Minerva Project

251 - 500 Employees
101 - 250 Engineers
$100M+ Funding
Series C

The Minerva Project partners with institutions and corporations to help them utilize the science of learning to improve their outcomes. Combining a reinvented curriculum, rigorous academic standards, and cutting-edge technology, Minerva provides an exceptional education to prepare future leaders and innovators across all disciplines.

We also built and operate the Minerva Schools at KGI: a WASC-accredited, four-year, undergraduate institution established in 2013. The Minerva Schools offer a unique undergraduate experience for the brightest, most motivated students in the world. Our undergraduates travel to seven vibrant world cities over the course of their four years, living in Minerva residences, immersing themselves in local cultures, and transferring their classroom experience into working with local civic leaders and organizations.

At the core of the system are an innovative methodology, an advanced educational technology, called the Active Learning Forum, and a modular curriculum design. By emphasizing active class participation, deliberate practice, and other empirically-proven methods, the system teaches students critical skills, as well as the ability to apply those skills to diverse and changing contexts.


Engineering at Minerva Project
Engineering team and processes

Our core products are built on Python, Django, and Django REST Framework on the backend, and either React/Redux or Backbone.js on the frontend.

We are a very product-minded engineering team. Engineers work side-by-side with product managers and designers, have broad ownership over the products they build, and wear many hats. A typical week will include working with stakeholders on understanding business or academic requirements, writing and reviewing PRs, participating in design and product brainstorming and feedback sessions, and participating in support and bug triage rotations to stay close to our users' experiences.

We organize into small pods - each pod is 2-3 engineers, with design, product, and management support. Pod initiatives run for 6 weeks, and a pod is fully focused on delivering the initiative outcomes during this time. Some pods appoint a rotating sweeper role to take on support and bug triage work. Pod membership can rotate between initiatives, giving team members the opportunity to switch onto new projects.

Pods meet weekly to review the past week's work and plan for the upcoming week. Every other Friday we come together as a Product team to show off demos of what we've built, have process discussions, and learn about business development updates.

Technical Challenges

We're scaling our realtime video classroom software from 20 participants to 200. There's scaling work in the WebRTC A/V subsystem, the realtime pubsub system for managing shared classroom state, and on the frontend application itself.

Our courseware design platform lets faculty design courses with a plethora of interaction modes, planning out courses where students collaborate in Jupyter notebooks, co-editing documents, and switch in and out of small discussion breakout groups. Designing a model for structured activities that lends flexibility and affords rapid prototyping and iteration will be key to scaling these to larger groups of students.

The Minerva Schools' college application process includes an automated video interview in the browser that works from broadband down to dialup with applicants from countries around the globe. The internal evaluation tools for college applications supports sophisticated rulesets for prioritization, consensus amongst multiple evaluators, and just-in-time work assignment so we can do a more unbiased, thorough, and timely evaluation of college applications than other schools.

Projects you might work on
  • Ex. You would work on our Scalable Seminar team, scaling the Minerva Forum core classroom software from 20 to 200 students through both performance optimization and as feature implementation for novel active learning techniques for large groups.

  • Ex. You would work on our multi-tenancy architecture and partnership integration systems to provide the technical underpinnings of bringing the Minerva curriculum and technology to new university and corporate partners.

  • Ex. You would integrate the degree verification and planning tool with the course scheduling tool: by modeling what courses students will likely register for in future years we can inform the course scheduling process and the faculty hiring process.

Tech stack
Python
JavaScript
Django
React
Redux
Backbone
WebRTC
AWS

Working at Minerva Project

The environment at Minerva is a blend of tech startup and university. You'll find shelves of neuroscience books instead of ping-pong tables, and when lunch conversation strays to work topics, you're just as likely to talk about technology challenges as you are to talk about new pedagogical techniques or what's going on with our students in 6 other cities around the world.

Workshops/Conferences

We provide a professional development budget for conferences and workshops.

Maternal/Paternal Leave

We offer paid parental leave, with 12 weeks for moms and 6 weeks for dads.

Flexible Hours

Most of our local engineers are in the office between 10AM and 6PM, but we don't have any hard rules. With our distributed team, working from home and working remotely are equally well-supported.

Health Insurance

We provide full medical, dental, and vision coverage.

Work from Home

Folks on the product team regularly work from home one or more days a week.

401(k) Contribution
Travel

Students at the Minerva Schools travel to our residential locations in 7 cities around the world during their undergraduate studies. We allow (and encourage) our employees to visit these locations and work from any of them!


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