. Countdown Clock

  31. Majors represented: 2016

  32. HackOHI/O 2016 by the numnbers

  33. HackOHI/O 2016 by the numbers