Community-based Hackathon as a Problem Identification Tool for Capstone Projects

David T. Risinamhodzi, Reolyn Heymann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Hackathons can be defined as platforms for fostering the innovation of small, focused teams who come together to collaborate in solving a particular problem built through a new or existing technology. A community-based hackathon for problem identification was explored in a bid to advance Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) on ending poverty, attaining equitable quality education and the promotion of sustained inclusive and sustainable growth as articulated in, 'The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development' by the United Nations continue to be inspire impactful research on how to attain these by the target year 2030. The aim of the study was to identify the problems faced by local communities; craft proposed solutions to create a knowledge base which could be used as input for the capstone projects in the year 2023 at university X. This study used focus groups within the hackathons to gather data from three communities in the KZN, GP and WC provinces of South Africa as part of its effort to understand the application domain and associated requirements. In the paper we present the results of the hackathons. The study found that the attaining of sustainability in communities through poverty eradication and the promotion of sustained inclusive and sustainable growth can only be achieved if communities sit at the centre of initiatives that seek to improve the lives of ordinary community members. Secondly the study showed the important role communities can play in their development and the power of collaboration between the local community and the universities in solving societal problems. The study also displayed the clear benefits of communities of practice and presents a foundation to sustainable development projects in the community. The study also found that communities are not short of brilliance and with some assistance they can identify and classify their problems as well as develop paper prototypes in a bid to solve the identified problems. The researchers conclude that future collaboration between the local communities and universities could be a game changer for the inclusion of real-life challenges for an authentic student learning experience.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEDUCON 2023 - IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, Proceedings
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
ISBN (Electronic)9798350399431
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event14th IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON 2023 - Salmiya, Kuwait
Duration: 1 May 20234 May 2023

Publication series

NameIEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON
ISSN (Print)2165-9559
ISSN (Electronic)2165-9567


Conference14th IEEE Global Engineering Education Conference, EDUCON 2023


  • capstone projects
  • community
  • hackathon
  • service learning
  • sustainable development goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems and Management
  • Education
  • General Engineering


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