Using Drupal in higher education has been a popular choice among leading schools. It's become the preferred website platform for hundreds of institutions of higher learning around the world. Schools like Harvard University, Stanford Law School, Duke University, Brown University, Rutgers University, University of Oxford, University of Prince Edward Island, Karlstad University, Zaman University, Bentley University, Uncommon Schools, University of Waterloo, and Yale have chosen Drupal as their preferred content management framework because it best supports current and future needs of students, faculty, alumni, and their communities.
In short, Drupal has proven these top schools that it serves higher education website needs. Here are some specific reasons why it’s best for your school.
Most universities and colleges maintain multi-faceted websites, ones that serve a broad range of purposes. By leveraging Drupal’s built-in multi-site functionality, institutions provide their departments with a substantial toolbox and relevant media types for communicating with students, staff, and other users via a single system.
This multi-site capability helps institutions break out independent websites by giving control and ownership to individual departments. This control structure significantly reduces administrative overhead from the IT office. SomeDrupal in higher education distributions like Open Atrium allow you to build intranets for any educational institution.
According to an eMarketer study, an estimated 90 percent of US college students will own a smartphone by the time they graduate in 2016. Now with Drupal 8, academic centers can easily use Drupal in higher education to stay up-to-date and relevant to users by delivering smoother, responsive website experiences out of the box.
Experiences from each user’s device of choice. Drupal sites adapt to user evolutions, making it optimal for institutions with student demographics. It’ll also be easier for admins to manage content with a dashboard (one that’s responsive and mobile ready out of the box as well).
Drupal’s Workflow modules and features set allow universities and colleges to control and manage the publication process actually, without limiting its use as a mere content management tool. There’s granular control available for every content operation.
At each step, employees can be notified to complete their tasks (like editing). This control keeps team members from performing tasks out of order and keep projects moving forward.
With Content and User Access Control, site administrators can create privileges grouped together by access level, function, and role. These permission sets can be assigned to groups of users rather than manually granting privileges to each and every user. Permission sets help decentralize task responsibilities like creating, editing, and managing content, all without putting extra workload on your IT hub.
These Drupal in higher education access control features are exceptionally handy on university websites where professors, students, alumni, and site visitors require unique user experiences and different access rights. The domain access module enables sharing content across multiple sites quickly, allowing site owners to share configuration settings and users among various college or university portals.
5. Multilingual Awesomeness
With Drupal 8 now available in over 110 languages, you can have your site available in almost any language that your student demographic needs. This feature allows decision makers to take into account: international student associations, global event communications, foci of studies, and more.
Drupal’s taxonomy system is a robust method for classifying website content into groups. Taxonomy systems can be designed and deployed on a per-content basis.
This system ensures extremely efficient content categorization on the site, resulting in ease of access for site visitors or users. Through taxonomy usage, only relevant content is delivered to site visitors; this avoids distractions and simplifies navigation.
Apart from forward-facing content—static pages, forums, course schedules, blogs, and articles—Drupal provides powerful collaboration features and document management for back-end users. These systems are not typically part of the public front-end but are critical for faculty and students who require access to manuals, handbooks, procedural guides, and research documents. Because of its tools for collaboration, Drupal is a prime system for supporting internal teams and research for university and college websites.
Most higher education institutions have existing authentication systems for email or other internal accounts. With Drupal using LDAP and CAS, single sign-on for academic websites are easily doable. These single point access integrations result in a secure environment for users who want multiple resources and services via a single login.
9. Community Support for Drupal in Higher Education
IT movers and doers can connect with Drupal community groups around the world, and can easily search the issue queue for questions and answers related to institutes of higher education. Some community group examples are:
- Drupal Group: Higher Education
- Drupal Group: Drupal in Education
- Drupal Group: Drupal for K-12 Schools
- Drupal Group: Higher Education Europe
- Drupal Group: Open Data in Education
- Drupal Group: ELMS
- Drupal Group: LMS (Learning Management System)
- Stanford Web Services Blog
- Edu Drupal Unconsortium
10. Social Media & Email Campaigns
Drupal’s integrated capabilities make engagement easier. From email marketing services like MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc. to higher ed social media campaigns launched via Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest modules, and more.
11. Drupal's Multisite Approach
Multisite management needs are common for institutions of higher ed. Different departments or student initiatives often require sister domains. Drupal’s flexibility means effective content storage for each website. Sharing different site content can be done with the Domain Access module, allowing configuration, user, and content settings to be managed between or across sites.
12. Quick Edits
Drupal sites for institutions of higher education provide an editing fast track. School event location changes, cancelations, and more can be managed quickly by a novice. With CKEditor, creating media rich content is simple and time saving. Media management is simplified by the Media Module in Drupal, it helps embed files in your post, makes files fieldable, enabling the use of text fields to store captions on images, taxonomy fields for audio file genres, etc.
13. Security Reasons
College sites are often targeted, which drives higher ed decision makers to choose their digital platform wisely. Open Source Software (OSS) is generally more secure than proprietary software, and Drupal is no exception. Drupal's security team is highly responsive and sends frequent security fixes for all actively maintained versions—all security fixes are logged.
14. 400+ Experienced Vendors With Drupal In Higher Education
Colleges and universities have many vendors to choose from. And we’re in the top 10.
Article originally published on December 3, 2015 and has been updated.