After an enjoyable experience with EPIC Assist in 2017 offering testing training to young adults on the autism spectrum, we (that is, Paul Seaman and I) have just started another run of the EPIC TestAbility Academy.
This second course is being held in the excellent facilities of ANZ’s Docklands office and it’s great to have their support in providing high quality surroundings in which to teach the course. Jon O’Neill, head of ANZ Testing Services, gave a brief (and entertaining) introduction as we kicked off the first session of this second course:
Thanks to some great marketing efforts and a lot of legwork on EPIC’s behalf (a big shout out to Kym Vassiliou especially), this course has filled to our maximum of ten students and it was great to hear them all introducing themselves during the first session – so a big welcome to Braeden, Monique, Dom, Mario, Shen, Damian, Zoe, Caleb, Scott and Marco.
After all the intros, the first session was devoted to discussion about the “what” and “why” of testing, before we wrapped up with a critical thinking exercise, “test the ball”. The engagement and insightful contributions from the group made the opening session very enjoyable for us as teachers (and hopefully also for the students!).
In the second session, we spent quite some time going over the students’ findings from the homework (viz. testing this Palindrome Checker website) and they had come up with some awesome test ideas (including some both Paul and I hadn’t thought of). Next up, we covered the importance of stakeholders before we dived into a group exercise in the shape of the Wason Selection Task. This proved to be a big hit, with excellent engagement, lots of differing opinions, good discussions and (almost!) reaching consensus. To wrap up the session, we ran another group testing exercise in which we all explored puzzle number 2 of James Lyndsay’s Black Box Puzzles (the students already tried to explain the behaviour of puzzle number 1 as part of the application process for the course). This was a fun session and the group is already forming good social bonds and everyone appears to be comfortable contributing ideas.
In addition to Craig Thompson, our ever-present helper from EPIC, Michele Playfair has been taking part in the sessions too as she will stand in for me during absences due to work travel in the coming months. (Paul, Michele and I are all offering our services on a voluntary basis.)
It’s great to have a “full house” for the second run of this course and initial signs are very encouraging, so it’s going to be an interesting twelve weeks as we seek to impart some of our knowledge and passion for good testing and watch these young adults learn and grow.
We are also grateful to the Association for Software Testing for their donation which supports refreshment breaks for the duration of this course.
(Thanks to Kym for the photos used in this post.)