Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Man Who Came to ICER ...

There have been a few interesting notes since my last posting here. Proposals for papers, panels, special sessions and workshops closed last weekend, and we are very pleased by the perceived excitement level -- proposal counts appear to have met or exceeded the numbers from last year. We are grateful to the authors who submitted their work, and and now looking forward to putting together the actual program. However, this program strongly depends on the feedback from our global team of reviewers. Kudos to Sue Fitzgerald, Mark Guzdial, Lisa Meeden, and Steve Wolfman, as well as DB gurus Henry Walker and John Dooley for a very quick turnaround from submitting to reviewing.

After working with the program committee for a few months now, I have come to depend on each member. For example, Mark Guzdial always seems to be juggling at least four items. Case in point -- after completing last week's deadline as SIGCSE 2008 Program Chair, he then switched to ICER 2007 Workshop Chair and Host. Well, if you count, that's only three things, so I was happy to add to Mark's to-do list by "offering to stay with him and his family." My travel budget is stretched this year particularly, but I really wanted to attend ICER, especially the Statistics Bootcamp (conducted by Mark's Co-Chair, Sue Fitzgerald -- has SIGCSE Program Chair become that easy? :-).

Mark and his wife Barbara have graciously taken in the poor professor from Pennsylvania. Their daughter Katie asked me which is better, Georgia or Pennsylvania, and it was easy to answer -- Georgia, as I have never had a bad day yet there (but have had many "challenges" back home in PA).

The Statistics Bootcamp was great, David Drew for Claremont Graduate University provided a rapid and full overview of the use of statistics in computing education research. His insight and honest views of the field were very useful to hear. I suppose we can also expect a higher level of results analysis in certain journals (hint, hint, Josh!). I hope to post a few photos from dinner when I get back to Haverford. Thanks to Sue Fitzgerald and Beth Simon for making this event possible.

I am presently attending the ICER 2007 keynote by John Stasko of Georgia Tech discussing his work in algorithm animation. There are many familiar faces from SIGCSE, including my Co-Chair Susan Rodger, as well as many "SIGCSE Symposia Chair Emerti." I am sure we'll be planning and revising the planning, and then planning some more. It is work, but (mostly) a labour of love (for our international audience :-).

BTW, Barbara Boucher Owens, SIGCSE President, announced:
  • ICER 2008 will be held late September/early October (exact dates TBD) in Sydney, Australia
  • SIGCSE 2009 will be held in Chattanooga, Tennessee USA
  • ICER 2009 in Berkeley, California USA
  • ICER 2010 in Aarus, Denmark (ITiCSE 2002 was there, it's very cool!)
Day 1 of ICER 2007 (SAT) was chock full of quality computing education research reports, covering everything from how do students think to how much the perceptions of teachers impact what students learn -- and how to gauge this phenomenon. There was mention of a book about a college professor who enrolled as a freshman during a leave. Saturday evening was a dinner enjoying peers and a the Georgia Tech vs. Boston College football game (sadly for GATech ...).

Day 2 (SUN) ramped up slowly with papers involving cognitive load and its impact on teaching. Discussions at ICER follow every two presentation, and continue over meals and breaks. While they sound heated, they are never insulting (or should not be taken that way). I can say there is a very high laughter/word ratio in the entire workshop -- that's my opinion, anyway.

Until next post, remember that Posters and Birds-of-a-Feather proposals are due in early November 2007 for SIGCSE 2008.