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City of Oshawa impressed by students’ fresh ideas at March 3 hackathon

Team Name members Brent Myers (second from left) and Ethan Elliott (far right) with Steven Murphy, PhD, President, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (third from left), and university researchers and hackathon mentors Karthik Sankaranarayanan, PhD (far left); Khalil El-Khatib, PhD (third from right); and Sean Bohun, PhD (second from right).
Team Name members Brent Myers (second from left) and Ethan Elliott (far right) with Steven Murphy, PhD, President, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (third from left), and university researchers and hackathon mentors Karthik Sankaranarayanan, PhD (far left); Khalil El-Khatib, PhD (third from right); and Sean Bohun, PhD (second from right).

University of Ontario Institute of Technology students have some amazing public policy ideas to share with the City of Oshawa.

On March 3, the city hosted its first-ever Teaching City Hackathon, in which teams of students from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Trent University Durham GTA and Durham College worked on solutions to the city’s residential housing challenges.

A team of three University of Ontario Institute of Technology students walked away with first prize for proposing the development of a web-based portal to help renters find and rate potential dwellings.

The students, who entered the hackathon with the satirical moniker ‘Team Name’, won $1,500 for their efforts.

Team Name members:

  • Ethan Elliott (Software Engineering, class of 2020)
  • Brent Myers (Networking and Information Technology (IT) Security, class of 2018)
  • Thomas Ryan (Networking and IT Security, class of 2019)

Team Name was one of 10 teams in the hackathon. Another team called ‘Trailblazers’, featuring University of Ontario Institute of Technology students Angelique Dack (Political Science, class of 2021) and Riya Kantharia (Forensic Psychology, class of 2019), as well as a Trent student, proposed consolidating the existing rental housing information on the City of Oshawa website onto one page to make it easier to find. They also recommended mandatory training for the landlords regarding the city's rental housing rules and regulations. The Trailblazers earned third place and a $500 award.

The hackathon is the second project of Teaching City, a formal collaboration between the City of Oshawa, Canadian Urban Institute, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Durham College, Trent University Durham GTA, and the University of Toronto’s Department of Civil Engineering.

Teaching City aims to establish Oshawa as a city focused on experiential learning, applied research and innovative teaching partnerships to address urban issues. The Hackathon Steering Committee, Spark Centre, local entrepreneurs and winning teams will review opportunities for the proposed solutions for potential commercial product development.

The hackathon coincided with International Open Data Day.

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Quotes

“Participating in this Hackathon provided me and my teammates with valuable insight into the practical applications of the theory taught in class. In addition to the financial reward, the hackathon gives us an opportunity to further develop this solution into a potential business, allowing us to jump-start our careers.”
-Brent Myers, Team Name member and fourth-year Networking and IT Security student, University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

“Congratulations to Team Name for its success in the Teaching City Hackathon. It’s great to see a student team from our university win this hackathon, and even better to see the collaboration that went into addressing the housing challenges in Oshawa.”
-Steven Murphy, PhD, President, University of Ontario Institute of Technology. 

“The Teaching City Hackathon not only provided fresh ideas and new approaches to residential rental housing in Oshawa, but also an enriched educational experience, I am constantly amazed by the brilliant minds that call Oshawa home. Giving opportunities to young people will change the world, and this is a great example.”
-John Henry, Oshawa Mayor 

“The first two Teaching City projects, Hackathon and Diversity & Inclusion Plan, have set the bar high for future initiatives. The use of technology and collaboration to develop solutions that enhance customer service for Oshawa’s residents is our future.”
-Jag Sharma, Manager, City of Oshawa

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