Drupal and Higher Education


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In this session we’ll take a look at 7 unique higher education case studies showcasing the diversity of Drupal solutions in the .edu space. The case studies show Drupal as a solution for everything from departmental web presences to university wide web publishing solutions and learning management systems. Culled from interviews with university IT teams across the country from private to public both large and small, we’ll examine implementation choices, lessons learned and the business reasons that made Drupal the right choice.


We'll identify the top issues facing Higher Education and how Drupal can help address them.

We'll take a look at seven case studies of Drupal in use in higher ed:

- Drupal as Unit CMS - College of Fine Arts, UT Austin
- Drupal as Flagship - Duke University
- Drupal as Intranet - California State University, Monterey Bay
- Drupal as LMS - ELMS, Penn State University
- Drupal as Lingua Franca - Stanford University
- Drupal as University Wide Solution - Yale University
- Drupal as OOTB software - Open Academy, University of California, Berkeley

We’ll look at lessons learned and resources available to higher education Drupal implementers.

This Session has been presented at Drupal Camp UT Austin.

Published in: Technology, Education
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Drupal and Higher Education

  1. 1. Drupal and Higher EducationDavid Diers | DeveloperFour Kitchens, LLC@beautyhammer
  2. 2. Today on Drupal and Higher Ed!   Challenges: Higher Education!   Drupal Can Help: Applied solutions, 7 case studies!   Drupal Can Help: Resources and Lessons learned
  3. 3. Winter is coming (for higher ed) Finances Over budget, under funded Increased Competition Students, faculty, resources Education for All Diversity and accessibility Globalization Global education competition Regulations and Reporting New responsibilities, increased disclosure Evaluating Governance Identifying efficiencies Technology Upgrades needed across the board, greater student and faculty expectations.Highlights from ‘Making the Grade’ Deloitte 2011 & ‘Key Issues Facing HE’ Huron Consulting 2012http://www.deloitte.com/assets/Dcom-Canada/Local%20Assets/Documents/ca_en_ps_making-the-grade-2011_041811.pdfhttp://www.huronconsultinggroup.com/library/KeyIssuesFacingHE2012.pd
  4. 4. DRUPALA powerfuland flexibleopen sourceContentManagementFramework, acommunity, amovement.
  5. 5. Drupal can help higher ed Finances Increased Competition ü  Better Web Products Education for All ü  Financial Advantages GlobalizationRegulations and Reporting ü  Best of Competition and Reviewing Governance Cooperation Technology Resources ü  Globally Focused Evolving Technologies Leadership engagement ü  Standardization and Standardization Shared Competency
  6. 6. “But you don’t have to take myword for it”: Case Studies!   Drupal as Unit CMS (cofa.utexas.edu)!   Drupal as Flagship (duke.edu)!   Drupal as Intranet (csumb.edu)!   Drupal as LMS (psu.edu)!   Drupal as University Wide Solution (yale.edu)!   Drupal as OOTB software (berkeley.edu)!   Drupal as Lingua Franca (stanford.edu)
  7. 7. Case Studies Methodology!   Reached out to University or Implementing Teams!   Phone Interviews with a standard series of questions as a starting point. !  Specifically business drivers, technical drivers, and lessons learned while implementing.
  8. 8. Case Study Presentation!   For each study, we’ll establish the University context in terms of overall size, team-size, and infrastructure style.!   Look at the business and technical problems that each team was facing.!   We’ll look at the solution and talk about the ways each solution meets those needs.!   At the end of all of the case studies we’ll take a look at lessons learned
  9. 9. Case Study: Drupal as Unit CMSCollege of Fine Arts, The University of Texas at Austin Campus Size: ~51,000 students Public or Private: Public Central or Distributed Admin Central + Distributed IT: Campus Drupal Adoption: Low to Moderate Hosting: Central and Department Case Study Team 3 FTEs Size: Internal or Vendor Team: Internal
  10. 10. Case Study: Drupal as Unit CMSThe problem:Aging College site needed redesignDeveloper maintenance was highSwitch from moderation modelHighly idiosyncratic custom code base
  11. 11. The Solution:
  12. 12. The Solution:
  13. 13. The Solution:
  14. 14. Case Study: Drupal as Unit CMSThe Solution: http://www.utexas.edu/finearts/!   Drupal based site!   Improved contributor workflows (SSO based)!   Contributors were now stewards!   Quality of site improved!   Increased in house Drupal expertise (up to 10 department and subject sites)!   Moved hosting to Central
  15. 15. Case Study: Drupal as Flagshipwww.duke.edu sites, Duke University Campus Size: ~14,700 Public or Private: Private Central or Distributed IT: Central + Distributed Campus Drupal Adoption: Moderately High Hosting: Central Case Study Team Size: 6 FTEs Internal or Vendor Internal Team:
  16. 16. Case Study: Drupal asFlagshipThe problem:Aging sites in custom Java CMSLacked simplicity and flexibilityDid not meet clients’ content needsLacked campus integration points
  17. 17. The Solution:
  18. 18. The Solution:
  19. 19. The Solution:
  20. 20. Case Study: Drupal asFlagshipThe Solution: http://duke.edu!   Drupal based main site!   Launched audience, and subject sites (multi and single sites)!   Drew in disparate campus content!   Was flexible and extendible!   Custom static caching publishing solution!   Increased Drupal use on campus
  21. 21. Case Study: Drupal asFlagship! http://doteduguru.com/id4828-how-duke-university- is-using-drupal.html
  22. 22. Case Study: Drupal as Intranet myCSUMB, California State University Monterey Bay Campus Size: ~5,100 Public or Private: Public Central or Distributed IT: Central IT Campus Drupal Adoption: Very High Hosting: Central Case Study Team Size: 3 FTEs Internal or Vendor Internal Team:
  23. 23. Case Study: Drupal as IntranetThe problem:!   Existing vendor intranet had usability issues!   The recently adopted Google Apps needed sso and collaboration integration! Peoplesoft SIS integration needed!   Replacement needs depth to handle many advanced and university specific use cases.!   Limited developer resources
  24. 24. The Solution:
  25. 25. The Solution:
  26. 26. The Solution:
  27. 27. Case Study: Drupal as IntranetThe Solution: MyCSUMB – an Intranet in Drupal built with theOpen Atrium distributionHighly customizable student focused intranet.!   #1 visited on campus, #2 is myscumb/students!   Organic Groups for Apps collaboration with hand-rolled SSO!   Utilized Drupal expertise and comfort of IT Team!   Restful API to Peoplesoft for better user facing SIS!   Integrated OLARK Supporthttp://denver2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/open-atrium-dot-edu-open-atrium-campus-intranet
  28. 28. Case Study: Drupal as LMSELMS, Penn State University Campus Size: ~45,200 Public or Private: Public Central or Distributed IT: Central & Distributed IT Campus Drupal Moderate, growing Adoption: Hosting: Central Hosting Case Study Team Size: 2 FTEs Internal or Vendor Internal Team:
  29. 29. Case Study: Drupal as LMSThe problem:!   Space limitations of LMS hamstrung portfolio based courses!   It’s not that LMS is broken industry wide, but content IS broken in LMS.!   Cost, usability and LMS competitive flattening are driving interest in open source LMS products.!   Solution needed to integrate with existing LMS
  30. 30. The Solution:
  31. 31. The Solution:
  32. 32. The Solution:
  33. 33. Case Study: Drupal as LMSThe Solution: ELMSDrupal based Learning Management System distribution!   Sidecars the LMS!   Follows a fragmentation approach – Drupal does best.!   Includes Open Studio!   Used by many colleges on PSU and system campuses
  34. 34. Case Study: Drupal as LMS! http://btopro.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/ structured-anarchy/! http://btopro.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/ decoupling-for-maximal-impact/! http://drupal.org/project/elms | http://www.youtube.com/user/psuelms
  35. 35. Case Study: Drupal as web publishingYale.edu sites, Yale University Campus Size: ~11,600 Public or Private: Private Central or Distributed IT: Central IT Campus Drupal Adoption: High Hosting: Central Case Study Team Size: 7-8 FTEs Internal or Vendor Vendor - Four Kitchens Team:
  36. 36. Case Study: Drupal as webpublishingThe problem:!   Yale sought to standardize on a CMS for about 7-8 yrs, finally selected Drupal, now what?!   Yale needed training!   Needed hosting and deployment to conform to existing skillsets!   Needed to hide back-end complexity from front end users!   Needed SSO!   Wanted to standardize and reclaim efficiency!   Needed to scale (1000s of sites) and be flexible
  37. 37. The Solution:
  38. 38. The Solution:
  39. 39. Central Request Moderation
  40. 40. Case Study: Drupal as webpublishingThe Solution: http://yale.edu http://drupal.yale.eduUniversity wide Drupal solution with a sustainable and secureprovisioning, deployment and site maintenance infrastructuresystem!   Integrated!   SSO Integration!   Features based functionality packages – deployed via Drush!   Brand standardization and customization!   Leveraged existing skills for deployment and hosting!   Flexible code based workflow to deploy, rollback, and reuse!   Have weekly Drupal Drop In training session to assist campus knowledge.
  41. 41. Case Study: Drupal as webpublishinghttp://groups.drupal.org/node/68603http://fourkitchens.com/projects/yale-university
  42. 42. Case Study: Drupal as OOTBOpen Academy, The University of California Berkeley Campus Size: ~35,800 Public or Private: Public Central or Central & Distributed IT: Distributed IT: Campus Drupal Dominant Product of Choice Adoption: Central & Vendor Hosting: Vendor – Chapter III & Internal or Vendor Pantheon Team:
  43. 43. Case Study: Drupal as OOTBThe problem:Provost level initiative to reduce cost.Internalized at central IT as:!   Reducing spending on hosting!   Reduce spending on apps.!   Offer cost savings in level of effort!   Custom Drupal often incurred high costs
  44. 44. The Solution:
  45. 45. The Solution:
  46. 46. The Solution:
  47. 47. Case Study: Drupal as OOTBThe Solution: Open Academy + Pantheon hosting http://oa.dev:8888/Drupal based academic specific distribution paired with off-site best ofbreed Drupal hosting.!   Open Academy is built strong out of the box –Launched 100 sites in just 5 months!   Meets many academic specfic use cases by design!   Reduces barriers in creation, content contribution, extension, and maintenance.!   Strong contributor experience built on Integration, extendibility and easy prototyping!   In addition to cost savings it provides standardization in presentation and branding!   Responsive
  48. 48. Case Study: Drupal as OOTB!   http://drupal.org/project/openacademy! http://denver2012.drupal.org/program/sessions/ open-academy-higher-education-drupal-product- departmental-websites
  49. 49. Case Study: Drupal as Lingua FrancaDrupal adoption at Stanford University Campus Size: ~15,300 Public or Private: Private Central or Distributed IT: Central & Some Distribution Campus Drupal Adoption: Platform of Choice Hosting: Central, & Vendor Case Study Team Size: n/a Internal or Vendor n/a Team:
  50. 50. Case Study: Drupal as LinguaFrancaWhat Happened: Seven Steps to Drupal1.  Campus mySQL2.  Establish user helping user precedent3.  Central IT will follow its customers4.  Centralized Training (starting w/ advanced)5.  Centralized theme helped lower design costs and increased standardization6.  Drupal Events7.  Web Auth Integrationhttps://techcommons.stanford.edu/node/131
  51. 51. Drupal Adoption Gone Wild!!!
  52. 52. Drupal Community
  53. 53. Case Study: Drupal as LinguaFrancaWorking with Vendors:!   5 years ago – vendor relationships was wild west!!   Zach Chandler used his 10% time to set up a Drupal consultancy inside.!   Selection became rigorous!   Found he could create understanding about Stanford systems!   Advocates for Stanford 100% but also consultants!   Eventually– a new unit was formed, Stanford web services-!   Zach views his job as understanding the industry and projects and pairing those projects.
  54. 54. Just a drop in the bucket.!   What can we learn from all of this?!   Saw something you liked? Need Drupal Resources?
  55. 55. Lessons Learned!   Building Drupal Communities !  Go the extra mile – give a penny, take a penny !  Prepare to be an advocate/trainer!   Building Drupal Sites !  Launching your institutions’ site? Make sure it is not your first rodeo. !  Plan for long term support, don’t give someone else your nightmares
  56. 56. Lessons Learned!   Building Drupal Sites (cont.) !   Use the right tool (mycsumb) !   Drupal is like a painting, distros are like sculptures. !   Choose simple first !   Don’t be psychic about usability!   Coding !   Highly abstract for re-use !   Show people what the site does immediately !   Bring out site building beauty (by coding) !   Follow community trends, you’ll thank me.
  57. 57. Lessons Learned!   Web Projects !  Is your client really your client? !  Identify how to decouple!   Selling Drupal to Campus !  Consider the TCO of Open Source !  This is an open source platform with enterprise support !  Take a look at what your peers are doing
  58. 58. Lessons Learned!   Selling Drupal to Campus !  In Drupal – apps beget sites beget apps beget... !  Open source may not be free, but yeah, neither are vendor products
  59. 59. The more you know…*!   We are more alike than different!   “All you have to do is call” -Call your peers. No, really.!   Drupal is a community of zero to hero – give it away, it all comes back!   Win by ROI Cost, Win by usability, Win by making sense!   Success breeds Success (and comfort)
  60. 60. Drupal .edu Resources!   Campus: Drupal User Group, Drupal mailing list, and your fellow Drupal implementers!   Local: Look for or start a Drupal User Group, Drupal Dojo!   National: Drupalcamps, & Drupalcon!   Sites: Drupal.org and Groups.Drupal.org (.edu unconsortium)!   IRC #drupal-edu channel!   Your peer institutions – give them a call, they probably won’t bite (*not true during football season)
  61. 61. You’ve been a lovely audienceThank you to:Kevin Miller, Jeremy Cumbo, Sarah Heath, ZachChandler, Matt Cheney, Ryn Nasser, BryanOllendyke, Vincent MassaroQuestions, comments, follow ups:david.diers@fourkitchens.comTwitter: @beautyhammer