Blocks and Beyond 2019: Beyond Blocks
A VL/HCC 2019 workshop in Memphis, TN, USA, Oct. 18, 2019
Important Dates
Fri 12 Jul 2019: Paper submissions Abstracts due (by end of day, anytime on Earth). The paper submission deadline (for position statements, short, and long papers) has been extended by one week until 19 Jul. But an abstract for all submissions must still be submitted by 12 Jul so that papers can be assigned to reviewers.
Fri 19 Jul 2019 Paper submissions
(due by end of day, anytime on Earth)
Fri 09 Aug 2019 Author notification
Fri 16 Aug -- Fri 20 Mon 23 Sep, 2019 Rolling demo/poster abstract submission (notification will come a few days after submission)
Fri 16 Aug -- Fri 25 Oct, 2019 Rolling demo/poster summary document submissions (feedback will typically come within a week, and definitely by Mon 28 Oct)
Mon 09 Sep 2019 Camera-ready paper submissions and IEEE copyright forms (see final paper submission instructions)
Fri 13 Sep 2019 Early registration for VL/HCC and B&B ends (see the VL/HCC registration page).
Fri 18 Oct 2019 Workshop in Memphis
Fri 01 Wed 06 Nov 2019 Camera-ready demo/poster summary documents and IEEE copyright forms (see final demo/poster summary submission instructions)
Paper Submissions

We invite three kinds of paper submissions to spark discussion at the workshop:

To maximize discussion time at the workshop, paper presentation times will be short: 7 minutes for position statements, 10 minutes for short papers, 12 minutes for long papers.

For all three kinds of submissions, an abstract must be submitted to the Easy Chair Blocks and Beyond workshop submission site by the end of 12 Jul 2019.

Completed papers must be submitted as PDF files to the Easy Chair Blocks and Beyond 2019 workshop submission site by the end of 19 Jul 2019. We do not use a double blind review process, so submissions should include author information. Use an IEEE Conference template to format your submission.

Submitted paper abstracts and PDFs can be updated at any time through the end of day on 19 Jul 2019 (anywhere on Earth). Authors are encouraged to submit drafts that can be updated until the 19 Jul deadline. Drafts should be indicated by putting Draft: at the beginning of the title in the paper.

As with the two previous Blocks & Beyond workshops, we will publish accepted papers as an IEEE workshop proceedings. Publication will require submitting an IEEE copyright form.

Demos and Posters

All workshop participants (whether or not they have an accepted paper) are encouraged to present a demo and/or poster of their work during the workshop. Indicate your desire to present by submitting a 1 to 2 paragraph abstract to the DemosPosters track of the Easy Chair Blocks and Beyond 2019 workshop submission site. These will be accepted on a rolling basis between Fri 16 Aug 2019 and Fri 20 Mon 23 Sep 2019 . Abstracts will be quickly reviewed by the organizing committee. Accepted abstracts will appear on the workshop website but not in the IEEE proceedings.

There is an option to submit a longer demo/poster summary document that will appear in the proceedings. A summary document should be at least one full page and at most two full pages (in double-column IEEE conference style). It should include a short abstract in addition to the main body text, and should also include appropriate citations and references. Summary documents will be accepted on a rolling basis between Fri 16 Aug 2019 and Fri 25 Oct 2019 (a week after the workshop). Feedback will typically come within a week, and definitely by Mon 28 Oct. Fri 01 Nov.

Summary documents will be reviewed by the workshop organizers, who determined acceptance and may require modifications before publication. Accepted summary documents will appear in the proceedings only if the demo/poster is presented at the workshop. Publication will require submitting an IEEE copyright form. Camera-ready copies and copyright forms are due by Wed 06 Nov. Here are instructions for the final submission of demo/poster summaries for the published proceedings.

Call for Participation

Scope and Goals

Blocks programming has become popular in programming environments targeted at beginner programmers, end users, and casual programmers. Tens of millions of people have used blocks programming environments like Scratch, App Inventor, Blockly, Snap!, StarLogo Nova, Pencil Code, Alice/Looking Glass, AgentSheets/AgentCubes, and's curricula.

Blocks environments improve learnability and usability by supporting recognition over recall, reducing cognitive load by capturing structural patterns as blocks, and using block shapes to prevent errors in syntax and in static semantics (e.g., out-of-scope variable names and type errors). Other features typically include browser-based environments, high-level abstractions, visible state, and easy-to-find examples.

Since blocks are only a small step towards leveraging visual languages and notations for specifying and understanding computation, the emphasis of this workshop is on the Beyond aspect of Blocks & Beyond: what kinds of visual notations and programming environment scaffolding facilitate: Understanding program semantics? Learning computational concepts? Developing computational identity and fostering computational participation and computational action?

The goal of this workshop is to bring together language designers, educators, researchers, and members of the broader VL/HCC community to answer these questions. We seek participants with diverse expertise, including, but not limited to: design of programming environments, instruction with these environments, human factors, the learning sciences, and learning analytics.

This workshop will engage participants to (1) discuss the state of the art of visual languages targeted at beginners, end users, and casual programmers; (2) assess the usability and effectiveness of these languages and their associated pedagogies; and (3) brainstorm about future directions for these languages.

Suggested Topics for Discussion