Drupal 7 Higher Education Case Study


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In this session, I talk about an admissions portal we're building for a large Canadian university. Requirements have included an intuitive application process for applicants and a flexible form building system for university administrators.

The project includes a lot of exciting new Drupal 7 functionality. I give an overview of the project and will also cover some of the technical details including:

How we've used entities to structure complex data

Implementing custom fields and validation

How we're using Drupal 7's advanced Form API features

Some of the interesting modules we're using

Published in: Technology, Education
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  • \n
  • the phrase just feels dirty, doesn’t it?\n"Students' Society of the Educational Institute Roughly Bounded by Peel, Penfield, University, Sherbrooke, and Mac Campus," or SSTEIRBBPPUSAMC\n\nBusiness Problem\nReasons for Choosing Drupal 7\nOur Team\nOverview of our solution\nCustom functionality\nModules used\n--\n\n
  • Legacy application has outdated, confusing UI\nStrange URL\nNo header / navigation\n“Help”!\n
  • Inconsistent with McGill’s common Look & Feel \n
  • * Different faculties have different info requirements\n* Music: instrument, audition schedule\n* Applying to do medical research, would require information about research areas of interest and lab experience.\n
  • Lack of Faculty/Department/Program/Major customizability of questions\n\nHardcoded PL/SQL based form, very hard to customize. \nThey need a more flexible form so that fields can be added if they receive legal requirements from the government, etc.\n
  • Paper based referee workflow\nNo standardization for referee questions.\n\nNeed: \nOnline workflow so referees can send an email instead.\n\nFlexible system so referees don't have to enter contact info repeatedly\n
  • Paper-based evaluation system for university administrators.\n\nEvaluations forms passed between departments and the administration.\n\nSlows down the admissions process\n\nStudents don't hear back until it's too late. Losing students to institutions that respond sooner.\n
  • Need to provide a UI for students, admins, but store data in the proprietary backend system.\n
  • Quebec: Need a fully bilingual UI\n
  • Why Drupal?\n
  • Good fit:\n* Admin flexibility, UI for content management \n* Workflows\n* Field management\nMultilingual support is a key factor\n
  • Drupal Community\nDrupal is popular with universities\nPossibility of sharing of tools developed\n\nMention blog post about Canadian universities using Drupal: http://evolvingweb.ca/story/universities-canada-using-drupal\n\n
  • Consistent with organization's overall website\nOrganization has people trained in Drupal\nMultilingual support is key\nCompatible with other admin tools (GPA calculator)\n
  • Why Drupal 7?\n\nMore flexibility than Drupal 6\nEntities make it more like a framework\nLaunch not until September 2012, so lots of time for testing, for modules to get upgraded\nMostly custom (DX vs D7CX)\nPlus, we were eager to build Drupal 7 sites\n
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  • 1 technical lead\n1 project manager\n1 front-end developer\n4 developers\n\nAKA WHY EVOLVING WEB\n6 recent McGill grads + Tavish\npassion for good web usability\nprevious work with McGill - course calendar\n
  • PMO office - JS KD\nGPS - MQ\nISR - VC Colin A\nCCS - MS AL\n
  • Going live: Fall 2012\nCone of uncertainty - drives phases & sprints within phases\n
  • \n
  • Drupal login\n
  • Applicants choose a curriculum\n
  • Improvements to the application form fields.\n
  • \n
  • Custom fields and validation\n
  • Custom form steps \n
  • Custom fields and validation\n
  • Custom fields and validation\n
  • Administrators have to be able to customize the form.\n
  • Architecture Question Bank\n
  • Creating a question - simplified types\nNo fields vs widgets\n
  • Edit simplified settings\n
  • \n
  • \n
  • Contrib modules we used\n
  • \n
  • Drupal 7 Higher Education Case Study

    1. 1. Drupal 7 in HigherEducation Case Study Alex Dergachev Co-founder  @evolvingweb
    2. 2. Business Problem:Overhaul the Online Application process for a leadingCanadian university.
    3. 3. ERP Integration Sungard Banner / Oracle based ERP
    4. 4. Multilingual
    5. 5. Why Drupal?
    6. 6. Canadian+ Universities
    7. 7. Our approach
    8. 8. Evolving Web’s Team
    9. 9. Client’s Team
    10. 10. Project Structure• March 2011 - May 2012 • Future phases:• Completed phases: • Evaluation workflow • App Prototype (6 • Integration with: weeks) - April / May ERP, 2011 ECMS, eCommerce, • Dept. Control etc... Prototype (9 weeks) - Oct /Nov 2011 • Constant refinement
    11. 11. What we’ve done
    12. 12. Contrib Modules UsedLogintoboggan Masquerade i18n Beautytips Entity Translation Features Field validation Strongarm Date UUID References Context Behavior Weights Fieldgroup Ctools Views
    13. 13. Thank You! Alex Dergachev @evolvingweb