Exploration Through Example

Example-driven development, Agile testing, context-driven testing, Agile programming, Ruby, and other things of interest to Brian Marick
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Thu, 02 Oct 2003

Master of Fine Arts in Software

Richard Gabriel has been pushing the idea of a Master of Fine Arts in Software for some time. It now looks as if the University of Illinois is seriously considering the idea of offering such a degree (which they would prefer to call "Master of Software Arts"). There is likely to be a trial run in early January. If that goes well, the next step is a full-fledged University program.

A software MFA would be patterned after a non-residential MFA. Twice a year, students would come to campus for about ten days. They'd do a lot of work. They'd get a professor with whom they'd work closely-but-remotely for the next six months. Repeat several times. An MFA will differ from conventional software studies in several ways:

  • You read the work of masters, take them apart to see what makes them tick.

  • You do a lot of work of your own, which is critically discussed and frequently revised.

  • You write and teach about the craft.

  • It's for people who already have experience.

  • etc...

Gabriel says:

The way that the program works is for each student to spend a lot of time explicitly thinking about the craft elements in any piece of software, design, or user interface... It is this explicit attention to matters of craft that matures each student into an excellent software practitioner.

Ralph Johnson and I are the local organizers, also two of the instructors. We're looking for students. This first trial run, we're especially looking for people with lots of experience and reputation. If those people get value, everyone can. And if they say they got value, the future program will get lots of students. Who wouldn't want to attend a program that people like Ward Cunningham or Dave Thomas or Andy Hunt or Martin Fowler or Mike Clark or Michael Feathers or Eric Evans or Paul Graham said was worth their time?

I've set up a yahoogroups called software-mfa. You can subscribe by sending mail to software-mfa-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

As you can see, my efforts to become a hermit and not get involved in organizing things are proceeding well. But this is a chance to make an important difference.

## Posted at 08:35 in category /misc [permalink] [top]

About Brian Marick
I consult mainly on Agile software development, with a special focus on how testing fits in.

Contact me here: marick@exampler.com.




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Working your way out of the automated GUI testing tarpit
  1. Three ways of writing the same test
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