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An Insider's Guide To SIGGRAPH 2005 Courses


Courses have been an integral part of SIGGRAPH conferences since their beginning in 1977. These programs have educated thousands, inspired new ideas and publications, and fueled active exchange between research and practice. The best course experiences are circular. They feed knowledge, grow experience, and ultimately inspire teaching with seeds from the original course. Your best strategy is to identify what you need and want from them.


Prepare in advance
Do some prep work before you arrive. Check the conference web pages for any additional reading material, if the organizers have provided this. Reviewing the course notes online is also recommended. They are helpful to understand the agenda and prepare questions. Course notes may be reviewed in the merchandise area before purchase.

Choose a seat
Depending upon the room, the session will seat between 200 and 2,000 people. Since the screens are set up for the maximum possible attendance, a seat near the front is not always optimal. Sitting about 1/4 to 1/3 back from the front is usually good. Also consider sitting midway in a row to avoid aisle traffic (unless you know you have to get up and leave a lot).

Take notes
The printed handouts are handy to have before the course. Study them to determine when you will need to take notes and what questions you will ask. Rooms are dark, they don't have tables, and presentations will be full of more detail than you can absorb in a day. So you will want to take notes.

Know the agenda
Full-day courses are typically designed so that afternoon topics build on morning presentations. Determine if you should remain in a course all day or if you can move to other course sessions of interest. In general, you should plan to stay for the entire presentation of full-day offerings. Check the conference web site for agenda insights.

Ask questions
Prepare to ask questions before, during, and after the presentation. Course organizers and speakers present these courses because they want to further people's understanding. Interact with them. This is much better than a silent crowd. If you have questions about content or if you are the target audience, inquire with the course organizer via email. Microphones will be setup for use during the session. If something is unclear or you missed something, ask. Don't hesitate to ask after the course, either. It may take you a while to formulate the right question. When you do, you'll probably find the speaker to be very helpful.

Dress comfortably
Some of the larger session rooms are very well air-conditioned. Be prepared to pull something on if you get chilled easily.

Tracking down presenters
At the conference, you have at least two options: during the intermission (for a very limited time) or at the reception (although the crowd will be very large). You can also find presenters via email if you capture that befor eyou leave.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to pre-register for seating?
Conference attendees with Full Conference registration are allowed to attend any and all courses in a week. This allows you to visit more than one course at a time. Thus, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis without reservation.

Where can I get more information?
Course organizers often post additional information for review before the conference. Check the conference web site for information about a given course. Contact the organizer or speaker if you have questions. The Course Notes CD-ROM is also a resource and is available during and after the conference.


Small pad of paper and pen or pencil.
Sweatshirt (if you get cold easily).
Printed course notes (if desired)


This information was brought to you by SIGGRAPH 2005 Pathfinders, a volunteer group dedicated to mentoring first-time conference visitors. Please take a moment to help us help you. Let us know how this information improved (or could have improved) your conference experience. You can find us at SIGGRAPH 2005 at the Pathfinder booth in the main lobby or via email: pathfinders (at) Thank you.