letting users interact with it. And maybe that’s just part of the specification process.
I like unit testing very much; I think that it helps speed up the process and brings everybody into play. I like having people who are more or less experts on certain parts of the program, although ownership—you don’t want to get to the point where someone is saying, “It’s mine,” but somebody who’s a specialist. Use cases, something I think Larry is going to talk about later on, a very, very important part of specification; you learn a lot when you sit down and talk to, say, your field representatives or your data analysts and so on and learn what they’re going to want out of the system.
Design restraint—and I got that phrase, Pat, I think from you—is a real issue, and it cuts a lot of different ways. You can find yourself reinventing a lot of wheels unnecessarily because people come in—especially new people—and say, “I want it this way, I don’t want to use exactly what you have,” the existing framework or system. You can also find yourself stifling innovation. And I’ve often found myself where new people will come in and ask too little because they don’t know the richness of what you already have. They take a kind of conservative approach, they don’t ask for very much, and so you don’t get the kind of product they might’ve. But this is a tradeoff, and I don’t have an exact answer to it, except probably to try to document and explain as well as you can and get people to buy into that as much as you can, that would seem to be the best approach.
Lots of configurability within systems to allow them to change, to have things within them that are programmable. Which I gather in CASES would generally be described by putting in more features, by putting in more tags. And of course quality throughout, which is really what I’m talking about today.
What I want to do is to give a case study of work done at Computer Curriculum Corporation, to talk about particular testing challenges and solutions there, and to see if I can make the relevant CAI-to-interactive-surveys connection. And since writing this slide I’ve realized that CAI has two meanings here—there’s “computer assisted instruction” which is where I’m coming from and there’s “computer aided … interviewing.” I almost said “interrogation;” that would have been the wrong word. [laughter] So we want to distinguish those two things; if I say “CAI” by accident I probably mean the education sense.
Computer Curriculum Corporation is now called, by the way, NCS Learning; it’s owned by Pearsons and it’s entirely different from what it was. But it was the market leader, and I think still is, in computer-assisted instruction for K-12. Founded by Pat Suppes and Richard Atkinson; I’m mentioning Pat because a number of you know Pat. Pat is actu-