Be an Author
The CCSC:MW Conference is a success only when dedicated professionals are willing to share their work. Here is some advice that has been passed down through the years.
1. Ideas. Many different ideas can be great papers or other presentation at CCSC:MW. If it is something that you find helpful, it has potential. If it is something that has helped your students, it has potential. If it is something that is interesting to you or your students, it has potential. If it is something that has not worked for you and you understand why, it has potential. The basic idea is that if you like the idea, it has potential. If you are doing something that you are proud of, it has great potential.
a. Types. A number of different types of papers are great for CCSC:MW.
- The most formal would be a research paper. In this paper you have a thesis that you want to prove or disprove. For this type of paper, anecdotal evidence is usually not sufficient. Statistical data does a good job supporting your claim.
- The most common is more of a proposal paper. In this paper, you have a good idea and have some evidence (usually a bit informal) supporting the idea that your idea has potential. This is probably the most common because it does not need a large testing pool of students to support your conclusion.
- Non education papers. With these papers you are talking not about teaching a topic in computer science but about a specific topic itself. You may have developed a new algorithm for a problem. You may be discussing careers, etc. These papers are usually not directed to how one teaches students but other areas.
b. Topics. There are many great topic areas of CCSC:MW: things that have helped in first year courses; things to help teach advanced courses; classroom management issues; lab issues; computing and the rest of your campus; the future of computing; research; recruitment; techniques that you use to help do a great job; assessment and accreditation.
2. Content. A good paper for CCSC:MW keeps in mind the audience. Most audience members (or readers) are trying to think about how to take your ideas and use them at the home institution. Write with this objective in mind.
Outline first. A very good paper outline includes:
- Need. You need to explain to your audience why this is an important idea for them. This would typically include what is new about it. If everyone is already doing it, they are probably not very interested unless you are talking about a new aspect. So take some time to tell why it is new and/or innovative. Don’t assume it.
- Details: Include enough details about your idea so that your audience can follow everything and could take it to their own institutions.
- Results: Given what you did, what happened? An idea is just that until it is tried. Explain the results. Your opinions are usually not sufficient. Give objective results.
- Conclusion: Given the results, explain your conclusions. Why did your idea work or not work. What proof do you have?
- Future work. Consider a section and what comes next.
- Bibliography. A bibliography is always a good thing. It is not required but can help show that you know what you are talking about and you have studied what others have to say.
3. Style. Style can be very individualistic, however there are some guidelines to keep in mind. Many of these you probably try to get your students to follow.
- Check your spelling and grammar — obvious mistakes makes it seem like it is not very important to you.
- Clarity. Make sure your writing style makes things as clear as possible.
- Format: Use headers, etc. to help the reader find what he/she is looking for
- Examples are helpful. Same with diagrams, but make sure they are easy to read. The font used when printing can be very small so make sure there aren’t too many details in your diagrams.
- When including URL’s, make sure that they work and will be around for a while.
Final Submission Guidelines
Please review the guidelines provided by the CCSC National Editor who produces the Journal in which your paper will appear. These guidelines are available at http://www.ccsc.org/publications/submission-guidelines/.
In particular, please take note that most of the “automatic” formatting features for your word processor should be disabled in preparing the smooth copy document for uploading.