The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN) invites educators to its Hacking for Defense® (H4D) virtual Educators Course.

What is H4D

Hacking for Defense is a university course sponsored by the Department of Defense that teaches students to work with the Defense and Intelligence Communities to rapidly address the nation’s emerging threats and security challenges.

Educators Course Overview

This five-module course is designed to enable H4D educators to gain an overview of the H4D program — the curriculum, pedagogy, tools, and community — to ensure a successful program at your university.

“Hacking for Defense has a model that engages students in a way many of them have not experienced in an academic setting. What I’ve learned from teaching the program is that regardless of the problem set, students learn how to deeply and richly engage with various stakeholders. They immerse themselves in a domain over the course of the semester and understand how fluid problems require deep insight and deeper questioning. As an educator, it has been a joy to watch the students grow, and become increasingly confident in their skill sets. Learning how to work as a team, how to deeply engage in a domain, and how to present findings and handle critiques, are skills that we hope all new graduates will obtain over the course of the college careers. Hacking for Defense helps to deliver this outcome in a unique way.”

- James Santa, DBA, Adjunct Faculty, Rochester Institute of Technology

What to expect from the Educators Course

  • Module One: Overview of H4D (online, narrarated, self-paced)(available June 8th 2021, duration: 75 minutes)
  • Module Two: H4D Educator Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Tools (online, live) (Wednesday, June 16, 2 - 5 pm EST)
  • Module Three: Panels with former Educators, Sponsors, and Students (online, live) (Thursday, June 17, 2 - 4 pm EST)
  • Module Four Kickoff: An introductory session with the H4D Program Team on the Module 4 team exercise. Participants will have opportunity for Q&A with the Problem Sponsor. (Friday, June 18, 2-3 pm EST)
  • Module Four: H4D Team Exercise designed to mirror the H4D student experience for educators (conducted the week of Monday, June. 21- 25, see FAQ below)
  • Module Four Out-brief: H4D Team Exercise designed to mirror the H4D student team final presentation experience. (Wednesday, June 30, TBD)
  • Module Five: Educator Team Support (personalized, follow-on support for universities delivered after the course one to two months from H4D course launch)

Please Note: Upon registering for the course, the H4D Program Team will contact you with additional information and access to Module 1.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to participate in Module Four? Module Four is required of first-time H4D educator teams. If your university is offering H4D for the first time, we would like the full educator team to particpate.
  • What is Module Four? Module Four is a week-long exercise designed to provide the H4D educator with an immersive understanding of the pedagogy and curriculum of H4D and simulate the course experience. The exercise is team-based, and you can expect to work with fellow future H4D instructors from your university and/or nearby universities.
  • What to Expect of Module Four? You and your team will receive a curated problem statement and a set of beneficiaries to interview with the objective of testing hypotheses you develop on your Mission Model Canvas.
  • What is the time commitment for Module Four? Module Four will occur from Monday, June 21 to Friday, June 25 and culminate with an out-brief of your findings to the H4D Program Team on Wednesday, June 30. Throughout the week, you and your team will conduct a handful of beneficiary discovery calls (approx. 15 minutes / call), attend a Q&A session with your problem sponsor, attend office hours with the instructor (optional), and present your outbrief to the H4D Program Team. All in all, we estimate roughly four to six hours for Module Four.


Registration has closed.


The NSIN Hacking for Defense program is powered by BMNT, Inc. and the Common Mission Project.