Special Session Review Guidelines

Review Timeline

Reviewing Phase Start Date End Date
Bidding Saturday, August 14, 2021 Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Reviewing Thursday, August 19 2021 Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Discussion & Recommendations Thursday, September 2, 2021 Friday, September 10, 2021


Current as of August 13 2020

Special sessions provide an opportunity for SIGCSE community members to customize and experiment with the Technical Symposium formats. Special sessions should NOT replicate existing 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, a rapid-fire sequence of five-minute talks, or a hands-on 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.

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.

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.


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.

The review form for special sessions will ask you to comment specifically on three aspects of the proposal, described below. Please refer to the prompts below as you write your review.

  1. Relevance and Interest
    • 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 there a clear audience that would be interested in the session?
  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 in the SIGCSE Technical Symposium (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)
    • Is the plan for virtual engagement clear, and will the proposed virtual format be productive and engaging for audience members?
  3. Presenter/Leader considerations
    • Does the proposal clearly identify the presenters/leaders of the special session (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?

Here are some tips and good practices for reviewing gathered from the SIGCSE community during SIGCSE TS 2021.


The discussion and recommendation period provides the opportunity for the Track Chairs to discuss reviews and feedback so they can provide the best recommendation for acceptance or rejection to the Program Chairs and that the submission is given full consideration in the review process. We ask that Reviewers engage in discussion when prompted by other reviewers, the Track Chairs by using the Comments feature of EasyChair. During this period you will be able to revise your review based on the discussion, but you are not required to do so.

The Track Chairs will make a final recommendation to the Program Chairs from your feedback.

Recalcitrant Reviewers

Reviewers who don’t submit reviews, have reviews with limited constructive feedback, or who submit inappropriate reviews will be removed from the reviewer list (as per SIGCSE policy). Recalcitrant reviewers will be informed of their removal from the reviewer list. Reviewers with repeated offenses (two within a three year period) will be removed from SIGCSE reviewing for three years.