Computing Applications

SIGCSE Day 1 Is in the Books

The logo of SIGCSE 2015.
The logo of SIGCSE 2015.

The 46th annual SIGCSE Symposium officially kicked off on Thursday morning with a welcome from the symposium chairs, Adrienne Decker (Rochester Institute of Technology) and Kurt Eiselt (University of British Columbia). Besides entertaining the crowd with their special brand of comedy, we found out there were 1,230 attendees registered.

Jessica Hodgins (Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) & Disney Research) delivered the keynote address, "Educating for Both Art & Technology." She discussed two different classes she helped to develop and teach at CMU and how her work at Disney Research contributes. It was very thoughtful – how to combine art students and computing students into a single class and produce amazing animated videos.

After mingling in the Exhibit Hall for a brief break, attendees then were forced to choose between four different paper sessions, two special sessions, a panel, and two supporter sessions. Attendees could learn about how others are handling the booming CS enrollment at their university, how to engage students with the power of data, CS education research, or new curriculum ideas.

The First-Timers Luncheon was a highlight of the day, with Frank Young (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology) receiving the Lifetime Service award and talking to the audience about "Paying Back and Paying Forward." It was a wonderful tribute to how we, as educators, can also serve not only our community and our students, but society as a whole.

The afternoon was filled with two more sessions with loads of papers on topics as diverse as automated assessment, gender and diversity, and student persistence and attitudes. Flipped classrooms were the topic of both a paper session and a panel. The new AP Computer Science Principles course was covered in a well-attended special session. IRB Approvals and Assessment of curriculum were topics of special sessions.

In addition to all of the above, demo sessions of various new educational tools and NSF-funded projects were presented. Thanks to all of the exhibitors for providing endless material for us to read and learn about.

The first day ended with BOFs — Birds of a Feather groups. These are groups where ideas are presented and, if anyone is interested in the idea, they gather around and discuss. There are always so many BOFs that it's hard to choose among them, but everyone enjoys discussing such varied topics. Many research projects have started with a BOF.

After the BOFs, everyone moved to the reception, where we enjoyed delicious Kansas City Barbeque and a macaroni and cheese bar. We thank our reception sponsors, NCWIT and Vocareum. In addition, NCWIT announced a $500,000 grant from Google in partnership with ACM-W to grow support for women in computing. Thank you so much for all the support for our community!

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that SIGCSE 2015 actually began on Wednesday, with pre-symposium events and workshops. Pre-symposium events included a session on using GitHub in the classroom, Computing for the Social Good, and a Tip-A-Thon from CS Teaching Tips. Workshops are always a popular way for educators to get a little more hands-on education about something we're interested in, whether it be incorporating more soft skills in the classroom or making music with computers using python.

Coming up tomorrow: a keynote from David Allen Weiss and a more in-depth look at some of the hot topics of SIGCSE 2015.

Briana B. Morrison is assistant professor of software engineering at Southern Polytechnic State University, and publicity/social media chair of SIGCSE 2015.

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