7th Workshop on Teaching Software Testing, January 18-20, 2008

This year’s Workshop on Teaching Software Testing (WTST) will be January 18-20 in Melbourne, Florida.

WTST is concerned with the practical aspects of teaching university-caliber software testing courses to academic or commercial students.

This year, we are particularly interested in teaching testing online. How can we help students develop testing skills and foster higher-order thinking in online courses?

We invite participation by:

  • academics who have experience teaching testing courses
  • practitioners who teach professional seminars on software testing
  • academic or practitioner instructors with significant online teaching experience and wisdom
  • one or two graduate students
  • a few seasoned teachers or testers who are beginning to build their strengths in teaching software testing.

There is no fee to attend this meeting. You pay for your seat through the value of your participation. Participation in the workshop is by invitation based on a proposal. We expect to accept 15 participants with an absolute upper bound of 25.

WTST is a workshop, not a typical conference. Our presentations serve to drive discussion. The target readers of workshop papers are the other participants, not archival readers. We are glad to start from already-published papers, if they are presented by the author and they would serve as a strong focus for valuable discussion.

In a typical presentation, the presenter speaks 10 to 90 minutes, followed by discussion. There is no fixed time for discussion. Past sessions’ discussions have run from 1 minute to 3 hours. During the discussion, a participant might ask the presenter simple or detailed questions, describe consistent or contrary experiences or data, present a different approach to the same problem, or (respectfully and collegially) argue with the presenter. In 20 hours of formal sessions, we expect to cover six to eight presentations.

We also have lightning presentations, time-limited to 5 minutes (plus discussion). These are fun and they often stimulate extended discussions over lunch and at night.

Presenters must provide materials that they share with the workshop under a Creative Commons license, allowing reuse by other teachers. Such materials will be posted at http://www.wtst.org.


There are few courses in software testing, but a large percentage of software engineering practitioners do test-related work as their main focus. Many of the available courses, academic and commercial, attempt to cover so much material that they are superficial and therefore ineffective for improving students skills or ability to analyze and address problems of real-life complexity. Online courses might, potentially, be a vehicle for providing excellent educational opportunities to a diverse pool of students.

Here are examples of ideas that might help us learn more about providing testing education online in ways that realize this potential:

  • Instructive examples: Have you tried teaching testing online? Can you show us some of what you did? What worked? What didn’t? Why? What can we learn from your experience?
  • Instructive examples from other domains: Have you tried teaching something else online and learned lessons that would be applicable to teaching testing? Can you build a bridge from your experience to testing?
  • Instructional techniques, for online instruction, that help students develop skill, insight, appreciation of models and modeling, or other higher-level knowledge of the field. Can you help us see how these apply to testing-related instruction?
  • Test-related topics that seem particularly well-suited to online instruction: Do you have a reasoned, detailed conjecture about how to bring a topic online effectively? Would a workshop discussion help you develop your ideas further? Would it help the other participants understand what can work online and how to make it happen?
  • Lessons learned teaching software testing: Do you have experiences from traditional teaching that seem general enough to apply well to the online environment?
  • Moving from Face-to-Face to Online Instruction – How does one turn a face-to-face class into an effective online class? What works? What needs to change?
  • Digital Backpack – Students and instructors bring a variety of tools and technologies to today’s fully online or web-enhanced classroom. Which tools do today’s teachers need? How can those tools be used? What about students?
  • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning – How does one research one’s own teaching? What methods capture improved teaching and learning or reveal areas needing improvement? How is this work publishable to meet promotion and tenure requirements?
  • Qualitative Methods – From sloppy anecdotal reports to rigorous qualitative design. How can we use qualitative methods to conduct research on the teaching of computing, including software testing?


Please send a proposal BY DECEMBER 1, 2007 to Cem Kaner that identifies who you are, what your background is, what you would like to present, how long the presentation will take, any special equipment needs, and what written materials you will provide. Along with traditional presentations, we will gladly consider proposed activities and interactive demonstrations.

We will begin reviewing proposals on November 1. We encourage early submissions. It is unlikely but possible that we will have accepted a full set of presentation proposals by December 1.

Proposals should be between two and four pages long, in PDF format. We will post accepted proposals to http://www.wtst.org.

We review proposals in terms of their contribution to knowledge of HOW TO TEACH software testing. Proposals that present a purely theoretical advance in software testing, with weak ties to teaching and application, will not be accepted. Presentations that reiterate materials you have presented elsewhere might be welcome, but it is imperative that you identify the publication history of such work.

By submitting your proposal, you agree that, if we accept your proposal, you will submit a scholarly paper for discussion at the workshop by January 7, 2007. Workshop papers may be of any length and follow any standard scholarly style. We will post these at http://www.wtst.org as they are received, for workshop participants to review before the workshop.


Please send a message by BY DECEMBER 1, 2007, to Cem Kaner that describes your background and interest in teaching software testing. What skills or knowledge do you bring to the meeting that would be of interest to the other participants?


Florida Tech’s Center for Software Testing Education & Research has been developing a collection of hybrid and online course materials for teaching black box software testing. We now have NSF funding to adapt these materials for implementation by a broader audience. We are forming an Advisory Board to guide this adaptation and the associated research on the effectiveness of the materials in diverse contexts. The Board will meet before WTST, on January 17, 2008. If you are interested in joining the Board and attending the January meeting, please read this invitation and submit an application.


Support for this meeting comes from the Association for Software Testing and Florida Institute of Technology.

The hosts of the meeting are:

One Response to “7th Workshop on Teaching Software Testing, January 18-20, 2008”

  1. Pure testing says:

    Hi Cem, quick question.Are these workshops conducted in the same location annually? Also, if my organisation is interested in joining your endeavour to teach software testing online, how do we take this forward?

    WTST will be in Melbourne again in January  or early February 2009. We might shift location in 2010.

     As to joining the effort, send me your thoughts directly, at kaner@kaner.com

    – cem