Four of the common subgroups of students in BBST courses are:
- university students
- staff at the instructor’s company
- working professionals (software testers or from other related fields)
Students’ learning and course management objectives vary a lot:
- Novices are just entering the profession and tend to be drowning in vocabulary and basic applications of the simple techniques. Many are impatient with disputes over terminology, find distinctions among the techniques confusing, and find the variety of techniques available overwhelming. Procedural instruction (step-by-step instructions) is particularly valued by novices.
- University students tend to be a lot more interested in the underlying theory, more willing to read theoretical papers, more tolerant (and appreciative) of relevant homework, and much more interested in their grade.
- In-house students tend to be more focused on how the material in the course applies to the situation at their company. The instructor is (or should be) more likely to focus the course around the products in development at the company and to revise the course to complement the tools and procedures in place at the company.
- Working professionals who sign up on their own tend to be more diverse. Some are very knowledgeable, others are just beginning to study testing. Some are taking the course because they’re curious about our particular approach to the material; others are hoping to become “certified” in software testing, partially on the basis of what they learn in the course.
Several different instructors teach the BBST courses. They structure the courses their own way, often tailoring them to the population of students. Courses for university students will differ from each other but probably look more similar to each other on issues of pace and grading than any of them will look to a course optimized for working novices, working professionals or in-house students. Each instructor adopts her own pass-fail criteria for a course.