BBST® Foundations

Black Box Software Testing Course | Developed by Cem Kaner and Rebecca Fiedler

Black Boxt Software Testing Course Foundations online

A practical training in software testing

Learn the essential concepts in black box testing and solve common challenges faced by beginners and by experienced testers. You will familiarize yourself with in-depth concepts in software testing and learn to apply multiple oracle heuristics to your own work in order to explain what you are doing and why.

Next classes in 2019

Feb 24 –Mar 23
May 5 – Jun 1
Sep 8 – Oct 5
Oct 27 – Noi 23

3 weeks of study + 1 week of exam

You will:

Watch videos, take quizzes and solve assignments on our online platform.

Receive a copy of the workbook, Foundations of Software Testing.

Get individual feedback from instructors on assignments and the exam.

Discuss and work on assignments together with your student peers. Class size is limited to 20 students.

Get a solid start in context-driven black box testing and become eligible for the Bug Advocacy BBST course.

We’ve had alumni from:

Summit Media
Northern Test Consulting

This is a course that takes a lot of dedicated time and effort. Most articles and papers included for the students can be used to make good arguments when discussing testing in your every day life. It is a good start for testers who want to be professional testers.

– Martin Jansson, Qualityminds

Thinking about problems on completely different level than any other certification I passed. Interesting topics presented in interesting way, led by testing professionals. I highly recommend this course not only to junior testers – anybody concerned with quality will benefit from this course.
– Tomas Straka, Senior Test Analyst, Summit Media

Read more about Tomas’ experience with BBST:

8 Reasons Why BBST is Not Another Certification Course

If I had the mandate, this course would be mandatory for all testers.

– Soile Sainio, Agile Coach, Nordea

Cem Kaner

BBST instructor and content owner
Cem Kaner, J.D., Ph.D., is a Professor of Software Engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. He teaches and does research in software engineering, primarily software testing, software metrics, and computer law & ethics.
He has been developing the BBST course since 1993 and transformed it into an online MOOC course with the help of Dr. Rebecca Fiedler.
Dr. Kaner is the lead author of several books about software testing: Lessons Learned in Software Testing, The Domain Testing Workbook, Testing Computer Software and more.

Course Instructors

Alexandra Casapu

Alexandra Casapu specializes in exploratory testing using heuristics and testing techniques adapted to context. She enjoys coaching and mentoring other testers, shaping teams, and company-wide testing approaches, as well as doing hands-on testing.

Currently, she is testing music production software at Native Instruments, while contributing to the Quality community of practice within the company.
In her free time, she enjoys learning about security analysis, improving her programming and hacking skills, and cultivating critical thinking around.

Ru Cindrea


Ru Cindrea is a senior test consultant and managing partner at Altom Consulting, focusing on test management and mobile software testing.

With over 10 years of experience, she believes all testing is exploratory and she is currently working with the Finnish testing community on building a strong group of testing professionals.

Oana Casapu

Oana Casapu


Oana Casapu has been working as a tester, test manager and project manager on a variety of projects for over 10 years.

Her focus lately has been on contributing to the testing community. Together with her fellow testers, she organizes the monthly meetups in Cluj-Napoca and facilitates the events for the Tabara de Testare community.

Description of the course

The course includes video lectures, quizzes, homework of various kinds, and a final exam. All of the homework, and the exam, are reviewed by instructors, and individual or class-wide feedback is provided.

This is an intensive course, with a workload of 15+ hours per week. We have strict deadlines in the course to keep you on track and synchronized with your classmates so feedback from peers is available for everyone. Each week has two deadlines: Wednesday night at midnight and Saturday at midnight. Not in our time zone? That’s no problem at all. Your Canvas classroom calendar will convert the time zones for you.

Don’t let the name “Foundations” fool you. The course is not designed exclusively for the beginning tester. It provides deep insight into core concepts and common challenges in testing. Even if you are an experienced tester, you will discover there are valuable things to take away from this course. The course is called “Foundations” because it is a prerequisite for all later Black Box Software Testing courses. After you successfully complete this course, you are eligible to take other courses in the BBST series: Bug Advocacy and Test Design.

Course outline

The BBST Foundations course is comprised of 6 lessons, 2 per week. Every lesson is followed by a quiz and an assignment.

Week 1:

Lesson 1: Overview & Basic Definitions

Lesson 2: Strategy

Week 2:

Lesson 3: Oracles

Lesson 4: Programming Fundamentals & Coverage

Week 3:

Lesson 5: The Impossibility of Complete Testing

Lesson 6: Introduction to Measurement

Week 4:

Work on the exam questions

Take the exam

Learning objectives

This is your first course in the BBST® series, and perhaps your first online course. This leads us to mixed objectives. In essence, our goal is to prepare you for the later courses in the series. That includes both foundational content and skills for succeeding in courses of this type.

After this course, you should:

Be familiar with basic terminology and how it will be used in the BBST® courses (Understand)

Be aware of honest and rational controversy over definitions of common concepts and terms in the field (Understand)

Understand there are legitimately different missions for a testing effort. Understand the argument that selection of mission depends on contextual factors. Able to evaluate relatively simple situations that exhibit strongly different contexts in terms of their implication for testing strategies (Understand, Simple evaluation)

Understand the concept of oracles well enough to apply multiple oracle heuristics to your own work and explain what you are doing and why (Understand and apply)

Understand that complete testing is impossible. Improve ability to estimate and explain the size of a testing problem (Understand, Rudimentary application)

Familiarize yourself with the concept of measurement dysfunction (Understand)

Improve your ability to adjust your focus from narrow technical problems (such as analysis of a single function or parameter) through broader, context-rich problems (Analyze)

Improve online study skills, such as learning more from video lectures and associated readings (Apply)

Improve online course participation skills, including online discussion and working together online in groups (Apply)

Increase your comfort with formative assessment (assessment done to help students take their own inventory, think and learn rather than to pass or fail the students) (Apply)

Recommended background

There is no typical background that you need in order to benefit from the course. We have had both university students who were relatively unfamiliar with testing, and working professionals with several years of experience in testing.

Also, this course is not strictly targeted at testers. Managers and programmers who are interested in testing will find the course helpful by getting new insights into the testing process and skills that support it.

For a great learning experience, we encourage you to bring along your curiosity, be open to learning, and generous with sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Interactive grading

As Cem Kaner defines it, interactive grading is “a technique that requires the student to participate in the grading of their work”. This provides an opportunity for the students to better demonstrate what they understood from the course material, and to get helpful feedback directly from the instructor on what to improve and how.

We think that interactive grading encapsulates the essence of formative assessment, by focusing on the learning experience of the student, not on the grade. For more info on interactive grading, please read Cem Kaner’s post here.

The first 10 students that register for the course will get the unique opportunity of an online Interactive Grading session with Cem Kaner at the end of the course. If you are one of the first 10 students to register for the course, we will send you a link where you will be able to choose the time of the session from a list of available time slots.

Learning material

For this course, you will use multiple resources to study:

the video lectures and slides.

the workbook: Foundations of Software Testing by Cem Kaner and Rebecca L. Fiedler, in electronic format.

the required and recommended readings.

The assignments are based on all these resources. This means that you will need to use them all in your learning in order to successfully accomplish the tasks for the course.


Have a look at the BBST Foundations syllabus for details about the lessons plan and the assignments.

If you have a question, use the live chat or email us at