Product at Cadmus

We're miles ahead of where our product started just a few years ago. Learn more about the team, where we're heading, and the principles behind building a platform our users love.

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Product is so closely tied to our story as a company. What started as an online application built to address cheating at university has evolved into an assessment-for-learning platform improving student outcomes globally. We can't believe how far our product has come over the last few years, all through a wild ride of building, listening, and learning.

Our approach to product

Improving learning can be a tricky thing to get right. We’d know. It’s less about trying to fix the symptoms of bad assessment, and more about understanding all the moving parts that create the perfect environment for learning. It requires a broad, holistic approach.

The same thinking applies to the way we build products at Cadmus. We bring in feedback from our users and customers, technical knowledge, and best practice research to create connected journeys that empower learning. Through this process, we’ve been able to develop a platform our users genuinely love — it’s not as common as you’d think in the enterprise edtech world. We’ve prioritised great experiences above all else and dared to do things differently.

Our platform

Our two web applications sit at the heart of our assessment-for-learning platform, the Cadmus Teacher Environment and the Cadmus Student Environment. These are written in Typescript, React, served by Elixir backend APIs and Haskell services, and interact with our data pipeline to provide learning analytics to our users. The platform integrates into university learning environments to empower their existing workflows. 

We’re entirely housed on AWS cloud, which has given us the ability to build a secure and compliant online platform. If you want to learn more about all the tech under our platform, check out our Engineering blog.

Our Product Team goals

While our goal has always been to build a high-quality product with a great user experience (and that won’t change), we’re now looking to build a product and team for scale. As our market grows more competitive and online learning becomes the norm, our goal is to create a product strategy that takes us to our next stage of global growth.

This means adding new value to the platform, leveraging our data, and even shifting towards a more product-led adoption model in new markets like the US. To achieve this, we want to improve our development processes and product culture, becoming more productive, and championing the principles that have enabled our success so far.

How we work together

As a small team, we’re super collaborative. Our best feedback comes directly from our users and customers, so we work closely with Support, Sales, and Marketing. The diverse skillsets in our team bring together strategy, design thinking, technical knowledge, and teaching and learning expertise to shape the development of our product. We love coming together to understand problems, draw out options, and experiment. We even partner with university experts to ensure we get the development of big features right.

There’s distributed ownership across various projects that make up the complete Cadmus platform, which means everyone has a part to build and lead. And while there’s plenty of autonomy and trust, we always have the support and insight of the wider team.

Living by our values

Our company values reflect who we are as individuals and collectively as a team. Here are some of the ways our values come through in our day-to-day lives.

Love learning

We believe great product teams are constantly learning — about our customers and users, the market and opportunities, technology, processes and best practice.

Show humility

We never assume we know what’s best or what our users need. We listen, learn, and constantly seek feedback before making thoughtful and informed decisions.

Do it with quality

Building reliable, delightful, high-quality products make a difference. We don’t put things out unless they meet our standards. Our users definitely appreciate it — our in-app positive student experience scores sit at 85%.

Some recent wins

  • Rebuilding the Editor framework in our teacher and student apps with Prosemirror. We decided to switch to a more accessible framework to help us deliver more functionality and mobile support. Ensuring our platform meets the highest accessibility standards is an important focus area for us.

  • Expanding our integration ecosystem with deeper LMS integrations. Our plugin system allows Cadmus submissions to be processed by other learning tools, providing users with a more connected online learning experience.

  • Overhauling our AWS infrastructure to meet enterprise software compliance, security, and operational standards.

  • Working with our Marketing Team to expand the Cadmus website using our design system, which provides unified branding and component library to all our applications.

The best bits

Working on a product used by hundreds of thousands of students worldwide is pretty special. The online learning space is evolving quickly, and it’s exciting to positively impact how students learn, now and into the future. 

Releasing new features, especially ones widely supported by our community of users, can be pretty satisfying too. Hearing the positive feedback and seeing teachers do new and creative things with assessment is great.

Keep learning…

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An illustration of a person with a large lightbulb for a head. There is a tap connected to the lightbulb, which is dripping water onto a growing plant. It sounds weird, I know.