On Tues 25th September our colleagues over in ITDS hosted a Hack Day on the Mezzanine Level 5 of The Hub. As they explained to us ‘a Hack Day is an organised event where teams come together to develop ideas which help to solve a business problem’. The brief was that we should ‘mashup, reuse and remix data to give us better insights into our students’. The event ran for a full day and at the end of the day, each team had precisely 2 minutes to present the idea they had spent the day developing to all the other ‘HAKLABers’. If you are interested in seeing any of these presentations, you can access the videos.
The event was really exciting with a vibe of fast paced, collaborative innovation and problem solving. The room, and our table in particular, was alive with energy and plenty of colour on whiteboards, flip charts, post it notes & laptop screens. Ideas, strategies, heated discussions, Grass Roots catering, assorted lollies & caffeinated beverages (as well as a few alcoholic ones later in the day) flowed freely from 9am-6pm!
While many other teams focused on ideas around the development of mobile phone apps for students, our team (Daniel Barry, Marziah Zarazillah, Hari Nikas, Thomas Crichton, Joel Driver and myself – Elektra Walter) spiced things up by working on a LEI Learning Analytics problem/solution. Our idea was to improve student retention across undergraduate degrees by utilising a merger of data relating to academic performance, student demographics/risk factors, and course enrolment choices to identify at-risk students enrolled in high fail rate courses. If these students could be flagged by our system, then mitigation strategies could be put in place to improve the students’ experience and reduce student attrition.
The event was a great success and I think it is safe to say that our group really enjoyed the opportunity to focus wholeheartedly on exploring a single problem in depth over the course of the day. The results had us all excited and engaged and have given the Learning Analytics Team some ideas to develop into the future. I would certainly encourage anyone to be involved in any follow up events as HAKLAB/01 proved to be a fun, exciting and productive networking and innovation session.