Saturday, January 30, 1999

Dear Doctoral Consortium participant,

We are delighted to accept your application to join the SIGCSE '99 Doctoral Consortium. This letter provides you with some details about what to expect. A paper copy of this letter will go into the mail on Monday.

The benefits of a doctoral consortium arise primarily from the experiences, camaraderie, and insights the participating students offer one another. Our aim is to put you in touch with other students and with a few seasoned researchers in a context that will allow you to address issues of concern to you as a doctoral student and to reflect on the process of your own research. The participants in the Doctoral Consortium have a wide range of interests, from CS education to technical topics and cover all stages of doctoral study, from 'just starting' to 'near completion'.


The Consortium day will be a mix of participant presentations and discussions. Each DC participant will make a 10 minute presentation of their research, with questions and discussion immediately following. As a feedback device, there will be a one-page quick-reaction form for the audience to fill out during the presentations -- one form per participant or discussant per presentation. This will allow each speaker to collect 'unspoken' reactions, questions, and pointers.

We are pleased to have four experienced researchers as discussants: Dr. Nell Dale (University of Texas at Austin, USA), Dr. Sally A. Fincher (University of Kent, UK), Dr. Ann Fleury (Aurora University, USA), and Dr. Fintan Culwin (South Bank University). We shall also act as discussants. Prior to the conference, each of the discussants has been asked to read your research abstract and send at least one constructively critical question; this should arrive in your mailbox by 10 March. Questions can be about any aspect of the work (Why did you choose this research method? Have you seen so-and-so's work on this subject? How do you account for this classic pitfall? etc.) and should help you see what you need to think about before you present your work at the DC.

Because the DC begins early on Wed., March 24, we strongly recommend that you plan to arrive in New Orleans by Tuesday evening. Your registration fee covers both the DC and the conference, so we hope you will stay for the full conference. There will be a DC follow-up activity sometime during the conference, probably on Friday, March 26. This activity will provide everyone with a chance to gather later in the conference and reflect a bit on the experience.

When and where:

The Doctoral Consortium will be March 24, 1999, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. We will meet in the conference hotel, the Radisson Hotel New Orleans. Registration and coffee will begin at 8:30. We will begin promptly at nine.

On Tuesday March 23 , we will organize an informal dinner for everyone who has arrived by early evening.

Preparation for the Consortium:

1. Register. You must register for the SIGCSE Technical Symposium. The form for registering can be found on the Web at the conference Web site ( Early registration MUST be postmarked by February 12, 1999 and received by February 19, 1999. If you are a full-time student, then you qualify for the student rate, which does not include either the proceedings or the luncheon on Friday.

2. Book your accommodation and make travel arrangements. The conference Web site provides information about the conference hotel and other nearby hotels. There is also a roommate matching program. This information is located at

3. Prepare a Web-based abstract of your research. This description may differ from what you submitted in your application, although for many of you the application already provided a good description. You must get this to Vicki by February 12. If we have not received an updated paper from you by February 12, then we will use your Consortium application. Since the goal is to make your abstract easy to access for everyone, we prefer that you submit a relatively simple html document. If you want to discuss other formats, please contact Vicki.

4. Interact with the discussants. By March 10, you should receive input from each of the discussants . You are welcome to respond to the discussants and to explore their comments via email exchanges.

5. Prepare a 10-minute talk. Prepare a brief presentation of your research. You will have a 15-minute time slot, with 10 minutes devoted to your presentation and 5 minutes reserved for questions and discussion. Your presentation should provide an overview of your topic and can address issues such as what's particularly interesting and valuable about your focus on it, what approach you've taken to addressing it, and what you've learned so far. Time keeping will be strict.

6. Read the other participants' research abstracts. After February 17, each participant's research abstract will be available at the DC Web site. If you wish to begin interacting with other participants prior to the DC, you are welcome to do so. At a minimum, you should read these descriptions before the DC begins and develop at least two questions to ask each of the other participants about their research. Come prepared to interact and share!

Closing thoughts:

If there are particular issues that you would like to hear discussed, please contact us with them as soon as possible. We will try to incorporate such issues in the program in some form.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of us if you have questions. With your help, this is going to be a stimulating day. We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!!

Warm regards,

Marian and Vicki, Consortium Co-coordinators

Dr. Marian Petre
EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow
Center for Informatics Education Research
Faculty of Mathematics and Computing
Open University
Milton Keynes MK7 6AA
tel: +44 1908 65 33 73
fax: +44 1908 65 21 40
secretary: +44 1908 65 37 96

Vicki L. Almstrum, Ph.D tel: +1-512-471-7316 (CS dept. switchboard)
Dept of Computer Sciences fax: +1-512-471-8885
Univ. of Texas at Austin email:
Austin, TX 78712 USA web: