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Using PBL to Develop Software Test Engineers


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The growing presence of the software in the products and services consumed daily by the society demands a level of completely dependent quality not only of technology, but of its development process and of the involved professionals. By focusing on the professionals responsible for quality assurance, as the Test Engineer, the skills and competences of these need to be developed on basis of a vision very critical and detailed of the problem. The Test Engineer needs to be an "explorer" of the solution, discovering hidden bugs and looking to elimination of defects of the applications. In this context, this article proposes an approach of teaching focuses on training of “test” discipline that make use of problem-based learning to develop real skills required, supported by processes of planning and continuous assessment, in a computer aided software factory. To prove the applicability of this proposal, an empirical study was developed with positive results in teaching the discipline of “exploratory testing”.
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Caliane de O. Figuerêdo, Simone C. dos Santos, Paulo H. M. Borba
CIn - Centro de Informática da UFPE., Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
Prof. Luis Freire Avenue, Recife, Brazil,,
Gustavo H.S. Alexandre
C.E.S.A.R., Centro de Estudos e Sistemas Avançados do Recife
220, Bione Street, Recife, Brazil
The growing presence of the software in the products and
services consumed daily by the society demands a level of
completely dependent quality not only of technology, but
of its development process and of the involved
professionals. By focusing on the professionals
responsible for quality assurance, as the Test Engineer,
the skills and competences of these need to be developed
on basis of a vision very critical and detailed of the
problem. The Test Engineer needs to be an "explorer" of
the solution, discovering hidden bugs and looking to
elimination of defects of the applications. In this context,
this article proposes an approach of teaching focuses on
training of “test” discipline that make use of problem-
based learning to develop real skills required, supported
by processes of planning and continuous assessment, in a
computer aided software factory. To prove the
applicability of this proposal, an empirical study was
developed with positive results in teaching the discipline
of “exploratory testing”.
Problem-Based Learning, Software Engineering, Software
1. Introduction
Currently, there is a growing demand for trained
professionals in software testing because of the demands
for quality products, usually associated with the
elimination of defects, and the quality of software
processes, related to the preservation of consistency of
requirements defined by customer throughout the stages
of software development.
From the academic standpoint, generally the
disciplines of software testing in Computation degree
courses follow the traditional process of forming of
knowledge with focus in presentation of concepts,
techniques and simple practices driven by a teacher, this
one as principal agent. However, this approach focused on
the teacher transforms the student into a passive agent.
Additionally, the practical activities are normally
defined based on scenarios and situations designed by the
teacher, almost always distant from the complexity of
real-world problems. Finally, in this teaching and
learning process, the evaluations of the students also
finish focused only in the theoretical aspects of the
knowledge area by checking the learning of concepts and
fundamentals of software testing without considering the
skill for the practical application of these concepts, as
well as the process of creating solutions to problems.
As an alternative to traditional methods of teaching,
the teaching method PBL - Problem Based Learning [1]
has been applied in different market areas, since the
medical field is linked to its origin, to the areas of
engineering and technology [2]. In [3], the author defines
the problem based learning (PBL) as a strategy where
students work in teams in order to solve problems and
also encourage the development of skills and attitudes,
including teamwork, self initiative, and cooperation. In
this model, the student changes his role in the learning
process, passing of passive receiver for active, responsible
for their learning. Furthermore, this methodology
prescribes an environment based on software factories
(roles, tools and standardized processes), where students
are immersed in practice, interacting with friends and
peers, inserted into a functional learning process for
solution of real problems that match current real-world
Despite the obvious benefits of PBL, it is important
to note that adoption of this methodology is often
confused with practical experiments in which students are
left to fend for themselves, with little interaction with the
teachers and low content support originating from
disciplines. An effective PBL methodology is strongly
process-oriented, since the approach needs to be planned
to ensure that theory and practice will walk together and
aligned. Moreover, learning needs to be accompanied by
instruments that can assess its effectiveness [4], [5], [6].
In this context, this article describes a teaching
approach based on PBL to train professionals in software
testing, here “test engineers”. The adoption of PBL is
accomplished through the creation of a software factory,
supported by teaching processes, actual projects,
multidirectional interactions between students and
teachers and continuous assessment. An experiment
conducted in a Training Program in Exploratory Testing
(TPET) is ongoing, with some results that indicate
important contributions both in the construction of the
learning process more effective as the monitoring and
validation of this process.
2. Planning the Problem-based Learning
Whereas PBL is essentially process-oriented, dumping
practice in which students are subjected requires a
teaching planning that involves defining the structure of
the practical environment of educational goals and
objectives, roles of human capital involved (students and
teachers), computer tools support, and evaluation of
To realize this plan, the main elements of
empowerment were identified, with reference to the work
in [4].
2.1 Training Plan
In planning the training, targets and an action plan to
achieve the proposed objectives are defined, as
information from the profile of the class, student numbers
and course proposal. This action plan included the
Training objectives: defining the skills and
abilities will be developed, according to the
profile that you want to build and market
Project Selection: consists in selecting projects
for software testing with real focus on functional
learning from real problems, involving the
participation of real customers.
Environment and infrastructure: activities related
to purchase and installation of infrastructure and
tools needed to create an environment similar to
a software factory focused on software testing
2.2 Roles and Test Teams
The project execution involve the participation of five key
players: the client, responsible for the demand of the test
services and validation of the results; the student, who
compose the testing team and is responsible for the
execution of the projects of tests and achieving the results
agreed with the clients; the tutor, responsible for teaching
and preparing content of disciplines, performing an
evaluator and facilitator role of student learning; the
consultant, who acts like a specialist of tests of software
helping in the projection of the activities, techniques and
necessary trainings to the execution of the activities of the
project; the manager, responsible for managing the
software factory, performing activities of monitoring and
control of projects.
The formation of the teams consists of the division of
students into small and heterogeneous teams. According
to the methodology of dividing students into teams
described in Santos et al. [4], it is important consider
affinities, skills and abilities of each student in order to
avoid concentration and / or lack of skills / abilities in the
same team. For each new project, the allocations of the
roles of each student inside the team of tests are
performed, such as: manager of tests, analyst of tests and
executioner of tests. In spite of this allocation of papers,
each integrant is involved in all the stages of the tests
2.3 Content Plan
In this activity, learning modules are defined as guides
and support for the human capital involved in the training.
A Learning Module (LM) is a set of practical activities,
training, techniques and tools aimed at the theoretical and
practical learning of specific content. The setting up of
the LM involves the following steps: (1) define
educational objectives of the module (2) define a test
strategy from the educational objectives of the module (3)
define a test process (activities, artifacts, roles and
responsibilities) aligned to the strategy of testing the
module, (4) choose the tools necessary to implement the
activities planned for the module, (5) list the training
previously identified as necessary for understanding and
practical application of content covered in the module.
Figure 1 illustrates an example of a learning module that
addresses specific software test content. Being an
independent module, can be applied to any project of tests
that use the test strategy defined in the module.
Figure 1. Learning Module
Each learning module has a version, a context and an
associated level of maturity, which may evolve according
to these characteristics and the software project of which
is related, as illustrated in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Learning Module in evolution
The points represent the learning modules, the line T
indicates the progress of the module over time (e.g. 1.0,
2.0, associated with the improvement or modification of
its content), the C line indicates the evolution of the
module in relation to the context (For example, the type of
application that can be Desktop, Web or Mobile), and the
line M indicates the progress of the module in relation to
the maturity level of the organization (e.g. basic,
intermediate or advanced, depending on the tools and
techniques associated). The points surrounded by squares
indicate the learning modules which have been
By being specific, by version, context, and maturity,
the modules allow monitoring the evolution of student
learning during the implementation of project activities,
enabling corrective actions or improvements might be
2.4 Learning Assessment
In [7], the author describes the teaching / learning process
as a cyclical process that begins with the definition of
educational objectives and continues with the choice of
methods and criteria of the assessment process.
In this circular process is performed three methods of
assessment defined by Bloom [8], cited in [7]: diagnostic,
used to determine if the student has the necessary
prerequisites for the acquisition of new expertise;
formative, held in order to verify that the student is
achieving the objectives established during the course
and; summative, used to classify a student, carried out to
the end of a course, school period or unity of teaching.
In the context of training in software testing via
learning modules and implementation of real projects, this
process is divided into well defined phases, as illustrated
in Figure 3.
Figure 3. Assessment in steps
In the step Preparation, the criteria and methods of
assessment for each learning module are defined, aligned
to the educational objectives initially planned:
Criteria: it consists of the definition of clear
form and lens of what it will be evaluated;
Assessment methods: Choose the method
(technique) and instruments that are best suited
to assess what has been defined.
The Diagnostic step consists in preparing and
applying evaluations what they make possible to identify
the level of current knowledge of the student related to the
content of the learning module, besides detect pre-
requisites for the acquisition of new expertise.
The step of Monitoring is dedicated to the elaboration
and application of formative assessments. Continuous
assessments are made, in order to identify gaps in learning
with respect the aspects described in [9]:
Content: evaluation based on the content taught
in training, noting the theoretical knowledge
Procedure: evaluation based on monitoring the
process activities and the meeting deadlines,
noting the oral language, posture, strong points
and improvement;
Deliveries: evaluation of the artifacts produced
and status reports, noting criteria such as
standardization, organization, accuracy,
timeliness, oratory, among others.
Finally, in the step of Classifications are developed
and applied character summative assessments, to verify
the learning outcomes achieved by students, in
accordance with the established criteria.
The final concept for students includes notes of
formative assessments (content, process, and deliveries)
and summative. This final concept is calculated by:
Final concept = (0.6 x formative assessment) + (0.4 x
summative evaluation)
According to Alexandre in [7], this evaluation
methodology is not only concerned with the condition of
pass / fail the student, but worry, especially in monitoring
the behavior of the student before an evaluation, also
providing resources to enable it to deepen and improve
their knowledge on weaknesses identified by the
3. Empirical Study
This section describes a case study conducted in a pilot
project for training software testing, titled "Exploratory
Testing Training ETT", defined as part of a broader
training program in software engineering. This training
program was implemented by the Laboratory of
Productivity of Software (LabPS) of INES (National
Institute of Science and Technology for Software
Engineering) at Center of Informatics Federal University
of Pernambuco (UFPE-CIN), in collaboration with
partners of the institute innovation C.E.S.A.R (Recife
Center for Advanced Studies and Systems) and employees
of Software Industry in Pernambuco, Brazil.
The ETT project was designed for undergraduate
students in computer science and related fields, and aims
to offer to the students an opportunity to practice the key
concepts and processes of software testing in order to
provide the field and dissemination of technical
knowledge in the area.
This project was conducted from May/2010 to
September/2010, initially with 10 undergraduate students
divided into two testing teams. Both teams were tasked to
test a CASE tool (a tool to support functional testing),
maintaining the same functionalities. The challenge was
to find bugs in the tool using the testing exploratory
technique, but in a controlled, efficient and creative mode,
using a testing tool as object of study to learn software
test. It´s important to emphasize that the exploratory
testing stimulates the creativity and investigative
characteristics, challenging the tester in test design of
better and more effective quality.
3.1 Training Plan
The action plan consisted in the definition of educational
objectives, selection of actual projects for training and
preparation of test environment, as is detailed following:
Objectives of training: to train test engineers in
key concepts and techniques of exploratory
Selection of actual projects: this activity
consisted in the selection of the tool named
TaRGeT (Tool for Generation of Test and
Requirement) as a tool to be tested by students in
the ETT project. The main feature of this tool is
the generation of test cases in an automated
mode. Therefore, besides being the object of
testing the project, TaRGeT is also a tool to
support testing, being used on previous projects
of this training program;
Environment and infrastructure: to implement
this project, there was no need to purchase
equipment, since the LabPS already had the
infrastructure needed for training and execution
of tests. To prepare the test environment was
necessary to install and configure the TaRGeT
tool at the 5 computers available for the teams,
considering that two team composed by 5
members were sharing these computers.
3.2 Test Teams and Roles Definition
In the ETT project, the students were organized into two
teams of five members, one staff assigned in the morning
(Scan team) and the other in the afternoon (Cambio team).
These teams were heterogeneous, composed of students
from different institutions and different periods of
undergraduate Computing course. Each student took a
role on the team, however, actively participating in all
activities and phases of the testing process that was set.
Worth remembering that due to the focus of this program
was exploratory testing, there is no distinction between
the designer and tester, and therefore, each team was
consisted of four testers and a test manager.
Employees of the LabPS and others partners were
assigned the roles of tutors and consultants. The calls
were directed to professional with academic and practical
experiences, often engaged in graduate programs. A
dedicated professional took the role of project manager,
leading the implementation of the methodology and the
process of assessing students.
3.3 Content Plan
The Learning Module for the ETT project was set by the
project manager in conjunction with collaborators of
LabPS (tutors and consultants involved in the program).
The content of the module is arranged as follows:
Educational Objectives: on the conclusion of the
learning module, it is expected that the student is
able to know, understand and apply the concepts,
processes and techniques of exploratory testing,
conducted in conjunction with the modeling
techniques of Black Box testing. In addition, it´s
necessary to develop oral and written
communication and teamwork skills among the
Test Strategy: Second Kaner, Bach and
Pettichord in [10], test strategy refers to the set of
ideas that guides the test designer throughout the
project. In this module, the test strategy
discussed the techniques used and the level of
testing. A test technique is about how to test.
May be static (does not involve running tests),
such as reviews and static analysis; or dynamic
(involving execution). Examples of dynamic
techniques are Black Box testing based on
specifications (or behaviors); White box test,
performed upon how the software was built and;
the Exploratory tests, based on the skills, insights
and experiences of the tester, without the need
for scripts of test [11]. For this project, the
learning module has focused on learning and
applying the following techniques:
o Session Based & the Charter: it is an
exploratory test technique used to make
exploratory testing more effective and
clearer goals. In this approach,
exploratory testing is conducted in
sessions (time slots) of about 90
minutes, ranging from 60 to 120
minutes. Each session should perform a
task previously defined (charter),
describing the intent of what should be
tested instead how testing should be
o Modeling Techniques of the Black Box
Testing: techniques that help the tester
to select test scenarios more accurately
and is effective in detecting certain
types of errors. The term Black box
means that no requires knowledge of the
internal structure of the product.
Levels or stages of tests: concern when testing,
or at what stage of the development process
given test should be done. Examples of levels are
most commonly exploited are the Unit tests,
applied to the code by programmers; System test,
run the system as a whole to validate the
execution of its functions; test of acceptance,
performed before implantation of the software.
This module has focused on testing the
exploratory level of System testing.
Test process: addresses the roles, phases and
artifacts related to the exploratory testing
o The Roles: the roles defined for this module
are the Test Manager and the Tester. The test
manager is responsible for planning,
managing and controlling the activities,
schedule and team tests, as well as evaluating
the test results. In the context of exploratory
testing, the tester is the designer and executor
of tests at the same time, it is he who creates
and runs the test.
Figure 4. Artifacts delivered in each activity
o Phases and the artifacts: (1) Planning,
involving the definition of the scope of
testing and preparation of test plan; (2)
Design, concern the creation of charters in
which the test ideas and planning are
registered by the tester, (3) Session is the
implementation of the charter, where each
session is based on a charter, including the
time of preparing the testing environment,
investigation, execution and recording of
faults (bugs); (4) Debrief is a quick
conversation between the test manager and
tester about the results of the session in order
to verify if what was inside the plan was
actually tested, and to plan new test sessions,
(5) Bug Tracking, relate to the follow-up
phase of recorded bugs, until they reach a
conclude state. The Figure 4 illustrates the
artifacts delivered to each stage of this
Tools: the TestLink (managing and running
tests) and Mantis (incident management) tools
were defined as tools to support testing and; the
tool DotProject was used to manage the test
Training plan: they were given a set of 4 training
designed to boost student learning and support to
project activities:
o DotProject: project management tool;
o Exploratory Testing: key concepts about
exploratory testing;
o Exploratory Testing SBC (Session
Based & Charter);
o Modeling Techniques of the Black Box
Testing: Techniques for selection and
development of scenarios for black box
testing (equivalence classes, limits
analysis, decision tables, use cases).
It is noteworthy that the Learning Module of the
ETT project was performed as the second module training
program. The first module, entitled "Functional Testing
and Black Box, via GUI", addressed the basics concepts
of software testing in a project called “Flip”, but the
implementation of this module did not include
mechanisms for evaluating the learning that assessed their
performance, keeping out of this case study.
3.4 The Assessment Process
The assessment process defined in the methodology was
applied in the ETT project, allowing a more concrete
evaluation of the results in relation to the learning
objectives proposed for this module. However, although
the project has started with the participation of 10
students, only 6 completed the module in totally. The
motives of these four students to let out this program were
entirely personals: the first one due to conclusion of the
undergraduate course, another decided to live in the other
city and the other two were selected in curricular
Considering that, at the end of the module, the
students should be able to know, understand and correctly
apply the concepts and techniques taught in the
exploratory testing, in the Preparation stage the following
criteria and methods of assessment were defined:
Criteria: the criteria for evaluation of artifacts
and status report (presentation) were defined.
The artifacts generated by students were
evaluated for the standardization, organization,
completeness, correctness, creativity,
appropriateness and timeliness. In presentations,
the criteria considered were orality, posture,
appearance, slides, monitoring of activities,
strengths and improvement points.
Assessment methods: individual or group
assessment made use of evaluation instruments
such as the objective tests for diagnostic and
formative assessments, subjective tests, exercises
or oral presentation to formative assessments.
In the beginning of the Learning Module was applied
a diagnostic evaluation (step Diagnostic), with the
objective of verifying the level of students' prior
knowledge regarding the content of Learning Module. A
percentage of 50% of grades of these students were below
7.0, indicating little knowledge of the content to be
addressed in the module.
After the diagnostic evaluation and initiation of
activities, the Formative assessments (content, process
and supply) were also applied, initiating the step of
Monitoring. For each formative assessment conducted,
the students received feedback from tutors in person,
which is essential for the development of students,
enabling the identification of gaps in learning.
Analyzing the data obtained from the formative
assessment of the content aspect giving rise to the graph
in Figure 5, one can observe that, except for assessments
about the DotProject tool and Black Box Testing
Techniques trainings, both teams evolve their notes
throughout the process, converging for the same level of
learning in the last formative assessment. Still, the grades
related to the tools are above 7.0 which was the average
required for the program.
In Figure 5, you can also see a drop in grades of the
two teams in the evaluation of the training of Black Box
Testing Techniques, both with similar efficiency. This
decrease can be explained by the complexity of the
content measured and the fact it was more difficult to
evaluate the module. Usually this content is fixed from
practical activities. However, it was also observed that
after the feedback of this assessment, students were able
to apply the black box testing techniques more easily and
quickly, since they could better understand the techniques
from the questions they had during the assessment and
during the practical activity. The same performance was
also observed in other evaluations.
Figure 5. Formative assessment for the content aspect
At the end of the Learning Module, the students
answered a summative objective test, with issues related
to the content seen in the module as whole, completing
the evaluation process with the step of Classification. Of
the six students evaluated, only one took a note below
recommended average.
It was also observed in Table 1 that the notes in
formative assessments of all students were above 8.0,
while in the summative assessment, 66% of students
scored below 7.0 (recommend average).
Table 1
Notes per student (formative and summative evaluation)
Student 1
Student 2
Student 3
Student 4
Student 5
Student 6
The graph represented by Figure 6 shows visually
the evolution of individual students in relation to the
averages of formative (content, process and delivery
aspects) and summative assessments.
It worth to point out that the student with the highest
average in formative assessments, it is the same student
who took the lowest note of the summative evaluation.
Asked about this difference, the student replied that he
was not well physically and psychologically at the time of
the summative evaluation, affecting his performance. This
is an indication that formative assessments are the ones
which better evaluate the student, by being continuously
and assess them in different aspects (content, process and
delivery) and conditions.
Figure 6. Notes per student (formative and summative
Even with a small sample, it was possible to evaluate
some interesting points from the ETT project, such as the
importance of feedback from evaluations to students, but
also the results of testing performed and quality of
artifacts produced by them. According to the metrics
collected regarding the amount of bugs found and the
observations reported by the client and tutors, the results
were very satisfactory.
It is noteworthy that although the two teams have
conducted tests on the same tool, the bugs were found by
Scan team were different bugs found by Cambio team.
Compared to the bugs found during the tests of the
TaRGeT tool performed early of this project, these were
more critical and in greater quantity. This reinforces the
importance of exploratory test strategy to expand the
imagination of the test engineer, also helping to identify
gaps that are usually ignored or difficult to find.
With respect to Learning Module, the results do not
indicate a need to evolve in this module version and level
of maturity, but rather an evolution in the level of context
with other types of applications, such as web applications.
Beyond these results was also observed that students
did good work in teams, demonstrating the acquisition of
theoretical knowledge and testing practices, beside the
advances in communication and orality, observed through
the review of artifacts and presentation of the project
status report, and the motivation to continue the training
4. Conclusion
This The aim of this study was to describe an
approach for training in software testing using the
instructional method Problem-Based Learning (PBL),
involving the practice of real projects and training
targeted to the content covered in the projects. To validate
this approach, a pilot project was carried out by defining
as challenge the test of a tool to support the testing
process through the application of the exploratory testing
technique, fully aligned with the creative character and
discoverer of the test engineer.
The approach used enabled engagement with
concrete situations and challenging, allowing students to
experience real situations of software testing at the same
time that technical and nontechnical roles were exercised,
as decision making, work in team, and oral presentation of
project results. Additionally, the approach provided tools
that enabled managers to plan and oversee the training
program for a much easier way and controlled.
Is important to emphasize that the use of this
methodology in new experiments is essential for to
validate its applicability.
As next steps, the LabPS is planning new training
modules in the area of Software Testing and in the near
future in other disciplines of the development process,
such as software engineering and project management.
Although not yet proven, it is believed that the
methodology proposed in this paper can be used for new
subjects with minor adjustments.
This work was [partially] supported by the National
Institute of Science and Technology for Software
Engineering (INES), funded by CNPq and FACEPE,
grants 573964/2008-4 and APQ-1037-1.03/08.
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... One of the inherent characteristics of PBL is that it is strongly oriented to processes [5]. This means that adopting it can only be effective when it is ensured that the steps of the process are managed and conducted in alignment with each other. ...
... This can arise by the students endeavoring to use their prior knowledge (4) and it may happen that the team´s knowledge is insufficient. In this case, the process branches into an alternative flow, which means that students need to conduct a survey of their learning needs (5). Learning issues are topics of potential relevance to the problem and are considered as points/ issues, an understanding of which the students are unaware or simply do not have. ...
Conference Paper
Ensuring satisfactory results by using problem-based learning in education in the Computing area is challenging. Faithfully maintaining the philosophy of PBL requires not only full compliance with its principles but also that its processes are managed efficiently. To facilitate the adoption of PBL, especially as to managing its processes, this article puts forward a framework based on Demig's PDCA cycle. The framework highlights its ability to re-use artifacts and recommends models for the stages of planning, implementation, monitoring and corrective actions. Special attention is paid to the components that are essential to the framework: xPBL methodology, maturity models, such as PBL-Test and valuation models, and authentic assessment. Results on the applicability of the framework during an under-graduate modular Computing course are also presented.
... The author says the assessment, in this conception, "measures [...] the quantity and the accuracy of the information that [the student] can reproduce". In this perspective, the assessment is summative, applied at control points at the end of the exposure of specific content, as opposed to the formative assessment that allows the construction of learning procedurally, based on continuous feedback (Figuerêdo, dos Santos, Borba, & Alexandre, 2011). ...
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One of the challenges of Computing Education Research is the proposition of new learning methods. Researches indicate active learning methods are more effective than traditional ones. Peer Instruction is one of these learning methods that promotes a student-centered class, enabling (s)he constructs his/her comprehension through a structured approach with questions and peer discussions, used in Computing in the last years. Nevertheless, researches about the use of this method are very scarce in South America. Accordingly, this research aims to discuss the impact of Peer Instruction use on higher education from a Logic in Brazilian Computer Science course. The research context is an undergraduate course in Computer Science in the first term of 2018 at the Federal University of Jataí. Sufficient evidence was found for the veracity of two propositions related to this study: (i) Peer Instruction use guarantees a learning gain of students, and (ii) Peer Instruction is well accepted by students. Therefore, it concluded that Peer Instruction use is suitable for Logic courses in Computing Higher Education in Brazil, with good acceptance from students.
... Despite the existence of initiatives, however, many teachers reveal that they are unable to teach the practice of software testing by due to the time available for classes [34]. Most teachers who work in the software testing area employ traditional teaching methods, and when they teach this subject with another method, they use methods that mirror the traditional model in which most learning activities have to be done by the students at home, without teacher's support [16]. In this sense, activities are still to be done outside the classroom while that the time inside the classroom is mostly spent with lectures in which students are not actively engaged [35]. ...
Conference Paper
Computer science programs have been delivering newly undergraduate students to the software industry without sufficient knowledge on how to perform software testing activities. It occurs because that activity is usually taught as part of Software Engineering courses, which means that teachers have to put a lot of efforts to teach the main testing techniques and criteria along with many other contents. In this way, the content is mostly addressed in a theoretical way as the teacher has to stick to the course schedule and has no time to address the testing practice. On the other hand, some studies reported the efforts of professors to optimize the time during classes and attract students to the software testing area. These efforts are associated with the employment of activities in which students are actively engaged in the classroom, solving problems, developing real projects, or dealing with real cases. A pedagogical model that seeks to leverage such an approach is the flipped classroom model. However, while some have praised that model, others have criticized it. In the state of the art, there is no consensus about the appropriateness of flipped classroom for specific learning contents. In this paper, we present an experimental study that was conducted to verify the suitability of the flipped classroom model to teach software testing, especially black-box testing. This study comprised an analysis of students' learning gains when subject to the flipped model and the workload introduced when compared to the traditional teaching model.
... The PBL-SEE model has been applied in courses with a professional emphasis since 2007 such as: 10-year groups of a Master in Software Engineering [11]; one professional training course in Software Testing [17]; and a Software residency for developing a mobile platform [18]. In this section, two case studies are highlighted. ...
The problem-based learning (PBL) approach has been successfully applied to teaching software engineering thanks to its principles of group work, learning by solving real problems, and learning environments that match the market realities. However, the lack of well-defined methodologies and processes for implementing the PBL approach represents a major challenge. The approach requires great flexibility and dynamism from all involved, whether in mapping content, in teacher performance, or laying out the process of how learners should go about solving problems. This paper suggests that management processes can help in implementing PBL throughout its life cycle (planning, implementation, monitoring, and enhancement), and proposes an assessment model called PBL-SEE for use in software engineering education (SEE). Two examples of its use are provided. The results show how the model can be applied and how the resulting information can be used to make the PBL initiatives "authentic," in that they bring the reality of the labor market to the learning environment, while keeping to PBL principles.
... @BULLET Módulos Educacionais: São unidades concisas de estudo, compostas por conteúdos teóricos combinados com atividades práticas e avaliações, apoiadas por recursos tecnológicos e computacionais [Barbosa e Maldonado 2011]; @BULLET Jogos Educacionais: São jogos que proporcionam práticas educacionais atrativas e inovadoras, nos quais os usuários podem aprender de forma mais ativa, dinâmica e motivadora [Farias et al. 2012]; @BULLET Ensino Conjunto de Teste com Programação: É o ensino conjunto de conceitos básicos de programação e de teste de software. Muitas pesquisas demonstram que o ensino conjunto dessas disciplinas possui benefícios [de Souza et al. 2012]; @BULLET Quiz: É uma forma interativa de avaliar o conhecimento de usuários, por meio de questionários [Mustakerov e Borissova 2005]; @BULLET Revisão por Pares: Utilizar essa técnica para auxiliar o ensino de teste de software, permite um aprendizado lúdico e competitivo, no qual os estudantes aprendem uns com os outros [Smith et al. 2012]; @BULLET Desenvolvimento Dirigido por Testes (TDD): Nessa técnica o desenvolvedor escreve um caso de teste e em seguida produz um código que possa ser validado pelo teste [Edwards 2003]; @BULLET Tutorial: É uma ferramenta de ensino e aprendizagem que pode ser um programa de computador ou um texto que contém ou não imagens que auxiliam no processo de aprendizagem, demonstrando o passo a passo para a realização de alguma atividade [Liu et al. 2010]; @BULLET Rede Social: Essa abordagem permite que usuários comuniquem-se uns com outros trocando experiências no decorrer do processo de aprendizagem [Clarke et al. 2011]; @BULLET Modelo de Residência de Software: Essa abordagem inclui o ensino tradicional de conceitos relevantes de um determinado conteúdo e em seguida a realização de atividades práticas de com profundidade e/ou com especialização em algum assunto específico [Sampaio et al. 2005]; @BULLET Aprendizagem Baseada em Problemas: Essa abordagem permite que os estudantes trabalhem em equipe com o intuito de resolverem problemas, incentivando o desenvolvimento de habilidades como atitudes, auto iniciativa e cooperação [Figuerêdo et al. 2011]; @BULLET Aprendizagem Baseada em Desempenho: Essa abordagem utiliza a medição do desempenho dos usuários para esclarecer os principais objetivos e demonstrar as necessidades da aprendizagem individual do usuário [Wang et al. 2011]; Como pode ser observado, aproximadamente 60% dos trabalhos analisados abordaram conteúdos relacionados com todas as fases de teste de software. Nos trabalhos analisados, a fase de projeto de caso de teste é a fase mais abordada no ensino dos conteúdos relacionados com o teste de software, sendo utilizado em aproximadamente 84% dos trabalhos selecionados. ...
Conference Paper
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Context: Software testing is an important activity to ensure quality for software products. However, there is a lack of qualified professionals and a lack of motivation to work with software testing. Objective: To identify the state of art about teaching software testing. Method: We performed a systematic mapping based on digital libraries and manual search. Results: We identified the main approaches of teaching software testing, as well as how to develop and evaluate them. Futhermore, we idenfied the languages addressed to teaching and the testing phases considered in these approaches. Conclusion: We characterized the state of art about teaching software testing approaches, observing that the most used ones are educational games and teaching software testing combined programming.
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Learning Analytics (LA) is a systematic and interdisciplinary field that uses methods and analysis techniques to measure the effectiveness of different pedagogical approaches such as problem based learning (PBL), project based learning etc. Analysis of data helps to bring improvements in the curriculum and content delivery in higher education. According to recent predictions, for educational technology, research seeks to analyze the learners’ behavior, engagement time in learning, feedback, problem solving skills, ability to participate in team discussion. Teacher’s involvement in designing an activity, keeping the student motivated and to induce them to participate in the activity sessions is a challenging task. Students’ performance is always directly proportional to teachers’ involvement. Combining PBL and LA helps to collect data and analyze in a structured way to make decisions for an academic purpose. The benefits include targeted course offerings to the students, students’ learning outcomes, their behavior, performance, improved curriculum development, and improved personalized learning. Hence, this research enriches the application of PBL pedagogy with LA in engineering education.
The area of Computer Networks requires an educational model based on real market practices that can provide students with consistent technological training. However, it should be noted that a Network Project is subject to a wide range of restrictions (such as time constraints, budgeting, and the use of other necessary resources) which means there is a need to work with real cases and in the presence of a client. The purpose of this paper is to describe the effects of the application of PBL‐Maestro in the area of Network Design. PBL‐Maestro consists of a LMS (Learning Management System) that has been designed to underpin a methodological workflow for implementing PBL (Problem‐Based Learning) in the teaching of Computing, called xPBL, which provides support for Authentic Assessment. By taking xPBL as a benchmark, the course management can be carried out by following the dynamics of the cycle and stages. The topics was taught in an entirely ̈hands‐on̈ format with the use of real equipment installed inside the classroom, and it included situations and problems arising from real circumstances. Clients took part in the whole process and took on the responsibility of making requests, monitoring, guiding, and evaluating the development of the problem solution, together with the teacher. In addition, the fact that they were immersed in a practical environment and could make use of the devices employed in companies enabled them to solve problems when requested, with more facility and assertiveness. Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with the users who used the LMS.
Conference Paper
Traditional approaches to teach software testing lack to align theory with practice in higher education. Problem Based Learning (PBL) is an alternative that allows learning through individual practical experiences. The objective of this paper is to report experiences to teach software testing by using PBL in Software Engineering undergraduate course of Federal University of Pampa. The report covers two editions of Problem Solving course that involved 51 students and focused on students creating and running test cases across software components developed by professors. Data collection had been made by questionnaires with open and closed questions, and data was examined by statistics and Content Analysis technique. As results, we notice evidences of knowledge and perceptions maturing by students about software testing and software quality. We also verify it's possible to mix PBL with other teaching methodologies such as gamification and to amplify their benefits.
Conference Paper
Teaching Computer has led to the design of an educational model that is increasingly making use of market practices linked to business corporations. Within this scenario, a practical and dynamic learning system is being fostered that allows simulations to be carried out in real contexts through problem resolution. Based on constructivist theories, PBL (Problem-Based Learning) is a teaching method that is focused on the students and its main characteristic is that it uses real-world problems to create the learning content and teach the skills required for their solution. However, the adoption of this approach is not an easy task, since it is accompanied by abrupt changes in the traditional paradigm of education, which require changes in the attitudes of the actors involved. In addition, the planning and monitoring of the PBL, involve complex activities that are difficult to manage, especially with regard to determining the quality and compliance of the processes used for problem resolution. Additionally, the Computer Science courses require working on projects provided by real clients, within a dynamic and iterative development process. This strengthens the need to introduce strategies and technologies to support the implementation and management of the method and, enable its effectiveness to be monitored In addition, it provides continuous feedback, and assesses the results generated from the evaluation of the solutions produced during the teaching-learning process. Thus, it is essential to adopt strategies that allow a better management of teaching practice, improved learning by the students and a means of validating the clients involved. From this perspective, this paper presents a virtual teaching and learning environment, called PBLMaestro, which has been designed to support the workflow of a methodology for the implementation of PBL in teaching Computer Science, called xPBL. With the aid of xPBL, it is possible to perform the management of courses using the dynamics of a cycle and series of stages to allow a better control of management processes, by linking real problems to well-defined educational goals. In the case of teacher planning, we were used elements described in xPBL methodology, aligned with educational goals defined from the Bloom Revised Taxonomy. With regard to student tracking, we used the authentic assessment model and mechanisms of Learning Analytics. Gamification strategies were included to increase engagement, retention and motivation, and push notification messages were displayed in a mobile application the PBLMaestro was validated by means of application the environment in the context of the discipline “Network Design” of Computer Science Course, and the results are analyzed in this study. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with the teachers and there was a high degree of satisfaction among the tutors, students and customers who used the service, with regard to the usability and consistency of the proposed environment as well as with its improvements and changes. Although the environment was improved in the area of computer science, it is possible that it can provide support to the STEM context with some customizations.
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: Problem-based Learning (PBL) has become a popular method of instruction among educators in the health professions. Central to the effectiveness of PBL is the ability of students to work together to solve problems. When these abilities are lacking, PBL outcomes can be compromised. Since these skills have not been emphasized in public school or higher education, students are often forced to muddle through group processes in the effort to learn. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the interpersonal skills necessary to enhance PBL, and suggest how these skills can be improved and incorporated into the curriculum. Problem-based learning (PBL) has gained acceptance and has been found effective within a variety of disciplines in higher education. 1,2 PBL satisfies three important criteria that promote optimal learning. 3 First, it provides an environment where the student is immersed in a practical, on-going activity in which he/she receives feedback from other students and ...
this paper is to provide a clear link between the theoretical principles of constructivism and the practice of instructional design and the practice of teaching. We will begin with a basic characterization of constructivism identifying what we believe to be the central principles in learning and understanding. We will then identify and elaborate on eight instructional principles for the design of a constructivist learning environment. Finally, we will exam what we consider to be one of the best exemplars of a constructivist learning environment -- Problem Based Learning as described by Barrows (1985, 1986, 1992) at the Southern Illinois University Medical School and at the Problem Based Learning Institute for high school teachers .
Advanced Software Testing Guide to the ISTQB Advanced Certification as an Advanced Test Analyst
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Authentic assessment strategies in problem based learning
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