An ACL 2002 Workshop

July 7, 2002 (the day before the main conference)

Philadelphia, PA, USA





Natural Language Processing (and Computational Linguistics) courses have been enjoying a large interest in the last few years. More and more universities are offering both introductory and advanced classes. Over the years, faculty from different departments have been developing their classes by introducing and refining new lectures, software, and projects. Some of the main challenges in teaching NLP are:

  1. Teaching to a diverse audience, consisting of a mix of students in Linguistics, Computer Science, Information Science, and Bioinformatics; both undergraduate and graduate; and with a wide range of proficiency in linguistics, computer theory, or programming.
  2. Selecting an appropriate focus for a course, e.g., theory vs. applications, symbolic vs. empirical, text-only vs. text+speech, etc.
  3. Finding an appropriate place of an NLP/CL course within a larger curriculum, e.g., in Artificial Intelligence, Computational Linguistics, Cognitive Science, or Language Engineering.
  4. Finding the right links to related areas, such as Theoretical Linguistics, Information Retrieval, Speech Science, Cognitive Science, Artificial Intelligence, or Genetic/Molecular Biology.
  5. Choosing appropriate assignments to provide the right mix of theoretical, programming and data analysis exercises.
  6. Designing software for educational purposes and developing tutorials on existing software.

This ACL workshop on Effective Tools and Methodologies for Teaching NLP/CL will address these challenges. The workshop will bring together college faculty with experience in teaching such courses as well as future teachers (e.g., current graduate students).


We will be soliciting short papers (4-6 pages) on the following topics:

  1. Effective course lectures
  2. Innovative assignments and projects
  3. Educational software
  4. Web resources
  5. Curriculum issues (e.g., developing an effective multi-course CL program)
  6. Teaching NLP in different departments: Computer Science, Linguistics, Information Science, etc.
  7. Connecting teaching and research
  8. Seminar-style courses
  9. Choice of programming languages (and programming requirements in general)
  10. Teaching NLP in languages other than English
  11. Evaluation issues (outcomes assessment, educational measurement, etc.)

In addition to these papers, the organizers will be collecting pointers to educational resources on the Web, including course notes, assignments, tutorials, software, and demos.

The workshop will feature a panel discussing longer-term activities such as a mailing list for instructors, an archive of educational materials, etc.

Submissions should be formatted according to the ACL style guide (http://www.cs.ualberta.ca/~lindek/acl02/style) and must be in either PS, PDF, or DOC format. There is no need to obtain paper numbers. Submissions don't need to be anonymized. They should be sent electronically to radev@umich.edu by the deadline shown below. Hard copies will be accepted only if the authors explicitly make such arrangements the co-chairs at least one week prior to the official submission date. In that case, the hard copies will still have to arrive by the submission date.

We will assemble printed proceedings, however the ultimate goal of this workshop would be laying the groundwork for further professional collaboration in teaching NLP/CL, creating an ACL SIG, and building a clearinghouse for educational materials.


Papers due:                             March 29, 2002
Acceptance or rejection notification:   April 22, 2002
Camera-ready versions due:              May   17, 2002
Workshop:                               July  07, 2002


Registration fees are $50 for regular participants and $0 (free) for up to 10 lower income participants (e.g., graduate students and/or participants from Eastern Europe, Africa, and other disadvantaged areas of the world).

Candidates for registration fee waivers should indicate their interest to the program co-chairs by April 22. Authors of accepted papers will have priority, then authors of rejected papers, then all others.