Black Box Software Testing Foundations Course

Learn the fundamentals of software testing in a practical, 1-on-1 interactive, online course.

Start your career as a software tester with a healthy mindset that will help you face the challenges of today’s software industry. Simply put, when you truly understand testing, you are able to adapt and deliver in this fast-paced environment.

2019 BBST Foundations Classes

We will be organizing 4 BBST Foundations classes this year. Seats are limited, so hurry up and save one!

Get ready for the challenges of software testing

Finishing the BBST Foundations course is challenging but it will help you:

  • understand the fundamental concepts of software testing
  • face the fundamental challenges of software testing and know how to cope with them
  • learn what a test strategy is and how to choose the right tests
  • apply multiple oracle heuristics to your own work in order to explain what you are doing and why
  • determine if a program has passed a test
  • evaluate your coverage of how thoroughly you’ve tested a program
  • know when to stop testing

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

It takes a class like the BBST Foundations to get one to think about what it really means to be a tester, how one should position oneself on a project team in terms of the value he can add and what are some of the challenges a tester faces.

Gabi Dobritescu, Software Developer In Test

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

Check: Find a software testing course that is truly useful

If improving your skills and knowledge of software testing feature in your New Year’s Resolutions, register now for one of our 2019 BBST Foundations classes and check that box off your list!

What makes BBST different

Created by Cem Kaner

professor/tester/programmer/tech writer, that has been shaping the software industry since 1983

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.

A practical course that reflects real issues faced by testers

  • This course has 6 lessons, 2 per week. Every lesson starts with an orientation theme and is followed by a quiz and an assignment.
  • For the orientation theme, you will use your current experience and knowledge to try and solve the problem as best as you can.
  • After you go through the actual lecture, you will get the practical assignments, similar to the orientation theme that you can now solve using the new information given during the lesson.
  • The assignments are created by Cem Kaner and reflect real issues faced by testers.

Individual Feedback And Coaching

Peer feedback

You get video lectures that you can learn from at your own pace and at a convenient time. Together with this, you are pushed to take part in feedback sessions with your peers. These sessions can happen at any time using mainly the course forum.

Interaction with the instructors

Your instructors are always available. They will give you feedback on your assignments, talk about the solutions you give and answer your questions. At least once per course, we will organize a hangout where you can ask questions and talk about different problems with them.

1-on-1 interactive grading

This will require you to participate in the grading of your work. You will have the opportunity to better demonstrate what you understood from the course material and you will get helpful feedback directly from the instructor on what and how to improve.

Your instructors are experienced software testers

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.

Improve Your Software Testing Skills

Take That First Step Today

If improving your skills feature in your New Year’s Resolutions, register now for one of our classes and make your first step to achieving your goals.

What makes BBST different

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

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