uOttawa students help local group through communications hackathon

Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2018

Close up of a student's hand, and papers on which to design a mobile application

This winter, the Conseil de développement de sports de Gatineau (CDSG), which offers sports medicine services, organizes events and provides scholarships and additional support to athletes, coaches and others involved in the sports scene in the region, contacted the Michaëlle Jean Centre.  The goal? To get student assistance in developing a strategy to communicate better with various stakeholders. Thanks to the Community Service Learning program, the CDSG was put in contact with Professor Sylvie Grosjean and students in her organizational communication consultation and training course, CMN3548

For one term, the students became communications consultants. They met CDSG members to discuss the latter’s needs and then produced a report for them. Grosjean also organized a one-day communications hackathon competition. The students’ goal was to work together to design a communications strategy to increase the organization’s visibility and the loyalty of its target groups. Birane Wane, a student in the course and a member of the winning hackathon team says, "We worked as team, making sure to include all of the Conseil’s objectives. It was a very rewarding experience for me, because I was able to put into practice the methods we saw in our consultation and training course.  I encourage future students to make an effort and have this experience, because they’ll be better for it. It taught me that teamwork can be very effective if it’s well organized."

Olivier Tyteca, a CDSG development officer, loved the experience of collaborating. “Everything was well organized and everyone’s role was clear. The final result exceeded our expectations. The students were very professional in performing their work.” The CDSG team would like to go ahead with the development of a mobile app integrating the outstanding ideas suggested by the hackathon teams, and is currently looking for the IT support to do so.

For Grosjean, the hackathon is interesting because it allows students from her course to work with other students who want to look at the same question, which stimulates creativity and improves learning. “The event is an opportunity for students to put their knowledge into practice and develop the analytical skills any future communications professional needs,” she says.

Grosjean will teach CMN3548 again in the fall, allowing a different organization to benefit from her students’ help in facing another communications challenge.

Back to top