WTST 8 2009

JANUARY  30 – FEBRUARY 1, 2009

JANUARY 29, 2009

Logistics: Meeting place & time

We meet at the Courtyard Marriott in Melbourne.

We meet informally for breakfast each day, between 8 and 9 am. The meetings themselves run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 pm with about an hour for lunch. We’re getting lunch delivered each day.

There is never a fee to attend WTST. You pay for your seat through the value of your participation. However, breakfasts, lunches and meeting-room coffee cost the organizers about $125 per participant. These are our personal expenses, not charged to any grant. We would appreciate reimbursement of this amount (make checks payable to Cem Kaner) but we stress that reimbursement is voluntary. On average, about 2/3 of participants reimburse these costs.


The Workshop on Teaching Software Testing 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 activities and assignments that help students understand testing principles or develop testing skills.

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://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. Whether they are academic or commercial, face-to-face or online, courses face a tradeoff between time for additional topics and time for activities that help students develop skill and insight.

Here are *examples* of ideas that might help us learn more about test-related activities and assignments that will enhance our courses

  • Instructive examples: Do you have particularly successful activities or assignments? What are their details? What do students learn? How do you know? What problems do students have in attempting these and how do you recommend that we deal with them (if we reuse your activity)?
  • Instructive examples from other domains: Have you used particularly successful activities or assignments in other courses that you believe would help us develop strong activities for testing courses (or test-related segments of other courses)? What are the details? Why do you expect these to successfully transfer to testing?
  • Resources for test-related activities and assignments:  we have all heard of MERLOT and NSDL and several other repositories of learning objects. Have you found any good resources for software testing in any of these repositories? What have you found? How did you search? Can you give a demo, including your search strategy?Assessment: What techniques should we use to determine whether our assignments and activities are working? Have you used these assessment techniques? Can you give examples?
  • Qualitative assessment 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?
  • Differences in characteristics of learners that predict differences in effectiveness of activities or assignments?
  • Publication: Where should we publish these activities and assignments? APA has a good collection in its books on learning activities, but where is the comparable outlet for CS, Software Engineering, or IT? Is there a good place or is this something that AST Update should expand coverage to handle?


Please send a proposal BY DECEMBER 18, 2008 to Cem Kaner <[email protected]> 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 December 1. We encourage early submissions. It is unlikely but possible that we will have accepted a full set of presentation proposals by December 18.

Proposals should be between two and four pages long, in PDF format. We will post accepted proposals to http://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 15, 2009. Workshop papers may be of any length and follow any standard scholarly style. We will post these at http://wtst.org as they are received, for workshop participants to review before the workshop.


Please send a message by DECEMBER 18, 2008, to Cem Kaner <[email protected]> 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 have formed an Advisory Board to guide this adaptation and the associated research on the effectiveness of the materials in diverse contexts. We are interested in having a few new members. The Board will meet before WTST, on January 29, 2009.

  • If you are interested in joining the Board and attending the January meeting, please read this invitation and submit an application.
  • If you are already a member and are willing to come on January 29, please let us know ASAP.
  • In either case, please let us know whether you plan to stay for WTST.

We can afford to subsidize travel expenses for Board members (subsidizing airfare and hotel) who attend the meeting and WTST. We’ll discuss this in more detail in correspondence with the Advisory Board.

WTST 9 is co-hosted by Cem Kaner, Scott Barber, and Rebecca Fiedler. Paul Holland is the facilitator of WTST 9.



The overall goal of the Advisory Board meeting is to help us plan our next year of work, and help us plan your participation in that work.

Becky, Scott Barber and I will make a few presentations:

We need some ideas / help from you:

  • We have more than we can publish and we are publishing less than we should. By temperament, I do a lot of development and a lot of practitioner-oriented publishing rather than academic publishing. I need help (co-authors) turning this around. It’s common to rely on graduate students for this collaboration, but Florida Tech has fewer research-oriented grad students than before.
  • It’s time to teach BBST at another university under conditions that allow us to observe the success and challenges of the transfer. How should we do this? What data should we collect?
  • We want to diversify the presenters in the lecture series, by adding mini-presentations by other experts. We can also add new segments. How should we do this? Can you help?
  • What collaborations can we / should we create to provide funding for you to work on this (or related) projects?


  • Jose Alejandro Betancur Alvarez
  • Scott Barber
  • Pushparani  Bhallamudi
  • Peter J Clarke
  • Rebecca L. Fiedler
  • Morven Gentleman
  • Dawn Haynes
  • Doug Hoffman
  • Paul Holland
  • Allen Johnson
  • James D Kiper 
  • Dee Ann Pizzica 
  • Tariq King

People whose names are displayed in bold italic are officially members of the advisory board. The others are welcome guests.


We are expecting the following presentations:

The agenda will undoubtedly change. We’ll post papers as we receive them.



If we achieve our goal, the resulting work will be very interesting to the general testing and academic communities. Each of us will probably have our own take on what was learned. Participants (all people in the room) agree to the following:

Any of us can publish the results as we see them. None of us is the official reporter of the meeting unless we decide at the meeting that we want a reporter.

Any materials initially presented at the meeting or developed at the meeting may be posted to any of our web sites or quoted in any other of our publications, without further permission. That is, if I write a paper, you can put it on your web site. If you write a problem, I can put it on my web site. If we make flipchart notes, those can go up on the web sites too. None of us has exclusive control over this material. Restrictions of rights must be identified on the paper itself.

  • NOTE: Some papers are circulated that are already published or are headed to another publisher. If you want to limit republication of a paper or slide set, please note the rights you are reserving on your document. The shared license to republish is our default rule, which applies in the absence of an asserted restriction.

The usual rules of attribution apply. If you write a paper or develop an idea or method, anyone who quotes or summarizes you work should attribute it to you. However, many ideas will develop in discussion and will be hard (and not necessary) to attribute to one person.

Any publication of the material from this meeting lists all attendees as contributors to the ideas published as well as the hosting organization.

Articles will be circulated to WTST6 attendees before being published when possible. Circulation will be via posting to the wtst6 moodle site. At a minimum, notification of publication will be circulated.

Any attendee may request that his or her name be removed from the list of attendees identified on a specific paper.

If you have information which you consider proprietary or otherwise shouldn’t be disclosed in light of these publication rules, please do not reveal that information to the group.


Funding for WTST 1-5 came primarily from the National Science Foundation , under grant EIA-0113539 ITR/SY+PE “Improving the Education of Software Testers.” Partical funding for the Advisory Board meetings in WTST 6-8 came from the the National Science Foundation , under grant CCLI-0717613 “Adaptation & Implementation of an Activity-Based Online or Hybrid Course in Software Testing”. WTST 3-5 were hosted by Florida Institute of Technology.

Opinions expressed at WTST or published in connection with WTST do not recessarily reflect the views of NSF. WTST is often co-sponsored by the Association for Software Testing (AST) .

WTST is a peer conference in the tradition of the Los Altos Workshops of Software Testing (TM). We thank the AST for their encouragement and financial assistance in running WTST.