Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 UPDATE: ALL COURSE SESSIONS WILL BE HELD VIRTUALLY

General

Who can apply to participate in this course?

Any enrolled student at UC Santa Cruz can apply from any department.

** If you are not a student but are interested in providing technical advice to a team, email Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu letting us now which of the specific problems you are best suited to advise on, your company, position, LinkedIn profile, and contact information. **

How do I enroll in the course?

First, apply as an individual or as a team.

Applications are now closed, if you would like to join the Spring 2020 course, please email the teaching team at Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu.

Application Link (now closed).

Once you have applied, we will provide a permission number for the course. There is an graduate and an undergraduate version of the course (they meet together on Wednesdays from 4-7pm see specific course numbers below).

I have some questions, whom should I contact?

Please email Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu or come to one of our upcoming information session socials (food and lemonade provided)

I am interested in finding team members or joining a team for the course, where can I look?

Complete the application as an individual. The teaching team will help you find teammates.

Click here for the application.

Who will be teaching the course?

The course planning and teaching team includes two UCSC Professors (Kapuscinski and Carter), a UCSC lecturer and entrepreneur in residence (Carafa), a UCSC Graduate Program Advisor (Sarah Eminhizer) and a stellar set of Silicon Valley leaders in innovation and entrepreneurship (Steve Weinstein, Rhadika Malpini, and Vikram Sahai). Professor Anne Kapuscinski is responsible for assessing graduate students' work and a Lecturer who is an entrepreneur in residence in Professor Sue Carter's Innovation program will be responsible for assessing undergrads' work.

How do apply?

Application is open! See the application page or click here. You can apply as an individual and the teaching and planning team will help connect you with teammates or you can apply as a team.

Can I apply as a team with our own idea/technology?

Yes, but you need to contact the teaching team at Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu to discuss your idea and get help finding a sponsor to sponsor your team.

When will I hear if I am accepted into the course?

The course has a rolling admission and quickly after you apply, you will receive word.

I am not technical, can I apply?

Yes, any student can apply. The best efforts come from teams that have a diverse background.

I have an idea/project that I think the Hacking 4 Oceans course team would be interested in. It doesn't fit one of the problem topics, can I still apply for this course?

Please contact the teaching team at Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu to discuss your idea and see if it is possible to identify an organization to sponsor your project.

What is the difference between this course and I-Corps?

In H4O, student teams select from around an existing set of problems provided by a range of project sponsors.Although teams pick a problem to solve, H4O is not a product incubator for a specific technology solution. Instead, it provides teams with a deeper understanding of selected problems, customer discovery experience, the challenges of getting solutions out to the field, and the host of potential solutions that might be arrayed to solve them.

You can review the H4O syllabus below:

Do I have to be a US citizen to take this course?

No, all nationalities are welcome.

Do I have to have previous experience with environmental research organizations?

​​No prior experience required - the course has a set of mentors and advisers to assist the teams.

How will we figure out who to talk to from sponsoring organizations?

Each team will have a dedicated sponsor. They are the providers of the problem and will be making initial introductions for you. Then the rest is up to you, your teammates, mentors, and advisers to help you figure whom else to talk to.

How much time per week will I be spending on this course?

While the course meets once a week for three hours, students regularly spend 10-15 hours each talking to customers and building minimal viable products. Do not take this course if you cannot commit the time.

How do I join the mailing list?

Complete the interest form here and you will be included on future emails/updates.

Resources Available

What kind of support will our team have?

The teaching team consists of professors, experienced government professionals, and multiple course assistants. Each team will be assigned a mentor and a liaison. A mentor is an experienced researcher, investor or consultant assigned to your team. They’ve volunteered to help with the course and your team because they love hard problems, love startups, and appreciate the importance of addressing issues facing the ocean. Their job is to guide you as you get out of the building and to interface effectively with your sponsors.

How often can we/should we meet with our mentor?

Your mentor is expecting to meet with you at least every week face-to-face or by Zoom. You can email them or meet with them more often if they have time.

Can I talk to a mentor not assigned to my team?

By all means, do so. All the mentors are happy to help. However, they cannot support your team full time unless your mentor decides to swap places with them.

I have a busy schedule and my mentor can’t meet when I want them to.

Mentors have day jobs. Asking them to meet or reply to you ASAP is not acceptable. So plan ahead to allow for a reasonable amount of time for a reply or meeting. Be concise with your request and be respectful of their time.

I need help now.

You first stop is your TA or the teaching team. Email or sit down with them during the week if you have a problem. Office hours will be included in the syllabus for the course. If you need something resolved sooner, email us (Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu).

Team Dynamics

What roles are in each team?

​Traditionally, each team member is part of the “customer development team.” You have to figure out how to allocate the work.

What if my team becomes dysfunctional?

Prepare to work through difficult issues. If the situation continues, approach the teaching team. Do not wait until the end of the quarter to raise the issue.

What if one of my teammates is not "pulling his/her weight"?

Try to resolve it within your team. If the situation continues longer than a week, please approach the teaching team. Final grades will reflect individual participation and contribution.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

Weekly continual and direct feedback. Substandard quality work will be immediately brought to your attention​.

Team Ideas and Solutions

​Who owns the intellectual property tested in the Mission Model?

If you’re working with a UCSC related-technology (i.e. either research from one of the team members or University IP), you must check with the IP Management team under the Office of Research to understand UCSC ownership rights in any resulting IP.

  1. You own what Intellectual Property (patents, hardware, algorithms, etc.) you brought to the course with you. No one (other than UCSC) has claim to anything you brought to the course.
  2. You own all intellectual property (such as code for a web-based project) developed during course. You are agreeing to open-source your course-developed assets. Your sponsor will have access to those materials.
  3. You and your team members need to disclose to each other and your sponsor what IP/Licensing rights any company you’ve worked at has to inventions you make at school.
  4. If any of you decide to start a company based on the course, you own only what was written and completed in the course. You have no claim for work done before or after the quarter.
  5. If a subset of the team decides to start a company, they do NOT “owe” anything to any other team members for work done in and during the course. All team members are free to start the same company, without permission of the others. (We would hope that a modicum of common sense and fairness would apply.)
  6. By taking this course you have agreed to these terms with your team.

I feel my idea / Mission Model may become a real company and the "next killer app" and I want to own it myself what should I do?

A number of startups have come out of the Lean LaunchPad/Hacking for X classes. However, this is a team-based course. While you're in this course your slides, notes, and findings will be shared with your team. There are no Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) Your team owns everything done in the course. Discuss Intellectual Property rights with your team from the beginning. If you can’t come to agreement with the team, join another team, pick another project, or drop the course. Remember anything you do and learn in the course is public.

Will my Intellectual Property rights be covered under non-disclosures when I discuss my ideas with the course?

NO. This is an open course. There are no non-disclosures. All your presentations and Customer Discovery and Validation notes, business model canvas, blogs and slides can, and most likely will, be made public. This course is not an incubator. At times you will learn by seeing how previous courses solved the same type of problem by looking at their slides, notes and blogs.

Keep in mind that successful companies are less about the original idea and more about the learning, discovery and execution. (That’s the purpose of this course.) Therefore you must be prepared to share your ideas openly with the rest of your classmates. It is a forum for you to "bounce" your ideas off your peers.

I’m not comfortable sharing what I learn with others, what should I do?

​Do not take this course. At times you will learn by seeing how previous classes solved the same type of problem by looking at their slides, notes and blogs. ​

Other Questions?

If after reading through this page and the Details page you still have questions, please email: Hacking4Oceans@ucsc.edu