In this issue of News from the SIGs, we focus on conferences, specifically SIGCSE and SIGITE conferences. Our SIGCSE reporter, Amber Settle, reviews the SIGCSE 2017 conference and invites volunteers to participate in future conferences and other SIGCSE activities. Our SIGITE reporter, Steve Zilora, introduces the theme of the upcoming SIGITE conference.

From our SIGCSE reporter and SIGCSE chair, Amber Settle.

As I write this, my mind continues to linger on the highly successful 2017 SIGCSE Symposium. Taking place March 8–11, 2017 in Seattle, Washington, the conference had the largest attendance (1501) of any Symposium in SIGCSE history. It also set records for exhibitor and supporter participation, and the program included new aspects such as the identification of exemplary papers and multiple best paper awards. My congratulations go to Austin Bart, Ryan Whitcomb, Dennis Kafura, Cliff Shaffer, and Eli Tilevich for "Computing with CORGIS: Diverse, Real-world Datasets for Introductory Computing" that earned the Best CS Education Research Paper award; to Kathleen Timmerman and Travis Doom for "Infrastructure for Continuous Assessment of Retained Relevant Knowledge" that earned the Best New Program Paper award; and to Erik Brunvand and Nina McCurdy for "Making Noise: Using Sound-Art to Explore Technological Fluency" that earned the Best Experience Report Paper award. I once again thank the 2017 Symposium organizers, especially the conference co-chairs Steve Edwards and Michael Caspersen. The SIGCSE Board and the entire the SIGCSE community appreciate all the hard work that you and your committee did to make such an amazing conference possible.

What not all SIGCSE members may appreciate is how much of the work for our organization is done by volunteers. The SIGCSE Symposium is an excellent example. As our largest conference, it consistently reaches more than 1200 people annually, and the effort that goes into organizing it involves hundreds of people. The organizing committee for 2018 alone includes 45 people [1], and everyone is a volunteer. While I don't personally know all the people on the 2018 Symposium committee, I would bet that most of them began their service to SIGCSE by attending one of our conferences and deciding that they wanted to be more involved. If you don't already volunteer for SIGCSE, I ask that you consider starting to do so. And while conferences are the most visible chances to be involved, there are many other positions that need your attention. We recruit people to help review Special Projects applications [5]. You can create a local SIGCSE chapter to help stimulate computing education activities in your area [4]. There are SIGCSE committees centered on areas of interest to our members who are always looking for more help [3]. I hope that you'll fill out a volunteer form and let us know how you might be willing to help SIGCSE [6].

There are some SIGCSE volunteers who have impacted the community in such significant ways that they have earned special recognition from the SIGCSE Board. At the 2017 Symposium two such people were presented with awards. The annual SIGCSE award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education was awarded to Gail Chapman. Among her many accomplishments, her leadership in the Exploring Computer Science program has set a strong foundation for efforts toward expanding computer science into the K-12 curriculum in the United States. The annual SIGCSE award for Lifetime Service was awarded to Mats Daniels. Mats has extensive service in the global computing education community, including serving (twice!) as the co-chair for the Annual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education (ITiCSE). While few of us can say that we've done as much for the SIGCSE community as Gail and Mats, I'm sure that someone out there right now is getting started on a path that will result in her or him receiving one of these awards in the decades to come.

The annual SIGCSE award for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education was awarded to Gail Chapman. ... The annual SIGCSE award for Lifetime Service was awarded to Mats Daniels.

In fact, one of you might already know someone who has made a significant impact on computer science education or has dedicated himself or herself to the SIGCSE community over many decades. If so, the SIGCSE Board wants to hear from you. Nominations for Outstanding Contribution to Computer Science Education and Lifetime Service awards are due at the start of October, which means you still have time to organize a nomination. Please check the SIGCSE awards web site [6] or contact SIGCSE Vice Chair Judy Sheard, whose email address is [email protected], for more details.

I also encourage everyone, new to SIGCSE or one of our SIG's old-timers, to consider attending the 2018 Symposium in Baltimore, Maryland beginning February 21, 2018. The deadline (August 25, 2017) for papers, panel, special sessions and workshops is now past, but birds-of-a-feather, poster, demo, lightning talk, student research competition, and pre-symposium event submissions aren't due until October 20, 2017. Don't miss the chance to connect with other SIGCSE members and be a part of our vibrant and exciting community. And it's a great opportunity to get started seeing how you might volunteer to help SIGCSE in the future.

From Steve Zilora, our SIGITE reporter.

"Kids today are too preoccupied with these devices and are unwilling to learn fundamentals!" I hear myself and my colleagues saying that often, but it's probably because we heard those same words 40 years ago. Of course, then it was our fascination for calculators that frustrated our teachers. They were concerned we would become a generation that could not do basic arithmetic.

Today, students are tied to digital soundbites of information via social media. Whether Twitter, Reddit, or some other feed, their preferred source of information is the quick, pithy expression of one's opinion. Yesterday's news is, well, yesterday's. It's no longer of interest because there are hundreds of new posts and tweets to read today.

So how do we get students to sit and listen to a 2-hour lecture? How do we get them to appreciate the value of foundational concepts? One popular approach is to embrace this brave new world by converting lectures into a series of podcasts. Have you tried that? How has it worked? When is it appropriate? And what about leveraging other forms of technology to better engage our students?

This October, the theme of the annual ACM Conference on IT Education / IT Research (SIGITE and RIIT) is "Enabling the Future." ... I'm looking forward to seeing how we can use IT for pedagogical purposes as well as solving the next generation of problems.

One question that has been raised is that if we cater to these learning habits of students, what will happen when they go out into the "real world" where things are done differently? But just as the world gave up slide rules and our focus changed to solving new types of world problems as my generation entered the workforce, won't the same thing happen when today's students enter the workforce?

This October, the theme of the annual ACM Conference on IT Education / IT Research (SIGITE and RIIT) is "Enabling the Future." Information technology is all about enabling and empowering people. I'm looking forward to seeing how we can use IT for pedagogical purposes as well as solving the next generation of problems. Change is often troubling and can create turmoil, but so far IT has a pretty good track record of allowing us to do more, albeit in a different manner. Let's see what's next. How will the IT that today's students have embraced change our world? Join us in Rochester, NY to find out!

• For more information on these SIGs, see the following websites





1. SIGCSE 2018 Symposium Home Page; Accessed 2017 May 11.

2. SIGCSE Awards Web Site; Accessed 2017 May 11.

3. SIGCSE Committees; Accessed 2017 May 11.

4. SIGCSE Local Chapters; Accessed 2017 May 11.

5. SIGCSE Special Programs; Accessed 2017 May 11.

6. SIGCSE Volunteer Form; Accessed 2017 May 11.


Ellen L. Walker
Professor of Computer Science
Hiram College
Hiram, OH 44234 USA
[email protected]

Amber Settle
Vincent de Paul Associate Professor
School of Computing College of Computing and Digital Media
DePaul University
Chicago, IL 60604 USA
[email protected]

Steve Zilora
Sciences and Technologies Department
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, New York 14623
[email protected]


UF1Figure. SIGCSE 2017 Symposium Student Volunteers

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