Saturday, October 8, 2011

Another Foundations Class is Winding Down

So by Midnight Pacific time tonight, the last official actions of the Association for Software Testing's Black Box Software Testing Foundations class (well, this one in any event) will conclude, and with it, my second voyage as a lead instructor.

In some ways, this was a more challenging class than the last time I was in this position, not the least of which was the fact that I watched and worked with this class from the confines of my bed for the first three weeks. Only this past week have I been up and about enough to be more active and involved. Thus, I have to say up front to my participants, if I was not as involved as you would have liked or expected, I do apologize.

This is now the sixth time I've worked with the Foundations class. Once as a regular participant, three times as an assistant instructor, and two times now as lead instructor. Every class is different, and every class has different challenges and different surprises. The fun part is to see which participants just go along with the class and the flow, and which ones really get involved and just tear it up. The other interesting aspect is that, as I've participated in the courses over time, and in the broader testing community, I am having more participants come in that I have either a correspondent relationship through sites like Twitter or Facebook, or those that actually work with me on endeavors like Weekend Testing. Usually it goes the other way around, where participants come and take part in Weekend Testing. This time the tables were turned, and I got to have my cohort and fellow WTA facilitator Albert Gareev in my class. I think this is the closest I've yet come to someone I regularly interact with on a peer level actually being a "student" of mine, and in a way... it's odd (LOL!). I've been told by other instructors that as times goes, this actually becomes more and more common, so I guess I better get used to it :).

This was a lively group, and there have been some great participants. I've learned a lot from them and their enthusiasm and energy, as well as their areas and places where they struggled or had questions. I know, I say the same thing at the end of every class, so I know I run the risk of sounding trite, but really, each class gives me a new lens to view the course material. I come out with another insight on subjects that some might consider to be "rote".  At least for me, it doesn't become rote because I get different perspectives and different impassioned comments from participants, and that helps to keep it all fresh.

I've been taking notes, and I see a number of people in the course that I think might well be good instructors later (I'll not name names, but it's no secret that we often find instructors from the ranks of the participants... heck, that's how I got involved :) ).

So what's next for me? Well, the Instructor's Course is next...wait, what?! Yep, it's true. Because of varying factors, each time the Instructor's Course has been offered, I've either been unavailable or it had to be canceled. Normally, to be a Lead Instructor, you have to have gone through the class, so I'm an outlier, but I committed to get that resolved as soon as possible. For others who are interested, there may well still be room, so if you want to join me in the class, head over the the main site and sign up :). This will also be the last Foundations class for this calendar year. The next one will be held in February of 2012, and as of right now, I'm scheduled to teach it!

I've had a great time being the Lead Instructor for this Foundations class, even with my challenges this time around, and I'm hoping my participants have likewise enjoyed the experience. Thanks for teaching me a lot more than I probably taught you :). Also, my thanks to my co-instructors Selena Delesie and Brian Osman, and as always, much thanks to Cem Kaner and Becky Fiedler for their support, encouragement and guidance when I needed it. It's been a fun ride!
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