Spark hosts engineering competition

Students will work in live app; director says this will develop skills

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Spark hosts engineering competition




JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

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WSU Information Technology Services (ITS) will host a Mobile App Design Hack-A-Thon (MAD HAT) this weekend.

Guy Westhoff, WSU Enterprise Systems director, said the hackathon will allow students to operate within the environment created by the development of a mobile app.

The event will begin 8 a.m. Saturday at The Spark: Academic Innovation Hub Atrium and conclude 3 p.m. Sunday. The winners will be announced by 5 p.m. Sunday after judge deliberation.

“This [event] gets them to work inside a live mobile app, both for Android and iOS, and explore how that app works behind the screens,” Westhoff said. “It gives them real-world skills.”

He said the WSU mobile app consists of a variety of applications available for student use.

“Our plan is to begin working with different departments and find out on what types of information they would like to have available for students,” Westhoff said, “and what type of information students would like to have … access to.”

Students participating in the hackathon will have access to the app design software, he said. Students can code into those environments and build tiles in the app.

Westhoff said students will be placed into teams of four to six. The event has the capacity to host around 40 teams.

“This gives students another opportunity to work in teams and do another hackathon,” he said.

Participants will be meeting their team members Saturday morning, Westhoff said. The participants will be given thirty minutes to get to know their teammates and share their ideas with each other.

Students of all different levels of coding experience and skill sets will be accepted, he said.

WSU Enterprise Systems and ITS will provide tech support teams who will be available to assist students with their design, Westhoff said.

Teams will present their designed app on Sunday to a panel of judges, he said. The criteria of the designs include student usability, function and the type of information available on the app.

The judges will choose the three top teams, Westhoff said, and the winning teams will receive cash prizes.

“The winning design would be further developed and integrated into the design of the WSU mobile app,” he said.