Designing for Diversity in End-User Development Tools:
Grants for Graduate Students and Outside Experts
Graduate Student Consortium at VL/HCC'04
Graduate students and other researchers whose work is related to the research theme below are invited to participate in a Graduate Student Consortium at the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC'04).
VL/HCC'04 has applied for travel grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to cover travel to the conference, which will be held in Rome, Italy, on September 26-29, 2004. The final decision on whether this travel funding will be granted is expected imminently. Eligibility for this funding will be limited to U.S. participants; however, similar arrangements are being explored for participants from Europe and Canada.
How can researchers and designers of end user development environments better address user diversity issues?
Programming by users who are disadvantaged by their background, education, learning style, or physical characteristics is a universal access problem in two senses: access to programming tools by these disadvantaged populations, and access to the information services that use of these tools enables.
In this event, we aim to look beyond surface-level interactions with computers to consider an area of true information power: programming. Ensuring that designers of programming languages and tools consider the needs of populations who historically have been overlooked in information technology will increase the chance that these groups are able to learn and use the more powerful tools becoming part of everyday information literacy. At the same time, such efforts may lead researchers to identify programming metaphors and techniques that increase the usability of their languages and environments more generally.
In this context, the term programming does not necessarily refer to languages designed for professional programmers, such as Java or Basic. Programming power has begun emerging in numerous forms. For example, CAD systems and spreadsheet systems are in actuality programming language environments, in which constraints and formulas are snippets of declarative programs. Other examples include voice mail programming, demonstrating macros, and multimedia/web authoring.
Sample topics for this research theme include (but are not limited to):
- Language/environment design research: programming languages or environments for diverse populations.
- Implementation research: strategies for accommodating particular language/environment characteristics needed for disadvantaged populations.
- Empirical research: empirical studies of education, gender, age, ethnic, cultural, geographic, or other relevant factors in skills and practices relevant to software development tasks.
- Sociological aspects of particular disadvantaged populations that impact their ability to succeed at software development tasks.
- Reliability: reliability mechanisms for bringing checks and balances to environments for diverse populations.
- Educational theory: educational principles that can be embedded in language/environments to help disadvantaged populations build skills that enhance their information seeking power.
Who Can Participate
There are three categories of participation:
- Graduate student researchers: Students may apply to present their work to a panel of experts and to interested conference attendees. The goal is to exchange ideas, generate new ones, and receive constructive feedback. Current Ph.D. students are preferred, but M.S. students who intend to go on to pursue a Ph.D. may also apply. For one third of the participation slots, returning student researchers will be given priority; and for the other slots, students who have not participated before will be given priority. Each student from the returning group will be linked with one or two of the new students in a mentoring arrangement.
- Outside experts: A few "outside expert" U.S. participants, who are not traditionally present at this conference, may also be eligible for travel support. They will assist the panel of experts in providing constructive feedback and insights. These participants should be specialists in areas relevant to the research question, such as specialists in education or sociological aspects of computing or ethnic studies.
- Other conference attendees: All other VL/HCC'04 conference attendees are invited to attend the event to listen to the presentations, interact with the participants, and add to the feedback available to the presenters. No additional sign-up process or registration fee is involved. The event will be one of the tracks during a portion of the main conference.
The application process for graduate students and outside experts is described below. For these participants, 2-page research abstracts will be included in the conference proceedings.
Applications from graduate students and outside experts are due May 14. Please send the following items by email:
- A statement of whether you are applying as a student participant or an outside expert.
- A statement of up to 30 words explaining how your research contributes to the research theme listed above.
- Attach a 2-page research abstract, formatted in the IEEE two-column conference format (http://www.computer.org/cspress/instruct.htm). Abstracts exceeding two pages will not be considered.
- Attach your CV.
In addition, if you are a student applicant:
- A letter of recommendation sent by your thesis advisor directly to the organizers in a separate email message.
Preferred file format for attachments is PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format). If you are unable to comply, please contact the organizers.
All submissions and other correspondence should be directed to John Pane (email@example.com).
Committee/Panel and Event Organizers
John Pane (RAND Corporation)
Margaret Burnett (Oregon State University)
Mary Beth Rosson (Pennsylvania State University)
Steve Tanimoto (University of Washington)
Dates and More Information
Deadline for applications: May 14.
Notification: June 21.
Final copies due: July 16.
Event: September 26-29, 2004.
More information: email John Pane (firstname.lastname@example.org).