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How to Plan a Hackathon: Hacking the Challenges of Digital Education

Explore how to plan and organise a non-technical hackathon designed to drive community-sourced innovation in EdTech.

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  • Duration

    2 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Get expert tips on how to run a great hackathon

Hackathons are usually thought of as events where people come together to collaborate with computers. However, non-technical hackathons are becoming increasingly popular – where people gather to solve an organisational rather than a technical problem.

On this course, you’ll discover how to organise and run a non-technical hackathon that can address a challenge in digital education and improve your organisation’s digital skills and competencies.

See if a non-technical hackathon is right for you

Alongside the expert minds behind the global non-technical hackathon DigiEduHack, you’ll explore the pros and cons of running a hackathon and whether it’s the right tool for your digital education challenge.

You’ll then learn how to draft a description of your challenge with the help of the challenge building canvas and guidance.

Learn how to build and run a hackathon

Once you’ve decided a hackathon is right for your challenge, you’ll build a hackathon plan with the help of a hackathon process map, toolkit, and host handbook.

You’ll examine real-world host experiences and consider improvements to the challenge description and hackathon plan.

Hack with the minds behind DigiEduHack

DigiEduHack is a series of online hackathons for innovators who want to solve the big problems facing EdTech and digital education today.

They’ll help you emerge from the course with a clearly defined hackathon plan, ready to solve your digital education challenges with community-sourced innovation.


  • Week 1

    The foundations of a hackathon

    • The future of education

      Find out how we can help shape the transformative change brought by the digital education revolution by hacking potential solutions to the challenges.

    • What is a hackathon?

      Find out more about hackathons and how they have been used in education.

    • The role of DigiEduHacks

      DigiEduHacks play a crucial part in producing ideas and concepts that have a high impact on society, as well as ready-to-be-developed solutions.

    • The foundations of a hackathon

      In this activity we look at the foundations of a hackathon.

    • Craft your challenge

      In this activity, we discuss what makes a good challenge.

    • End of week 1

      In this activity, we look back at what you have learnt in week 1 and look forward to week 2.

  • Week 2

    Planning your hackathon

    • Welcome to week 2

      This week is all about planning!

    • Recruiting participants

      In this step, we outline ways to ensure you set a clear, effective and eye-catching challenge, to attract good participants and provide the best opportunities for success.

    • How to plan for an in-person event

      The more you plan in advance your event, the better prepared you will be to face the unplanned. A hackathon is a demanding event: as a host, your role is to make everything comfortable for your participants.

    • Planning an online event

      Just as for an in-person event, the more you plan in advance, the better prepared you will be to face the unplanned.

    • Solutions

      In this activity, we look at how to manage the solutions generated during the hackathon.

    • Event day comms and promotion

      The flux of communication during a hackathon can be overwhelming for both participants and hosts. Luckily, with a solid organisation, you can easily tackle this issue!

    • End of week 2

      In this activity, we look back at what you have learnt in week 2.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Describe the challenges to education in a digital age
  • Assess the role of DigiEduHacks in addressing these issues
  • Identify how you can play a role in tackling the challenges
  • Explore how to create your hackathon crew
  • Create your challenge
  • Produce the event day planning
  • Create the event day communications and promotion

Who is the course for?

This course would benefit learners from organisations considering using the hackathon format to solve their digital education challenges.

Who will you learn with?

Piret Liv Stern Dahl is EIT Climate-KIC Learning Technologies Strategy Developer, DigiEduHack hackathon programme core team member and hackathons' enthusiast.

Who developed the course?

EIT Climate-KIC

EIT Climate-KIC is a European knowledge and innovation community, working towards a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy.

EIT Climate-KIC creates digital courses and resources for the general public, and for its own blended programmes and those of its partners.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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