Courses: Frequently Asked Questions

 

Deadlines & Extensions

Submissions

  Upon Acceptance

Program Background & Insights

Deadlines and Extensions

What is the submission deadline?
The course proposal submission deadline is 13 May 2009, 23:59 UTC/GMT. This is 7:59 pm on Wednesday, 13 May in New York, 4:59 pm in Los Angeles, and 8:59 am, 14 May in Tokyo.

Can I submit after the deadline?
No. The deadline is absolute. All submissions receive equal consideration up to the published deadline. Please respect other contributors and allow time for unforeseen circumstances in your submission, including (but not limited to) network connectivity, equipment failures, job impacts, life or family events, etc. These personal circumstances are outside of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009's direct control and cannot be accommodated fairly.

Why is this so absolute?
Primarily, the answer is fairness and equal opportunity for consideration. This respects the contribution process for all submissions. Secondly, the Courses deadlines were designed to maximize submission development and quality for all contributors, including those contributing to other SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 programs. Submission deadlines are set as late as possible, but they must also support quality in review, production, and delivery at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009.

Are partial or incomplete submissions considered?
Incomplete submissions are not guaranteed a review. Contributors are required to minimally meet all submission requirements by the published deadline. The Courses Committee will evaluate the merit of each completed proposal as it was submitted at the deadline even if it does not meet the author's personal quality objectives. Please allow enough time to meet your own quality goals.

How will SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 address network failures?
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 is only responsible for the availability of the submission server. If the Courses Chair is notified of a hardware or service failure in the submission system, the Courses Chair will authorize an appropriate adjustment (and will prominently post notices at several locations). All other network failures between your location and the SIGGRAPH server will not be exempted from the deadline. Please submit early to avoid connectivity-support problems or last-minute submission-server performance issues.

The SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 English Review Service failed our schedule, so it is SIGGRAPH Asia 2009's fault that our proposal is late. Can we have an extension?
No. The English Review Service is a volunteer organization, and is administered separately from the SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Courses program. Although they will do their best to help, they can make no guarantee of performance or service turn-around. Please schedule your work appropriately.

Submissions

How do tutorial, half-day, and full-day courses differ?
SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 supports three basic course formats:

  • Tutorial: 1.75 hours of syllabus, typically one presenter. Sessions may begin at various times and will contain no scheduled breaks.
  • Half day: 3.5 hours of syllabus, typically one or two presenters. These courses usually run for a total elapsed time of 3.75 hours in either the morning or afternoon and contain a single 15-minute break.
  • Full day: Seven hours of syllabus, typically two or more presenters. These courses run for an entire conference day with 15-minute breaks for morning and afternoon tea, and a (much longer) lunch break.

These lengths are fixed, and break schedules cannot be altered. Other than length, there are no significant differences in presentation style or requirements for the different course formats.

Why is it necessary to specify an intended audience? The average SIGGRAPH conference attendee should be sufficient detail, no?
No. The attendee population is actually widely variable. It includes different experience levels, different backgrounds, and different interests in technical and artistic topics. Your detailed audience identification aids proposal evaluation by the reviewers (to ensure that your course material is appropriate to the audience you wish to reach), by the Courses Committee (for program balancing), and for proper marketing to interested conference attendees.

My course was accepted by a previous SIGGRAPH conference. Doesn't that mean it is good enough for acceptance by SIGGRAPH Asia 2009?
Repeat proposals are usually well written due to prior experience. However, this does not guarantee acceptance. The merits of each proposal are weighed relative to all submissions within a given year. Selection factors such as content improvement, industry relevance and currency, past attendee feedback, past attendance patterns, course materials, and overall program balance will influence repeat session priorities. The rationale section of your proposal should provide clear, compelling reasons for repeating a course. Repeat proposals should also state how they have addressed any issues identified in previous attendee feedback.

We have taught our course before at SIGGRAPH or elsewhere. Should we submit this year?
Yes. If your proposal significantly improves upon your previous presentation, represents timely innovation, addresses a foundational subject in the field, is particularly relevant to the Asian region, or it is simply a well taught course on a popular topic, it will be considered seriously in building SIGGRAPH Asia 2009's balanced program. In the rationale section of your proposal, please detail all significant factors that should be considered during the jury process.

Does SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 tend to favor or avoid specific levels of material (beginning, intermediate, advanced)?
No. SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 will serve a wide international audience of many capabilities. The richest, most engaging courses are desired no matter what their level. This is your opportunity to address a community need with your expertise. The committee will offer the best-balanced program possible with available submissions and resources. This includes the need for a good mixture of beginning, intermediate, and advanced presentations.

We have a great idea for an untried course topic. Should we submit it?
Absolutely! SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 seeks innovation both in topic and presentation! New ideas that relate to some aspect of computer graphics and interactive techniques are most welcome for consideration. You should clearly state this relevance in the rationale section of your proposal.

Do you support anything other than Portable Document Format (PDF)? It is easier for me to provide files in [your file type here]. Everyone can read those, right?
No, please submit in PDF format. SIGGRAPH reviewers come from many backgrounds and use many operating systems (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, etc.). PDF provides easy standardization (universal viewer support, graphics, embedded fonts, etc.) for both the reviewer and the proposer (for example, it preserves intentional formatting by the submitter). Even ASCII clear text is not "universal" due to carriage-return differences, column widths, lack of graphics, etc. SIGGRAPH Courses have the greatest reviewing success using the PDF format for consistent results.

What are good-quality Course Notes?
Think of Course Notes as being the textbook chapters that you summarize in your in-class presentation. Good-quality course notes are any combination of materials (text, images, video, source code, demos, etc.) that can assist people during your course and beyond the classroom. Copies of the slides, images, and videos used during the presentation are common, but by themselves are not enough. They should be annotated with additional detailed explanations of complex concepts, elaborations on related topics that could not be fit into the time of the in-class presentations, mathematical derivations, etc. Clear examples, tutorials, explanation of techniques, annotations from your experience, and program source code, for example, are always appreciated by the students. This material should help attendees accurately understand your presentation and build a useful context for application of what they have learned.

The sample Course Notes for the submission outline and demonstrate both the types of material and quality to be included with the conference documentation. The submission sample should be just that, a sample only, not the entire full-length Course Notes, but it should provide sufficient material for the reviewers to evaluate the anticipated quality of the final product. (See Program Background & Insights for more information about the review process.) Here is a detailed sample of Course Notes with examples of recent submissions (2.1 MB PDF).

Our Course Notes are completely done. Should we put them all in the download area as part of our submission?
No. A representative sampling of the quality of your notes is all that is required. Complete sets can overwhelm and complicate the review process. It is better to show a subsection that demonstrates detail, annotation, and supplemental materials than provide the entire set. (See Program Background & Insights for more information about the review process.)

Our Course Notes from a prior offering of this course are going to be coming out as a book or are already available as a book. Do we need to discuss this in our submission?
Yes, please discuss whether you have permission from the publisher to include this material in your SlGGRAPH Asia 2009 Course Notes, and if not, what alternate form your course notes will take.

Are there printed Course Notes?
No, there are no printed Course Notes. Course notes and all other supplemental materials will only be provided on the Full Conference DVD-ROM.

In addition to the Course Notes sample PDF, can I submit additional materials (audio, video, animations, etc.) with my submission?
While we only accept a sample PDF of the Course Notes to be submitted with your proposal, you're encouraged to include a list of additional materials with your proposal. If you have samples of materials available for consideration with your proposal, please provide a reference (for example, a URL) to their location.

We have a great full-day course with fabulous speakers lined up. It requires more than two speakers to present. Can we get the additional speakers' expenses reimbursed as well?
Any presenter expenses beyond a given course format's supported reimbursement must be handled by the respective individuals. However, registration and travel expenses do not have to be allocated equally to all the speakers in your course. You can extend some form of presenter recognition to more speakers by, for example, giving some speakers reimbursement for travel expenses and others free registrations.

For details on expense reimbursement for course speakers, please see the Courses Reimbursement Policy .

We know your "real" email address. Is it okay to write you there?
No. Please use the committee mailing list. This ensures that all members of our committee are properly copied on your messages. Our response quality will invariably be higher if you respect this convention.

Our company has a great new product that is of general interest to the SIGGRAPH community. Can we submit the product announcement as a course?
Please don't. SIGGRAPH's policy is that the educational venues are not to be used for proprietary content, such as product announcements, user's group meetings, or training on the use of specific products. Courses that survey the use of a variety of similar products from the user's point of view can be successful if they carefully refrain from product endorsement. Vendors can use other forums, such as the Exhibition floor, Exhibition courses, Birds-of-a-Feather sessions, and normal self-organized user meetings and suites, to promote the use of their products.

Upon Acceptance

Our course was accepted. Now it is time to submit our Course Notes. Unfortunately, we have not had time to complete everything to the level of examples that we submitted during the review process. This will be okay, right?
No. We may have a serious problem. If the final course materials fail to meet or exceed the quality of the accepted proposal, the Courses Chair may elect to cancel your course.

I'm a course organizer who has one or more lecturers who have not completed their Course Notes. Your publication deadline is fast approaching. Can we have an extension?
No. Unfortunately, all deadlines for the Courses program (proposal, Course Notes, etc.) are closely tied to publication and production. They cannot be extended. In absolute worst-case scenarios, the Courses Chair may elect to cancel your course.

Program Background & Insights

What is the history of SIGGRAPH Courses?
SIGGRAPH Courses have educated computer graphics professionals and enthusiasts for over 30 years. The conference has established a long tradition of workshops, tutorials, and courses throughout its history. During those years, the Courses program has grown in format, style, and content. Today's formats include full-day, half-day, and tutorial (1.75 hour) presentation sessions. Recent presentations have expanded to include hands-on participatory content, intranet wireless interactive content, and special-venue presentations. Course materials have advanced from simple paper handouts to printed notebooks to sophisticated, media-rich digital materials.

SIGGRAPH Courses are exciting forums for learning and exchange at the conference. Courses offer in-depth examinations of a wide variety of topics in computer graphics and interactive techniques. They are also excellent magnets for individuals with matching interests. Time spent at course breaks, receptions, and even hallway conversations can sometimes reveal powerful opportunities for collaboration among course colleagues.

Can you tell me more about the review process?
The SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Courses Committee represents only a small fraction of the dedicated volunteers who help decide the Courses program. The process employs a network of qualified volunteers to review and professionally evaluate each conference submission.

Each submission is targeted for three or more reviews to ensure a balanced evaluation perspective. Reviewer expertise is assigned for best fit, and any conflicts of interest are identified before the review process begins. Once all submissions are organized and assigned, reviewers carefully read and evaluate the clarity and quality of the submission statements against numerous review criteria. More specifically, reviewers must evaluate proposal factors such as:

  • Relevance and organization of the topics
  • Recognition of and delivery of the audience's needs
  • Experience and effectiveness (and possibly diversity) of the presenter slate
  • Attention to submission details
  • Balance of length and depth in the syllabus
  • Any course history and related improvements over previous versions
  • Quality and richness of final course materials

Review feedback is examined by the entire Courses Committee and deliberated during the final selection process. Aberrations and opinion spikes are weighed appropriately so that fair consideration occurs during selection. Consensus, rather than single opinions, decides the final selections.

After hundreds of combined volunteer hours are devoted to deciding the conference program, the selection results are scheduled to determine resource conflicts. Shortly thereafter, the jury results are communicated and review feedback is provided.

What makes a good proposal great?
Topics and proposals come in all shapes and sizes. Well-written proposals effectively communicate their ideas so that reviewers can assess the learning benefits to the course audience and community at large. Strong proposals clearly answer questions like:

  • Topic
    How relevant is this course to computer graphics and interactive techniques? Does it introduce new or emerging ideas? Does it significantly advance a previous topic? Does it support fundamental needs of the field? Is it timely?
  • Organization
    How are ideas and concepts organized? Does the syllabus lay out an effective teaching plan? Are important topics developed with adequate teaching detail and flow? What goals are fulfilled by the end of the session?
  • Speakers
    Why are the speakers qualified to present their topics? What roles do they play? How will they contribute to the presentation (speaking, course materials, etc.)? If appropriate, do they represent a diversity of backgrounds and affiliations?
  • Audience
    Do the proposers identify and understand the needs of their audience? Does the material match the appropriate learning level of the attendee? Do the marketing statements describing the course provide sufficient insight and generate excitement to help attract appropriate attendance?
  • Rationale
    Why should this course be presented at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009? If the course has been taught before, at SIGGRAPH or other conferences, how is this version different and improved from previous versions. Why should it be presented again? If this is similar to any other previous SIGGRAPH courses, explain how this course is different. Does this course expand upon them in new ways? If the course, and nothing like it, has been presented before, explain why the SIGGRAPH audience would be interested in this material. Is it new and state-of-the-art, or foundational in a way that will help students understand old ideas in new ways?
  • Course Notes and Materials
    Does the course-notes sample provide sufficient detail to evaluate quality of information, flow, visual examples, etc.? If the notes include presentation slides, were they annotated with speaker explanatory notes to support post-conference review? Do they reach beyond the syllabus in detail? What type of additional support material was outlined (reference pages, source code, datasets, demos, etc.)?
  • Length and Format
    Does the presentation justify the length of the presentation and number of presenters? What are the advantages of the format proposed for the course? Please note that shorter courses might be more likely to find a place in the limited courses schedule, but strong full-day proposals are still encouraged.
  • Flexibility
    Does the course offer flexibility to present a shorter format? If yes, does the proposal clarify the trade-offs and losses due to the reduction? If no, does it justify the importance of the original format?

Conversely, some elements that weaken a proposal are:

  • Incomplete and Missing Answers
    Was every required question answered? Were all the requisite review materials included?
  • Vague or Unclear Answers
    Did you think carefully about the specific questions, and answer them clearly and unambiguously? Did you give sufficient detail?
  • Ill-prepared Answers
    Did you give yourself enough time to adequately answer all of the questions? Did the approaching deadline make you answer without enough thought?
  • Poor Course Notes
    Preparing good course notes is the hardest part of presenting a good course at SIGGRAPH Asia 2009. Do your course notes stand up to the quality illustrated by the sample course notes?

Our proposal reviews were highly positive and outstanding, and we still didn't get accepted. Why is this?
Ideally, everyone would have a chance to present their best work at the conference. It would certainly make the selection process easier! Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The Courses Committee can't accept every good course proposal, for the simple reason that we generally lack rooms, resources and schedule time. Instead, we strive to make a balanced program in several dimensions, including mix of topics, mix of experience levels, mix of foundational courses and emerging interest courses, and we want to prioritize courses that will appeal to the largest possible audience. Many great proposals do not make the cut simply because they don't fit into the bigger picture. Besides any weakness directly identified in review feedback (weak syllabus, weak course notes proposal, weak presentation slate, etc.), there are many other possible reasons for rejection:

  • Overlapped with better proposals in a similar area.
  • Overlapped with topics with wider anticipated attendance in a similar area.
  • Didn't have enough room resources to accommodate the proposed length.
  • Topic has been seen several times in the past, and new topics are being prioritized.
  • Did not show enough improvement over previous presentations.
  • Exceeded the available presentation resources.
  • Lacked strong or timely relevance.

We encourage course proposers to consider the review feedback carefully, and if it seems very positive and you still didn't get accepted, don't give up! Perhaps your course is just the thing that SIGGRAPH Asia 2010 needs to balance their program!

Anything else about SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Courses? The SIGGRAPH Asia 2009 Courses Committee appreciates the tremendous effort that each and every volunteer contributor makes in preparing and submitting work to the conference. You make a difference in the quality and experience of the annual conference.

No matter what the outcome, we look forward to meeting and thanking you personally at the conference. Best wishes for a great course submission!