This year's CHI is going to be a fully online virtual conference. After the tough decision, Student Research Competition (SRC) chairs, with help from Technical Program chairs, have discussed how to drive this year's competition while keeping its core values.
The most important thing to know before the approaching deadline (January 11th, 2021 at 12pm (noon) PT – Pacific Time) is that the submission format does NOT change. Students need to submit the paper, poster, and proof of student status. For more details, refer to the CFP page. In this blog post, we cover our plan for the selection process. We also briefly mention how and why we modified the process from prior years. In the following document, please note the exact date might be slightly different depending on your location.
[0th Round] Reviews by juries
Juries (experts in the field) review a submission. This step is identical to the prior years as it has always happened fully online. Notification will be sent on February 18th.
[1st Round] Online poster presentation
The author(s) of an accepted submission will be requested to submit an additional 1-minute video explaining the research. While there is no requirement for the video format other than the duration, a typical video would be a recorded slideshow with narration, optionally overlayed with the author(s) image from a webcam. The deadline is May 8th.
The chairs will create an online material per accepted submission, consisting of a poster image (linked to the PDF), a link to the 1-minute video, and a link to another document used for Q&A comments.
1-1. Asynchronous poster review: Unlike the prior years where the students stood in front of their posters and gave a 1-minute talk, the first round this year will be fully online and asynchronous.
The juries will have a day (May 10th) to review the materials, leave comments to the students, and fill out the evaluation form. Based on the accumulated evaluations, the first-round winners are selected and can proceed to the second round.
1-2. Synchronous live streaming review (tentative plan): Some juries will live stream online reviewing of the materials on May 10th so that CHI attendees see the materials together. They will spend one minute per submission.
The author(s) can opt-in to connect to the juries to interact with them. If the author(s) are offline, the juries simply play the 1-minute video. If the authors are online, the juries listen to their 1-minute presentation. This is entirely optional for the students but is useful for advertising their work in their own words.
[2nd Round] Online oral presentation
The first-round winners are requested to give an online talk on their work, followed by the Q&A from the juries on May 12th. This round is almost identical to the prior years, except that the session will be online, and the authors and juries will come from different time zones.
We do not want any of them to wake up at an extraordinary time, so we plan to ask every author and jury to pick two time zones out of three, equally distributed in 24 hours (8 hours apart). The author needs to repeat the talk twice a day, and the jury needs to join two sessions a day. Everyone can enjoy every talk, and there is no significant downside other than possible repetition.
After collecting evaluation forms from the juries, the chairs and juries will select the second-round winners, who will be announced at the closing plenary on May 13th.
Motivation behind the changes
We wanted to make each round very different and valuable to the students. The initial submission is evaluated based on paper writing (and poster design). The first round is a poster accompanied by a recorded short talk. The second round is a live session consisting of a talk and Q&A.
As we state in the CFP document, Student Research Competition has several goals. We rephrase them into five goals as follows:
- Give students intense feedback about their research
- Give students interactive/live feedback about their research
- Give students opportunities to get in touch with experts in the field
- Give students' research enough visibility in the conference
- Give students opportunities to practice their skills (poster, talk, etc.)
While we made several changes to the selection process, we kept these in mind. Each round will serve the purpose. The initial submission is reviewed by the experts to achieve goal 1. The first round poster session is intended for goals 1, 3, and 5, while its optional live streaming contributes to goals 2 and 4. The second round is for goals 2, 3, 4, and 5. The announcement at the closing plenary is, of course, for goal 4.
We believe that this competition is an excellent opportunity for students to kick-start their research careers, and we strive to make it so. We look forward to strong submissions from students all over the world -- you still have about a week to go!
Your SRC co-chairs for 2021,
Jun Kato and Nolwenn Maudet