Hackathon (from hack+marathon) is an event in which software developers collaborate on new projects for a set period of time. A hackathon usually starts with a presentation on the theme of the event. Then, teams are formed and work on the software projects is started. At the end of the event, results are presented.
Inspired by the hackathons organized in the IT world, our department organized an MA thesis writing day, ‘Gradutalkoot’. The idea of this event was to give our thesis writers an opportunity to work on their thesis in an organized and goal-oriented manner. The event was coordinated by Elina Valovirta and Mari-Liisa Varila from the Department of English; Outi Paloposki and Ira Hansen from the Department also participated in the event.
The staff members and 11 thesis writers (from different Tracks) met on Friday 18 October at the Paasikivi room of the Main Library.
We began by setting individual goals for the day – for example, how many pages each participant would write. Passages from Neil Gaiman’s pep talk for NaNoWriMo writers were read aloud for inspiration. Leena Järveläinen from the University Library helped us with information retrieval issues; she also briefly introduced the new ResearchGuides service of the University Library. This service groups together various search tools and databases available via our library; we recommend taking a look!
We made good progress during the morning and did a brief round of situation reports before heading out to Assarin Ullakko for lunch. After lunch, the writing work continued in good spirits. We had a short coffee break — sponsored by the Department — in the afternoon to keep everybody awake and busy. We ended the successful working day with a debriefing session, where we assessed how we managed to reach the goals we set for ourselves and discussed the next stages of our projects.
Everyone felt that the event was successful; the next Gradutalkoot will be organised on 5 December, 9-14. Another event to look out for is the Thesis Symposium, where MA thesis writers from different Tracks and in different stages of their projects discuss their work. The first Thesis Symposium was held in Spring 2013, and we hope to organize the second one in Spring 2014. More information will be available later!