by Elliot Christenson on September 6, 2016 - 8:46pm

School has just started for many of your children. It may be starting for you too!

I start tomorrow: as an instructor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. My mind is all full of anxiety as I try to guess the level of knowledge of the large (25 plus a waiting list) class. I'm also excited to bring Drupal into the classroom.

At myDropWizard, we supply support and maintenance for several world-class universities, so I know Drupal is no stranger to the world of "higher-ed". There are also Higher Ed sessions at Drupalcon and most DrupalCamps!

Higher-Ed Chooses Drupal for many reasons:

Free "As In Beer"

Cost is always an issue in education. If you can get a free solution that works as well as anything costing thousands of dollars or more, it's a win!

Multi-User

At its core as the world's most powerful content-management system, Drupal is multi-user. Multiple users can update parts of the website simultaneously. More important to larger institutions like higher-ed - they can have varying permission levels. This ganularity is common within Drupal, so most modules and development takes this into account.

Flexible

Thousands of (again free) modules that add functionality. Other platforms pride themselves on paid plug-ins. In the Drupal world, we believe modules that are usable by many should be used by many. We tend to make them free!

Free "As In Speech"

Institutions can use it however and for whatever reasons they want. They can tune it, replicate it, create distributions of their own - whatever they need to get the job done on time and under budget!

Speaking of Free "As In Speech"

While there are dozens of other compelling reasons to choose Drupal it's this last part - the free "as in speech" idea - that initially attracted me to Drupal a decade ago. It's also what is convincing me that I need to bring Drupal beyond running the website for universities - but into a core Computer Science class. I'm instructing "Intro to Computing and Internet", and I think Drupal has much to offer from a Computer Science point of view.

The way I "think" in Drupal - in terms of Content, Content Types, Views, UI - these are all core computer science concepts. While Drupal, of course, is far more powerful than the sum of these concepts, it will give students the opportunity to see a real-world example of Open Source that functions.

It will depend upon the desire and initiative of the students to a certain degree, but maybe we'll even create some new modules!

Open to Your Feedback

Have you been in a class where Drupal has been used? Have you led a class where you used Drupal as part of the curriculum? Or, are there ways you'd love to see Drupal integrated into a computer science class? I'd love to hear from you. Ideas, tips, pit-falls!

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Comments

I would like to add Drupal modules to my academy we offer C & C++ Certification. I am based in South Africa in Soweto.
Please provide me your stand number at DrupalCon Dublin.

Drupal Module Development would be an excellent course to add. Unfortunately, other than involvement in a few specific projects, I don't have much more information to give you towards that. myDropWizard focuses solely on providing Support and Maintenance for Drupal 6, 7, and 8. Module Development is largely out of the scope of our offerings.

As for DrupalCon, we won't be at Dublin, but we plan on being in Baltimore. I'm also likely to be at BADCamp. Hope to see you there!

I used to support Drupal for Oregon State University. Now I am retired but teach a class for our local community college on Web Content Management Systems. We do a brief overview of Wordpress and Joomla, and then dive into Drupal for about 8 weeks.

Thanks,
Paul Lieberman
Corvallis, OR

Eight weeks is impressive! I'm hoping to just get in 2-3 weeks, but I think working in groups we might be able to get some student submissions into some Drupal related projects! I think promoting and improving open source software is a perfect thing for the classroom!

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