Special Session Submission Information

Now accepting submissions!
Date Due Friday, August 28, 2020
Time Due 23:59 AoE (Anywhere on Earth, UTC-12h)
Submission Limits 2 pages
Submission Link SIGCSE TS 2021 Submission via EasyChair
Notification to Authors Friday, October 9, 2020
Camera-Ready Deadline Sunday, December 1, 2020
Duration 75 minutes

On August 12 2020, it was announced that the Technical Symposium is a virtual event in 2021. We are working to update the author and reviewer guidelines.

Author Guidelines: Special Session

Current as of August 13 2020

Special sessions are your opportunity to customize and experiment with the SIGCSE Technical Symposium format. Special sessions should NOT replicate existing session formats (i.e., panels, paper presentations, poster sessions, etc.) that are part of the SIGCSE Technical Symposium. They are scheduled in standard conference spaces. Within these constraints, the form is yours to design, keeping in mind that the 2021 Technical Symposium will be 100% virtual.

For example, a special session might be a tutorial or seminar, a committee report, a curricular or accreditation forum, or a hands-on (remote) demo of dance moves proven to improve retention of computing topics.

Possible topic areas include management of large classes, projects and assignments, teaching computer science in K-12, experiments on collaborative learning, report of an ACM committee addressing issues at two-year colleges, or special issues arising when teaching computing outside of North America.

Single-Anonymous Review Process

Initial submissions to the Special Sessions track are reviewed with the single-anonymous review process, where the submissions are not anonymized but reviewers are anonymous to each other and to the authors. During the discussion of a submission in EasyChair, reviewers can refer to each other by their reviewer number on that submission’s review.

Criteria used in reviewing the proposals will include the likely level of interest in the session and the suitability and feasibility of the proposed format to its topic. If the proposal is accepted, all presenters listed in the special session description will be required to register for the conference and to participate in the session.

Planning for a virtual session

The SIGCSE 2021 Technical Symposium will be virtual. We believe that special sessions can be conducted productively in this virtual format, but proposers will need to explicitly plan their session to be successful in this format. Some sessions (e.g. committee reports with Q&A) might need relatively little modifications, while others (e.g. brainstorming sessions with attendees in small groups) might require a fundamentally different structure. You must include in your proposal details of how the session will be run in virtual format. Please do not refer to specific technologies. Instead focus on the process that you will use to make sure remote participants are engaged and included.

Resubmitting an accepted Special Session from 2020

Normally repeat submission of the same Special Session in back-to-back years is discouraged, but because the 2020 Technical Symposium was canceled, it is fine to resubmit an accepted Special Session from 2020 for consideration for the 2021 Technical Symposium. However, please take note of the following:

  1. You must have a clear plan for a virtual format in your submission.
  2. You should clearly indicate in your submission that this is a resubmission of an accepted session from 2020.
  3. If accepted, the abstract will not be republished, but your session will run in the 2021 Symposium.
  4. There is no guarantee that a Special Session will be accepted this year just because it was accepted last year. Having it accepted last year will not hurt or improve the chances that it is accepted this year.

How Should The Proposal Be Formatted?

The proposal is limited to a maximum of 2 pages and must adhere to ACM’s publication guidelines.

Be sure to use US letter size pages that measure 8.5” by 11”, that’s 215.9mm by 279.4mm.

SIGCSE 2021 is not participating in the new ACM workflow, template, and production system. Word Authors, please use the Interim Template. LaTeX Authors, please use the official ACM Master with the ACM_SigConf template.

The following modifications and exceptions apply:

  • Abstract: Should provide a brief summary describing your special session including session objective, intended audience, and relevance to the SIGCSE community.

  • Subsequent sections should contain the following information:

    • Overall objective of the session: Describe the topic of the special session and explain how the session will be organized (e.g., as a committee report, tutorial, hands-on exercise, …). Indicate why the proposed session is important and relevant to the SIGCSE community. If this is a resubmission of a session that was accepted for the 2020 Symposium, please indicate this.

    • Outline of the session: Organize this section by subtopics, activities, or a similar scheme. If more than one participant is involved, label each section of the outline with the name of the participant who will be presenting that section. Note that in the case of a committee report, the presenters might be a subset of the authors. We suggest that you allow at least 40 - 50% of the time for questions and answers or other interaction with the attendees.

    • NEW for 2021! Plan for holding the session virtually: Explicitly address how will you ensure that the session is still productive in a virtual format. How will you manage the session virtually, and how will remote participants engage with session leaders?

    • Expectations: State the intended audience. Indicate how much the session will cover and what the audience should learn. If feedback from the audience is desired, indicate how it will be elicited. Explicitly stating these expectations is particularly important if your proposed special session is a tutorial.

    • Suitability for a special session: Include a brief description that justifies the inclusion of this presentation as a special session. Explain why the proposed presentation is better suited for a special session than a paper or panel.

    • References: Citing relevant work where appropriate is encouraged, but not required. If they are included, they should be placed in a separate section titled References and should follow the formatting guidelines.

If accepted, the special session description will be allocated 2 pages in the conference proceedings and must adhere to the formatting guidelines specified above. To facilitate the transition from proposal to camera-ready copy, it is critical that authors adhere closely to the formatting specifications and page limits.

Sample Proposal

* NOTE: This sample does not include information about a virtual format, which is required this year.

How Do I Submit My Special Session?

Please be aware that the submission form asks you to provide demographic information. This demographic information is being collected by ACM; they created the questions and require them to be in the submission form. Please know that the demographic information submitted is not seen (and thus cannot be used in any way) by Technical Symposium reviewers or leadership. We also have no control over the questions asked nor where they appear in the form.

SIGCSE TS 2021 is not participating in the new ACM workflow, template, and production system. MS Word Authors, please use the Interim Template. LaTeX Authors, please use the official ACM Master with the ACM_SigConf template.

Submissions use the English language. If you desire editing services, consider the following from the ACM.

ACM has partnered with International Science Editing (ISE) to provide language editing services to ACM authors. ISE offers a comprehensive range of services for authors including standard and premium English language editing, as well as illustration and translation services. Editing services are at author expense and do not guarantee publication of a manuscript.
  • Write your submission using the format specified above. Within the proposal, you must provide Category and Subject Descriptors, General Terms, and Keywords, just as paper authors must do. These requirements are described in more detail in the ACM Computing Classification System.

  • Recall that you will also need to copy-and-paste or type your text abstract description into a text box in the submission form. Be sure that the same text appears in the submission and in the abstract text box in the submission form.

  • Be sure to choose the appropriate topic areas when submitting. Your choices help in assigning appropriate reviewers to your submission, and assist the reviewers in evaluating the paper from an appropriate perspective.

  • Convert your submission-ready paper into Adobe PDF format. Refer to our Creating Adobe PDF Documents page page for assistance.

  • When you’re ready to submit, use the online submission system - EasyChair to complete the submission form and upload your submission. In addition to uploading the PDF version of your submission, you will fill out a form with metadata about your submission.

Please do not wait until the last minute to submit your documents because that is when everyone else will be connecting to our server!

Make note of the proposal ID number and password assigned to your submission. You will receive an email message confirmation. Spam filters sometimes trap these automatically generated messages so you may need to check your spam trap for the confirmation and later, acceptance or rejection notification.

After receiving confirmation, go to the submission site to review your submission for accuracy. Send email to the chair(s) (see below) if there are any problems.


If you have questions about anything discussed above, please contact:

Panels and Special Sessions Team

Email: panels@sigcse2021.org

  • Christine Alvarado
    University of California, San Diego
  • Ben Stephenson
    University of Calgary