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Special Sessions

Special sessions offer participants opportunities to explore particular issues in greater depth in interactive settings. The special session facilitators structure the agenda and interactions. Special sessions are intended to provide presenters and participants "collaborative learning experiences at the frontiers."


  • Special sessions are scheduled as part of the technical program in parallel with traditional paper presentations.
  • Special sessions allow a variety of nontraditional formats and emphasize the involvement of all audience members in active learning.
  • Special sessions are nontraditional in the sense that they are not like preconference workshops. They give session leaders an opportunity to take risks and try something that may be unproven in content and/or format. Thus they provide experiences that are "at the frontiers."
  • Sessions are 90 minutes in length.
  • All organizers and presenters in special sessions are expected to register for and attend the conference.

FIE now attracts a broad spectrum of participants interested in diverse topics such as software engineering education, engineering in K-12, engineering in a global environment, electrical engineering education, diversity in engineering, and more. Special sessions can and should be designed to appeal to that broad audience, not limited to a small number of special topics. Special sessions demonstrate that collaborative learning experiences can be constructed for any topic that is appropriate for a FIE session, assist participants in creating similar learning experiences in other settings, and provide attendees with a broader range of conference options.

Special sessions should reflect the growing understanding that effective learning environments are created when session participants are actively constructing and sharing their learning. In an interactive session, the focus is on the learners and the learning that is occurring, instead of on a single presenter or a panel. Interactive sessions should attempt to model learner-centered learning environments, while matching or exceeding the depth and breadth of content exposition of a traditional paper session. Each of the interactive sessions will be considered for the Helen Plants Award, which is presented to the "most outstanding `nontraditional session' ... to encourage the use of nontraditional approaches to disseminate information" at FIE.

Special sessions may be designed to 90 minutes. Each interactive session organizer will be required to submit a session summary for inclusion in the conference proceedings.

Final Submissions:
Special session proposals that have been accepted to the conference should provide the following three items by April 15, 2012 on the EDAS website:

  • A revised proposal that may be up to 800 words. This version will be included in the conference program and will help promote your special session to conference attendees. The revised proposal should contain at a minimum:
    • Contact information (name, affiliation, phone, and email) for each anticipated facilitator or presenter in the special session
    • Goal(s) of the session
    • Description of topics/subjects/content of the session (approximately 200-300 words)
    • Session agenda (Please give details and approximate time allotted for each activity)
    • Description of the anticipated audience
    • Expected outcomes or future work as a result of this session (approximately 100 words)
    • Justification of why the proposed session should be considered for an special session (approximately 100 words)
  • [Optional] A final description of the special session that may be up to two pages in the IEEE format. This format is the same used for Work-in-Progress papers. Your special session final description will be included in the conference proceedings as a non peer-reviewed publication. You are not required to submit a final description.
  • A signed copy of the IEEE copyright form.

For some of the accepted proposals, the program committee reviewers have suggestions on ways to make the special session more relevant to the theme of the conference. These comments were sent via email directly to the primary proposer; you are encouraged to consider these comments in your revised submission.

Please note that all special session organizers and presenters and are expected to register for and participate in the full conference.