#SemesterHack 2.0

In November 2020, over 350 participants joined
#SemesterHack 2.0. The online hackathon was hosted by the DAAD, Hochschulforum Digitalisation and AI Campus as part of the European Commission's DigiEduHack. Seven project teams have received funding for developing their exciting ideas further.  

Semesterhack Motto

DigiEduHack: Together we re-define learning!

The #SemesterHack 2.0 was one of over 50 online hackathons that formed the DigiEduHack, a global idea hackathon initiative under the European Commission's Digital Education Action Plan. The aim of the DigiEduHack is to get teams around the world to work together on creative solutions to diverse challenges in the field of digital education.


#SemesterHack 2.0: Collaboration is key!

The #SemsterHack 2.0 focused on higher education and was supported by seven German higher education institutions (HEI). More than 350 participants from various disciplines and levels of expertise joined the online hackathon. Over the course of 36 hours, teams collaborated virtually to create concepts, prototypes, guidelines or hands-on solutions for digital higher education.  

Based on the successful earlier this year, the #SemesterHack 2.0  provided a virtual space to share experiences, issues and creative ideas from the fields of digital teaching and learning, international exchange and virtual research collaboration.

After two days of hacking, 28 project ideas were handed in to the #SemesterHack 2.0 jury. Selected teams receive DAAD funding for the implementation of their project, sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).   


At the beginning of 2021, the seven teams entered a new phase of their hackathon projects: To receive funding, they wrote short project proposals and found higher education institutions which would host their project and team. Once the formalities were out of the way, the teams put all their efforts into developing their ideas. On April 15, the teams presented the current status of their projects to the DAAD and looked back on the past months of working together on their solutions.

Despite the different topics of their projects, all teams agreed that collaborating - often across disciplines - is incredibly rewarding and can be realised successfully in a digital way. Project management and communication skills were named as the most important competences that they acquired. Besides the subject-specific knowledge and digital skills they gained working on their project, the teams also highlighted the flexibility they needed facing the challenges of living in times of a global pandemic.    


Almost all of them are sure: They want to keep working on their projects. To provide the teams with tips and tricks on how to found their own start-up, Simon Knott joined the event. He is studying "IT Systems Engineering" at Hasso-Platter-Institute in Potsdam and gave inspiring insights into how he became a successful software developer. 

When asked whether they would do it again - that is, join a hackathon and move on into developing the project further - the participants were quite unequivocal about it: Yes! Digital formats that rely on virtual collaboration are compelling for their potential to unlock creativity and form new skills. In the case of #SemesterHack 2.0, the realities of online teaching and learning met the participants' ideas for the future of digital education and exchange: Thus, bottom-up, user-driven innovation helps push the digital transformation of higher education.