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How to host successful Online Hackathons🎉

arkodyutisaha profile image Arkodyuti Saha ・4 min read

Hello Hackers! Welcome to the "Hacks for Hackathons" blog series.🙏
In this blog series, we will cover the best practices from hackathons. This is the first part that is about how to host successful online hackathons or migrating your offline hackathons to online during a crisis.

A hackathon is defined by Major League Hacking as an ‘invention marathon.’ The industry today considers Hackathons to be a major technical sport or a developer gig for building the next big app or solution. Over the years many global brands like Microsoft, Twitter, Amazon, Twilio, Google have been committed to supporting the next generation of software developers for many years through hackathons. India is one of the largest developer economies and host to the maximum hackathons worldwide. On average monthly over 25+ Hackathons happen on some of the famous Indian hackathon platforms like Skillenza, Hackerearth, TechGig and more.
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The novel coronavirus, nCOV-19/COVID-19 🦠 spread across the planet is declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. Big developer economies like the USA, China and India are a victim of this. Considering all the guidance from the international and national health authorities about social distancing, every organization is taking its step to ship developer experiences remotely/online. Being a part of DevRel – I spend a fair amount of time either organizing/mentoring/judging hackathons. And right now, I hear every hackathon organizer freaking out because of all that yearlong planning 📅💰.

So, what is to run hackathons online without any Hackathon Management Portal?

You can definitely pick any e2e Hackathon Management platforms like mentioned above but guess what those come with a bunch of features and commercials too.💲

As an organizer, you can still greet first-time hackers with your customized bitmoji (on email) instead of shaking hands at the online check-in. Okay, there’s a lot of logistics we need to consider when we do offline hackathons like 🍕, Swags, Hacker Interactions, Mentorship Panels, Judging – but in case of online hackathons, the process is a little different and simple too. So what is it like to run a hackathon with a zero budget? 🤔

ℹ️Website

  • Create a simple website using the HTML5 Boilerplate – it’s fast, robust and adaptable to web apps or sites.
  • Hosting your website
    • Use GitHub Pages to host it for FREE(hackathon_name.github.io/repository)
    • and link to your custom domain (if you have)

📝Registrations

  • Use Forms linking it to your hackathon website
  • Found this interesting MyMLH API that helps you share and manage the registration data in one click

📚Developer Content & Resources

While running Online Hackathons I recommend creating a resource repository on GitHub for developers to access.
Example: Azure Hackbook.

Sign up on Microsoft Azure ☁️ to claim a Free Trial or Azure For Students Offer for your next hackathon.💯

💻Hackathon Management(using GitHub)

  • Set up a GitHub account from your Organization
  • Create a repository with your Hackathon Name – add description and URL
  • Create a README.md – to add the basic information
  • Create a rules.md – to add the basic rules for your online hackathon
  • Create a submissions template – for your hackathon teams to submit their projects using create a NEW ISSUE
  • All project submissions appear as ISSUES on GitHub

💡 Pro-tip: Ask your attendees to add LABELS for various Themes/Tracks of the Hackathon.

  • Assign Mentors using @ tag to help into the specific projects as per the track/theme. 👨‍💻👩‍💻
  • Once all the checklist on the each of Project/ISSUE is resolved – close the ISSUES. Check out this project submission page on GitHub ✔️
If you are a Hackathon Organizer – FORK 🍴 this sample Hackathon repository to set up your own Hackathon Portal and EDIT using simple markdown😉

GitHub logo arkodyuti / hackathon

add hackathon description

Hackathon

Welcome to Hackathon!

Rules

Kindly go through the Rules of the Hackathon beforehand.

Submissions

All the Project Submissions have to done by making an issue in this repository. The guidelines to followed for the same have been mentioned below:

  1. The Team Leader has to open up an Issue for project submission using his GitHub Account here
  2. The Issue Template should be strictly followed. A submission not following the same would be termed as an INVALID SUBMISSION.
  3. Add appropriate labels according to your Project Field & Track. Two Label have to applied on each individual submission.
  4. Only a single issue has to be made for each individual project, Multiple submissions will be termed as INVALID SUBMISSION.

Labels

One has to mark appropriate label in order to a submission valid for the Hackathon. Each submissions should have at least 2 labels according to the Project Field & Track.

Project Field:




📢Communications

Communications are a big part of hackathons, say it the invitation emails to winner announcement or even the Mentor discussions. It's always a great idea to pick an IM platform to help hackers make those conversations.

🌟 There is a lot more you can do to engage with your developers online. From streaming multi-player games to a slideshow karaoke. Learn more about some of the amazing online activities you can do to engage with developers by Major League Hacking


Sign up for some of the great online Hackathons 👇

Say hi 🖐️ on Twitter and share your feedback on the blog post. Stay tuned for more best practices in the next part of the series. Cheers!

Discussion (7)

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heldervasc profile image
Hélder Vasconcelos • Edited

IMHO, manage an hackathon with spreasheets, forms and independent tools is cumbersome and does not provide the right experience to the participants. It is very important to an online hackathon to have efficient communication, a smooth onboarding, a page to showcase the projects and tools and features to introduce interactivity in the process. That is the reason why @taikainetwork created taikai.network. A developer to developer platform to manage online hackathons efficiently and effortlessly . Our platform also have hacker leaderboards, rankings and a token-based economy to recognise the best hackers and experts.
BTW we are an official Microsoft Partner 😎.

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Arkodyuti Saha Author

Thanks for sharing this across Hélder. I've tried using a lot of similar hackathon management portal but for the commercial purpose, they charge $$$ a lot. For small organizations and startups, it's always a great idea to pick existing tools and leverage them as much as possible.

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Himanshu Beniwal

I guess I got the Idea to host next Hackathon! :)
Thank you! :D

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Daniel Madalitso Phiri

Really good read. Thanks for sharing!

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Arkodyuti Saha Author

Thanks, Daniel 🙂

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Shaiju T

Hi , what should one do in presentation of the solution within 10 minutes before jury ? How ? What to present ?