About the Black Box Software Testing Courses

  • These courses in software testing are available to both AST members AND non-members.
  • We will accept up to 25 students on a first-come, first-served basis for each course offering.
  • Each AST-BBST course includes video lectures, quizzes, homework of various kinds, and a final exam. All of the homework, and the exam, are peer-reviewed. Every participant in the course reviews work submitted by other participants and provides feedback and suggests grades.
  • Each course lasts 3 weeks, plus 1 additional week for the exam. You should expect to spend at least 12 – 14 hours per week on the course. If you cannot dedicate this much time, please allow someone else to take the course instead.
  • To take the course, you MUST agree to two policies:
  • The Intellectual Property policy reflects the fact that while we teach these courses, we are doing detailed research on how to improve the teaching of software testing. In joining the course, you are agreeing to participate in an experiment (the course).
  • It is essential that you review these policies before starting the course. If you do not agree to the policies, you cannot participate, because these policies govern your interaction with the other participants in the course.

The research underlying this course has been partially funded by grants from the National Science Foundation. Current NSF funding comes from NSF CCLI Award No. 0717613, “Adaptation & Implementation of an Activity-Based Online or Hybrid Course in Software Testing.” The views expressed in this course are those of the authors and instructors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

Begin your professional development with AST by enrolling in the Foundations course. This first course (a prerequisite for all other courses in the series) is a basic introduction to black box testing. It presents basic terminology and considers:

  • The mission of testing
  • The oracle problem
  • The measurement problem
  • The impossibility of complete testing

Enroll in an Upcoming Class

Bug Advocacy

Sharpen your bug reporting skills with the Bug Advocacy course. (Successful completion of the Foundations course is required). Bug reports are not just neutral technical reports. They are persuasive documents. The key goal of the bug report author is to provide high-quality, well-written information to help stakeholders make wise decisions about which bugs to fix and when. Key aspects of the content of this course include:

  • Defining key concepts (such as software error, quality, and the bug processing workflow)
  • The scope of bug reporting (what to report as bugs, and what information to include)
  • Bug reporting as persuasive writing
  • Bug investigation to discover harsher failures and simpler replication conditions
  • Excuses and reasons for not fixing bugs
  • Making bugs reproducible
  • Lessons from the psychology of decision-making: bug-handling as a multiple-decision process dominated by heuristics and biases
  • Style and structure of well-written reports

PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of Foundations.

Test Design

Our third course in the BBST® Online Education series is Test Design. Good testing requires application of many test techniques. Each technique is better at exposing some types of problems and weaker for others. Participants will look at a few techniques more closely than the rest but do not become skilled practitioners of any single technique.

Course Objectives

  • Gain familiarity with a variety of test techniques.
  • Learn structures for comparing objectives and strengths of different test techniques.
  • Use the Heuristic Test Strategy Model for test planning and design.
  • Use concept mapping tools for test planning.

The course uses cases and scenarios distinguishing between early testing and later, more knowledgeable testing. Techniques emphasized include function testing, risk-based testing, specification-based testing, and domain testing.

PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of the Foundations course is required.

Students should expect to spend 12 – 14 hours per week working on the course.

Instructor Course Online

The Association for Software Testing is always looking for good instructors! This online workshop will use presentations and hands-on exercises to address the challenges of teaching online with particular focus on the methodology used in the BBST®. We accept up to 25 students on a first-come, first-served basis and provide login information for the course about 4 days prior to its start date.

BBST® Instructors Course Online: You’ve taken AST’s software testing courses. Now find out how you can get involved in teaching these for AST, for your company, or independently. You’ll learn how the AST BBST® course developers merged instructional theory and assessment theory to develop the AST BBST® online instructional model. This workshop satisfies the Instructors’ Orientation Course requirement for prospective AST-certified instructors.

PREREQUISITE: Successful completion of Foundations.

Key aspects of this course include:

  • Course structure and flow of a BBST® class
  • Course components
  • Overview of instructor’s tasks
  • Effective communication and feedback strategies
  • Assessments and grading strategies