IT departments are continually faced with a variety of web challenges, these challenges have caused Universities to re-examine their online strategies and move from proprietary to open source software. Proprietary technologies are expensive, offer little flexibility, and don’t leave much room for innovation. Today, faculty members, researchers, and educators demand and need new ways to collaborate, publish information online, and interact with students. Universities need a more innovative, flexible approach to reduce costs, deploy applications quicker, and build next generation web experiences.
This has resulted in two trends: widespread Drupal adoption on campuses, and the emergence of Drupal applications tailored for specific needs. These “distributions” reduce development time, costs, and enable internal resources to focus on developing innovative web experiences. Distributions such as OpenScholar, OpenPublish, Drupal Commons, and ELMS can either serve as an out of the box solution or foundation for further development. They’re each designed for different purposes, whether its to enable a user to create personal and collaborative websites without the aid of IT; create online communities for faculty, students and alumni; or empower faculty to design and outline courses more effectively. Although different, they are built on the same underlying open source, Drupal technology.