The School of Computer and Information Sciences (SCIS) organized a 5-day computer programming exercise for its students, called Hackweek, from 5th – 9th December at the Center for Modelling Simulation & Design (CMSD, UoH). In this programme, students were expected to come up with project ideas on their own, work in teams, and build a working prototype in 5 days. The purpose is to complement the regular theory-centric academic methodology of teaching Computer Science (CS) with a more self-driven, practical and project-centric learning process. Dedicating a week to ideation, design, and coding in a group setting would also foster self-exploration, learning by doing and teamwork.

Hackweek was conceived and conducted by Renjith P Ravindran, a 3rd year Ph.D. research scholar of SCIS, who served as a mentor to the students and also joined the program as a participant. The programme forms a part of the School’s vision to enrich its curriculum with various new activities which are in the pipeline. The School has also recently invested in upgrading its computing infrastructure which has been very helpful to its research scholars in the age of big data.

Majority of the participation for Hackweek came from the Integrated MTech (iMTech) students. Many of them are first-year students and were very new to programming. However, through determination, teamwork, and help from other participants they managed to bring their ideas to fruition. Few of the projects attempted at Hackweek were – Online group chat portal (PHP/MySQL), android app to teach shell scripting (Python), android app to calculate domestic electricity bills, android pong game, sudoku game (Java Swing), printer accounting portal for the school (PHP/MySQL), visualization tool for search algorithms in artificial intelligence (JavaScript), etc.

When Hackweek concluded the participants shared their excitement for what they could achieve even after being beginners to programming. Some of the senior students said the experience was refreshing and different because they focused on their ideas as opposed to problem statements that are part of a lab course. Nazreen, a 3rd-year iMTech student, noted – ” I realized that, even if you work on small ideas, if your heart is in it, it is worth the effort!” On 11th December the Dean, Prof. Arun Agarwal handed over participation certificates to students who also got an opportunity to demo their projects. Picture below are student participants for Hackweek event.