Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events 2019 (ICGJ 2019)


Conference Name

International Conference on Game Jams, Hackathons and Game Creation Events 2019 (ICGJ 2019)

Conference City

San Francisco


Collegiate hackathons are informal learning environments where students build new projects in a limited amount of time and often compete for prizes. Previous hackathon research has shown that students go to these events to learn new technical skills, work on projects with friends, or network with the technical community; however, little is known about the different ways in which students collaborate with other participants and how students’ event goals affect their trajectory at the hackathon. In the literature, students are typically described as working in competitive teams that build one project to be entered into a competition. However, there are gaps when it comes to discussing other ways students may work together or what other non-competitive projects/activities students may want to engage with at a hackathon. This paper reports on different collaboration styles and event goals documented at a Spring 2018 female-focused hackathon. Findings include three types of collaboration styles: team-based, cooperative group, and individual participation; as well as four types of event goals: competition, exploration, dabbling, and observing. These findings can inform the collegiate hackathon literature and help hackathons diversify their events by offering insight into ways diverse participants choose to participate at a hackathon and offering design suggestions that mainstream collegiate hackathons can adopt to be more inclusive of different types of students.