The BBST Foundations course: Week 2

Experience Reports, Software Testing

A blast, a long sizzle

This week started with two days of never-ending stream of comments. I did a quick arbitrary count and think the whole class generated close to 200 messages during that time.
That’s a lot of input you can work through. ‘Can’, because you have a choice. I’ve skipped more than half of the messages and read only a few in depth.

That’s because most of the messages are the same, yet framed in a different way. They are all answers from the students to two or three exercises and can be expected to be very similar content-wise.
The exercises are challenging, interesting and make you see things somewhat different. Excellent for new testers, or testers who have been doing their job the same way for a very long time and are looking to shake things up a bit.
Yet again, the online format gives a lot of input, but brings very little extra.

The people who read last week’s blog post will have noticed that I was struggling to adjust to the format of the course. I decided to mailed two different instructors to explain my situation, what I’m thinking and how I perceive things.
When I didn’t get any reply from them (I can imagine they get a lot of these inquiries), I contacted Ru directly on the tester’s slack. (check it out if you haven’t yet!)
She gave me much needed feedback for which I’m grateful.

After the big bang of messages, everything turned suddenly very quiet for 4 days. One or two messages a day, nothing more. I’ve been solving the exercises and storing them locally, deliberately not putting them on the forum yet. Trying to not seem the try-hard I am.

Where I’m at in the course

This week I worked about 25 hours on the course, the week before will be close to 30.

Week 3 begins tomorrow and I’ve worked through the course almost completely, listened multiple times to the lectures, completed all the quizzes, created a glossary and completed all but one assignment.

What I still want to do, is make a summary of all the lessons, listing the lesson objectives it touches upon and do some sense-making of what’s behind the course. I’m pretty sure that will prove valuable.
Apart from that, I’ll focus on the 20 exam questions and figure out what the instructors want (and don’t want) to hear.

I’m trying to find just the right amount of questions to ask and assumptions to make because I’m getting quite a few mixed signals. For example:

If you were to frame the context this way, then what you’ve included in your answer would be the absolute best way to address this context.
But I also feel you would get more learning value out of the course if you would try to work with the information that is provided rather than fight it at every turn.

(These are snippets from feedback I have gotten, not the whole thing. I include this here as an example, but it’s take out of a much larger body of feedback and so, is out of context.)

I don’t know what to do with this.
It’s a context driven course. I put myself in that context and try to make that context clear(er) to me. The instructor tells me that I did good in my answer, but at the same time tells me to stick with the information provided.

In any case, even with all the ups-and-downs, I’m having a blast. Today, Cem Kaner gave feedback on some of my exam questions and I have to do my absolute best to counter-argue. That’s learning.

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