Cadmus? Not on my campus!

Richard James, University of Melbourne Deputy Provost


Cadmus is an online, Google-Docs-style software which requires you to complete your assignment within its interface. While you type, the software will use keystroke biometrics, analysing your typing pattern, rhythm and speed to ensure you’re the one typing and the work you’re producing is your own. It also uses an authentication process that tracks your location via either your smartphone or email.

Cadmus is being introduced to combat contract cheating – where students pay others to write their assessments for them. However, the software will place considerable limits on the way you work as a student whilst collecting your personal data.

The University has been trialling Cadmus in subjects since 2016. From the beginning, UMSU has been fighting to ensure that Cadmus will not disadvantage students. So far, the University has failed to engage with student voices and adequately address our concerns and intends to implement a pilot of Cadmus from Semester 1, 2018.


FREEDOM TO WORK IN A WAY THAT SUITS YOU: Being monitored while you work is extraordinarily intrusive. Cadmus could mark your assignment as deviating from the norm if you copy & paste a lot when editing or transcribe from another word processor or hand-written notes. This means you will be investigated for potential academic misconduct by the University. If this happens, the burden is on you to prove you did not cheat.

PERSONAL DATA COLLECTION: We don’t know how the data collected by Cadmus will be used, who will have access to it or how long it will be retained for. There is no policy to regulate how much information tutors will have access to about your study habits. There is also no policy to ensure that data will only be used for purposes necessary for the completion of a subject.

LACK OF EQUITY: There is no clear compatibility between Cadmus and assistive technologies (e.g. screen readers, specialised keyboards). There has been no work done to incorporate Cadmus with special consideration or academic adjustment policies, meaning that you will need to seek help on a case by case basis. Currently Cadmus also requires you to go through online verification every time you log in, making it more difficult to work on your assignment if you don't have regular internet access.

Join us in telling the University of Melbourne: Cadmus? Not on my campus!

To: Richard James, University of Melbourne Deputy Provost
From: [Your Name]

We the undersigned oppose the introduction of Cadmus, in its current form, at the University of Melbourne. We urge the University of Melbourne to reconsider the implementation of a Cadmus pilot in Semester 1 2018. We are dismayed at the lack of wide student consultation in the trialling of this software, and that equity and ethical issues have not adequately been addressed. Cadmus is intrusive, controlling, and assumes all students are out to cheat. Cadmus? Not on our campus.