February 2018 Hackathon

IS members present their POC
By Jordan King
Mar. 09, 2018

Information Services hosted its third, semi-annual Hackathon event earlier this month. The two-day event allows participating IS workers to break free from their normative 8-5 office hours--where the focus is often completing larger projects over time--and instead work intensively over a short period to identify innovative solutions to issues that they personally identify.

In working together, five unique teams of IS participants crafted proofs-of-concept for innovations intended to either help improve existing products, explore new technology, or enhance internal communication and productivity.

At the end of the workshop, the groups showcased the discoveries they made through PowerPoint presentations and interactive demonstrations, ultimately discussing the viability of developing the POCs into full projects to be completed by IS, in the future.

These included:

1) IS Community Engagement Site Built Through Salesforce

Goal: create an interactive service that promotes community and encourages an open workplace

Features: calendar of upcoming events, ideas for improvement, ability to upvote/downvote ideas

2) Augmented Reality

Goal: To visually represent information that the KSU community often searches for

Features: image overlay appears on phone camera if pointed toward recognizable icon (e.g., a building on campus), making “search” a highly interactive experience

3) FlashLine Voice Commands

Goal: To both improve accessibility and follow the tech trend of hands-free search

Features: Voice-activated search and navigation through FlashLine, allowing users to locate course registration, G.P.A., and student financial aid information, to name a few

4) Internal Change Management Improvement (CABlash)

Goal: To create one system through which all groups of IS can request code changes 

Features: Improved functionality of internal processes, including submitting requests for change through the Change Advisory Board; simplification of process, including immediate adoption of changes to the "change request template" and real-time voting

5) ALEXA Integration for Conference Rooms

Goal: To explore how adding skills to ALEXA’s interface can enhance the functionality of IS conferences

Features: Vocal automation of devices in conference rooms, such as projectors, computers, etc.

After each team presented, IS leadership voted to decide which POC had the most potential. In a one-point victory against teams 3 and 5 (who tied for second), the CABlash team won first place, earning themselves ultimate bragging rights--at least until the next time the Hackathon event rolls around.

In effect, the Hackathon workshop:

  • allows participants to explore creative solutions for issues they are interested in solving.
  • promotes a democratic process that encourages new ideas to be shared, all of which provide a refreshing take on the role that IS plays in meeting the needs of KSU.
  • IS's goal of developing products that are meaningful and consistently meeting diverse user needs.