Hackathons as Community-Based Learning: a Case Study

Miguel Lara, Kate Lockwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A “hackathon” is a computer-programming event in which volunteers work intensely in small teams for a short amount of time to develop a program prototype. These events became widespread during the 2000s as software companies and venture capitalists used them to “quickly develop new software technologies, and to locate new areas for innovation and funding” (Briscoe and Mulligan  2014 , p.4). Due to their great impact, similar activities have been organized in several other disciplines, including education (Artiles and Wallace  2013 ), bioinformatics (Trainer and Herbsleb  2014 ), marketing (Calco and Veeck  2015 ), healthcare (Aungst  2015 ), Big Data (Gould  2014 ), and dance composition (Briscoe and Hon  2014 ).

The most common elements that characterize hackathons are: (a) participants are organized into small groups that work intensely (sometimes around the clock), (b) a short time frame in which the project is taken from concept to prototype, (c) a centralized location where teams meet, work, and share resources and (d) support (technical, food, mentoring, etc.) provided by organizers and sponsors.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - Sep 2016


  • Community Partner
  • Android
  • Soft Skill
  • Boot Camp
  • Community College Student


  • Computer Sciences
  • Graphics and Human Computer Interfaces

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