Doctoral Consortium

The Twelfth International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers & Accessibility (ASSETS 2010) invites doctoral students to apply for participation in the Doctoral Consortium. This consortium provides a great opportunity to doctoral students to share and discuss their research with other students, and a panel of established researchers. Funding is provided by the National Science Foundation, award number IIS-1035382.

How the Consortium Will Work

The Consortium will be held on Sunday, October 24, 2010 in Orlando, FL, USA. During the Consortium, each student will make a formal presentation about his or her doctoral research. Feedback will be given by each member of the faculty panel, as well as by the other student participants. Discussion will be encouraged.

The feedback will be geared toward helping student participants understand and articulate how their work is positioned, relative to other research on Assistive Technologies, Universal Accessibility, and Universal Usability. Feedback will also address whether their topics are adequately focused for thesis research projects, whether their methods are correctly chosen and applied, and whether their results are being appropriately analyzed and presented.

Student participants will also present their research in the main conference during a poster session that is dedicated specifically to the work of the Doctoral Consortium participants. This will allow conference attendees to interact with, and ask questions of, the Doctoral Consortium participants, and will allow the participants the opportunity to get feedback from a larger audience.

Goals of the Consortium

The overall goals of the Consortium are to:

  • Provide a supportive setting for promising young researchers to give a short, critiqued research presentation, and then receive feedback from other student participants, and from established researchers in the field of Assistive Technologies, Universal Accessibility, and Universal Usability about their current research, as well as guidance on future research directions.
  • Provide opportunities for the student participants to make contact with experts in the field, and to receive fresh perspectives and comments on their work from researchers outside their own institution - including both faculty and students.
  • Enable the student participants to attend the ASSETS 2010 conference, to contribute to the conference goals through interaction with other researchers and conference events, to learn of potential career paths within academia and industry, and to gain access to an international network of researchers who can support their professional development.

The overall purpose of the Consortium is to encourage and prepare a group of promising young researchers dedicated to Assistive Technologies, Universal Accessibility, and Universal Usability.

Participants in the Doctoral Consortium

The ASSETS Doctoral Consortium brings together both student and faculty participants.

Faculty Chair

Photo of Matt Huenerfauth
Matt Huenerfauth
City University of New York (USA)

Distinguished Faculty Panel Members

Photo of Jinjuan Heidi Feng
Jinjuan Heidi Feng
Towson University (USA)
Email: jfeng (at)
Photo of Simon Harper
Simon Harper
University of Manchester (UK)
Email: simon.harper (at)
Photo of Sri Kurniawan
Sri Kurniawan
UC Santa Cruz (USA)
Email: skurnia (at)
Photo of Kathleen McCoy
Kathleen McCoy
University of Delaware (USA)
Email: mccoy (at)

Participating Students

Nancy Alajarmeh
New Mexico State University (USA)
Online Math manipulation accessibility for the visually impaired
Amritpal Singh Bhachu
University of Dundee (Scotland)
Inclusive Technologies for Enhancing the Accessibility of Digital Television
Fatima Boujarwah
Georgia Tech (USA)
Computer-Assisted Instruction of Social Problem Solving Skills for Adolescents with High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders
Younghyun Chung
University of Pittsburgh (USA)
Assistive Expression Technology and Measuring its Effectiveness
Susan Ferreira
Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Spain)
Designing accessible interactions of older people with Digital TV
Rachel Menzies
University of Dundee (Scotland)
Promoting sharing behaviours in children through the use of a customised novel computer system (ECHOES)
Kyle Montague
University of Dundee (Scotland)
Accessible Design through Shared User Models
Bugra Oktay
University of Nevada, Reno (USA)
Generating Efficient Feedback and Enabling Interaction in Virtual Worlds for Users with Visual Impairments
Lindsay Semler
DePaul University (USA)
The Automation of Spinal Non-manual Signals in American Sign Language
Ha Trinh
University of Dundee (Scotland)
Towards a Sound-based Communication System for Nonspeaking Individuals
Debra Yarrington
University of Delaware (USA)
Using the Web to Create Semantic Relations for a Skimming System for Non-Visual Readers
Shaojie Zhang
University of Illinois, Chicago (USA)
Immersive Virtual Exercise Environment for People with Lower Body Disabilities

Who Should Apply

The purpose of the Doctoral Consortium is to provide feedback to Doctoral candidates at an early stage of their research, in order to help guide and shape their research program. Students submitting proposals to the Doctoral Consortium may also submit a different piece of work to the Student Research Competition, but may not submit the same work to both the Doctoral Consortium and the Student Research Competition.

Note: Student work that is complete, or near to completion, should be submitted as either a technical paper or a poster. A student should not submit a paper on the same work to both the Doctoral Consortium and another venue at the ASSETS conference.

Relevant Topics

Relevant topics for the Consortium include, but are not limited to:

  • Designs for people with hearing disabilities
  • Designs for people with visual disabilities
  • Designs for people with motor disabilities
  • Designs for people with memory or cognitive disabilities
  • Designs for older adults who become disabled
  • Designing for accessibility and universal design
  • Evaluation of accessibility
  • Web accessibility
  • Alternative input systems for persons with disabilities
  • Navigational assistance
  • Mobile and personal technologies
  • Design for communication support
  • Computer systems to assist in teaching and learning for students with disabilities
  • Non-visual presentation of information
  • Studies on technology use and acceptance by persons with disabilities

How to Apply

Each Doctoral Consortium application must contain the following materials:

1. Cover Letter

The cover letter should contain the following information:

  • A statement of interest in participating in the Doctoral Consortium
  • The full name of University and Department in which the candidate is earning his/her doctorate degree
  • The name of the supervising professor
  • Full contact information, including address, telephone number, fax number, and email address
  • The title of the research, and keywords pertinent to the research
  • The URL of the candidate's web page (if any)

2. Project Summary

The Research Summary must be two pages long in the ACM conference format including: title, author information, abstract, keywords, thesis research summary, and references. This extended abstract must clearly address:

  • The problem that the proposed research is addressing
  • The motivation behind this research, including a broad comparison with the related literature
  • The proposed solution, including a brief description of the proposed methodology to the solution
  • The stage of the candidate's program of study, including the status of the research (i.e., what has been done to date, and what still needs to be done)
  • The envisioned contributions to the accessibility field
  • What the candidate hopes to gain from the Doctoral Consortium
  • Bibliographical references

3. Letter of Recommendation

A letter from the primary thesis advisor/supervisor that briefly states what the advisor/supervisor expects the student to gain from, and contribute to the consortium.

4. The Candidate's CV

The candidate is required to submit a CV (maximum of 2 pages) that relates her/his background, relevant experience, and research accomplishments.

Submission Format

The Cover Letter, the Project Summary, the Letter of recommendation, and the candidate's CV should be submitted to the ASSETS 2010 Submission site as separate PDF documents by Midnight HAST (GMT-10:00) on July 2, 2010.

Student Participant Selection Process

The Doctoral Consortium applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The originality of work
  • The importance of the work and potential impacts to the accessibility field
  • The soundness and correctness of the proposed approach to address the problem


Following the Doctoral Consortium, the participants may be invited to submit revised and updated papers for publication in a 2011 issue of the SIGACCESS Newsletter.

Sign Language Interpreting or Captioning

Upon request, American Sign Language interpreting or captioning will be provided for the Doctoral Consortium, and all other ASSETS events. Requests for an interpreter or captioner must be indicated on the conference registration form when registering for ASSETS 2010.

Important Dates

  • Proposal submissions: July 2, 2010
  • Notification of acceptance: July 26, 2010

Apply for the Doctoral Consortium

Submissions (in PDF format) should be submitted electronically via the conference web site. A complete submission contains four documents: cover letter, CV, project summary (2-page paper in ACM format), and a recommendation letter (written by advisor, uploaded to website by student). It is important to note that these are NOT double blind submissions; the authors' names should be on the paper.

Travel and Hotel Expenses

The US National Science Foundation grant has provided funding to fully cover hotel costs (shared rooms for four nights, two students per room) and (early) conference registration expenses for the Doctoral Consortium participants. Airfare expenses will also be partially covered for participants; attendees might need to cover a portion of their airfare. We anticipate that we will be able to reimburse students for up to $450 of domestic airfare and $900 for international airfare; these reimbursement amounts are approximate. All air travel must be done with airlines from the U.S., otherwise it may not be reimbursed. Additional details about travel and reimbursements will be sent to students who are accepted to the Doctoral Consortium.


Funding provided by the National Science Foundation, award number IIS-1035382.