We have several stages after submission of proposals to help make the conference the best it can be.
Until the CFP closes, you may receive feedback on your proposal to help make it the best it can be before it goes into the review stage. Sessions can be modified and resubmitted until the final submission deadline. The sooner you submit, the more time you have to receive and respond to feedback.
The review stage is between the close of the Call for Sessions and the Review Deadline.
During the review stage we are closed to new submissions and existing submissions can't be edited. This is the stage at which we decide which sessions we'd like to include in the conference. We mark submissions on four criteria:
Is this session worthwhile? For example, does it deliver tangible benefits to attendees?
Will this session work? For example, will it achieve its stated goals in the time allotted, is the process clearly defined?
Is the session exciting?
Overall, do you think we should accept this session?
There is more context to help you answer these questions in the review form.
We also make suggestions about the submissions - for example if we feel a session would be really good, but would require more shepherding.
Submitters do not get notified of the reviews, but if they have been involved in the feedback stages (and we encourage everyone to get involved) they will have access so it's still important to be constructive. And it would be bad form to down-vote a session you see as a competitor to one you have submitted!
Again, ideally we would like every session to receive at least three reviews so that we can be sure the conference will have wide appeal.
We encourage everyone to get involved in reviewing as well, even if you haven't been to SPA Conference before - the basis is whether you would like to attend the session or think it would be valuable.
The programme meeting will be held online. The exact timing will be announced closer to the time. If you would like to be involved in the programme meeting, please contact us.
At this stage, submissions are still anonymous. We look at all the sessions and their review scores, and formulate a draft programme. High scores are not the only thing we look at, as we want the programme to be as varied and balanced as possible, so we might not want four sessions on Node.js, for example. Those present are also given the opportunity to advocate for particular sessions, for example if it has received average reviews but they feel it would complement other sessions at the conference.
We then reveal names to check that no-one has too many sessions in, or several at the same time.
We will contact successful submitters after the programme meeting, before we announce the programme.
Many sessions are assigned a shepherd. A shepherd is someone who has experience presenting, maybe at SPA Conference, and ideally in a similar area to the session leaders. They offer advice and support to help people prepare their sessions, and may meet with the session leaders and perhaps help arrange dry-runs prior to the conference. (We do recommend that you have at least one dry-run of your session.)
We are always looking for people to help shepherd, so please do let us know if you'd like to get involved in this.