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Hackathons: what do engineering educators think about it?

Neha Mehta (LJ Institute of Management Studies, LJ University, Ahmedabad, India)
Siddarth Singh Bist (LJ Institute of Management Studies, LJ University, Ahmedabad, India)
Priya Shah (Indian Institute of Management Shillong, Shillong, India)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 15 March 2022

Issue publication date: 12 October 2022




With past studies indicating a lack of skill development in engineering education, there is a need for new pedagogical tools that are application and skill-oriented. Hackathons are widely accepted in the corporate world, in the engineering domain for skill development and recruitment but have not gained acceptance in mainstream engineering education. Very few studies have discussed engineering educator views regarding hackathons and their benefits. This paper intends to study engineering educators' perception of the hackathon and its benefits after participating in it. The findings could support hackathons as a pedagogical tool to develop an industry-oriented and skill-based engineering education.


A mixed methods design was employed where initially qualitative study was conducted. Its findings were used to conduct survey of 162 engineering educators who had participated in a hackathon. A five point Likert scale was employed for data collection.


The findings reveal that engineering educators who participated in the hackathon perceived hackathons to support industry-focused learning, problem-solving and new skill development. They also acknowledged its role in their professional development. The further discussion suggests that engineering educators and institutes may collaborate with industry to design and use hackathons as a teaching tool to develop industry-ready graduates.

Research limitations/implications

The study was not designed to study how different aspects of hackathon lead to different benefits derived from participating in it. There is a need to study hackathons as a tool of pedagogy and assessment, focusing on how variables linked to it facilitate, moderate and hinder the learning and assessment process in participants. More in-depth studies need to be conducted to adopt the hackathon as a pedagogy and assessment tool in higher education.

Practical implications

The discussion suggests that designing hackathons effectively as a tool for learning and skill development will result in skilled graduates. Engineering educators should adopt hackathons as a pedagogy for their students. Management and policymakers of engineering institutes should consider hackathons as a part of pedagogy for students besides conducting hackathons for educators for their professional development that will be investment in skills helpful at workplace.


The notable contribution of this paper is to document perceptions of engineering educators regarding hackathons and their benefits after participating in a hackathon. The paper proposes that hackathons can be introduced in the engineering curriculum as they would offer educators a novel method of teaching and assessment and support engineering graduates in recruitment and making them industry-ready.



Data availability statement: All the data, information, model, or code generated appear in the research article. It is the authors’ research using the data the authors collected.


Mehta, N., Bist, S.S. and Shah, P. (2022), "Hackathons: what do engineering educators think about it?", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 12 No. 5, pp. 983-1001.



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