Special Session Review Guidelines

Review Timeline

Reviewing Phase Start Date End Date
Reviewing Saturday, August 31, 2019 Saturday, September 21, 2019
Discussion & Recommendations Thursday, September 19, 2019 Wednesday, September 25, 2019


Special sessions provide an opportunity for SIGCSE community members to customize and experiment with the SIGCSE conference format. Special sessions should NOT replicate existing SIGCSE session formats (i.e., panels, paper presentations, lightning talks, and poster sessions). They are scheduled in standard conference spaces. Within these constraints, authors may design a format that meets their session’s goals.

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

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.

Special session proposal review is NOT blind. 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.


SIGCSE special session proposals are reviewed using EasyChair. Each proposal is assigned to at least three reviewers.

Please provide constructive feedback and clearly justify your choice of rating to help the authors. A review that gives a low score with no written comments is not helpful to the authors since it simply tells the authors that they have been unsuccessful, with no indication of how or why.

For a typical special session proposal, here are some key factors to include (as an author) and to look for (as a reviewer):

  1. Topic
    • Is the special session topic clearly stated?
    • Are the benefits to the SIGCSE audience clearly indicated? Is the special session topic of interest to the SIGCSE community?
      • is this a new topic of discussion?
      • is this a continuing topic of discussion for the SIGCSE community?
      • is the topic timely and relevant to current trends in CS Education or CS Ed Research?
  2. Structure & Plan for Audience Participation
    • Is there an overview of the special session structure?
    • Does the proposal state why it is better suited for a special session and how it differs from other formats used at SIGCSE (paper presentations, panels, lightning talks, and poster sessions)?
    • Does the proposal identify the intended audience?
    • What interaction with the audience is included in the proposed structure? (the suggestion is to allow 40-50% for some interaction with the audience)
  3. Participants
    • Does the proposal clearly identify the participants (i.e., name and affiliation) and describe their expertise related to the topic?
    • Does the proposal clearly describe the role of each participant in relation to the goal and topic of the special session?