Despite the popularity of hackathons as organized competitions both on and off the university campus, there is relatively little scholarship on the pedagogic application of hackathon-style challenges in the classroom — especially where the hackathon is integral to the course curriculum.

Given the anticipated diversity of students that might be attracted to PLAN 211 (as an undergraduate elective course) and the swelling momentum towards “hands-on learning” or “learning by doing” in higher education, this project aims to generate insights from the Ideathon Challenge as an alternative permutation of the traditional hackathon for pedagogic consideration in interdisciplinary fields such as urban planning and urban studies.

A key subset of the Ideathon Challenge (and PLAN 211 course format) is the weekly 1-hour tutorial session, conceptualized and referred to as an “Incubator”. The Incubator is a supportive learning environment for in-depth discussions on course topics, while also providing a creative outlet for significant team-based tasks. Incubator sessions are facilitated by PLAN 211 teaching assistants who are graduate students in the School of Community and Regional Planning at UBC.