Drupal is a popular portalware of the C3MS or CMS variety. It is used to build all sorts of educational websites, including teaching platforms. Similar systems discussed in this Wiki are Joomla and PostNuke.
Purpose and features
According to the About Drupal page (retrieved 18:36, 11 May 2007 (MEST)) “ Drupal is a free software package that allows an individual or a community of users to easily publish, manage and organize a wide variety of content on a website. Tens of thousands of people and organizations have used Drupal to power scores of different web sites, including Community web portals, Discussion sites, Corporate web sites, Intranet applications, Personal web sites or blogs, Aficionado sites, E-commerce applications, Resource directories, Social Networking sites.”
The built-in functionality, combined with dozens of freely available add-on modules, will enable features such as:
- Content management systems
- Collaborative authoring environments (i.e. it is a collaborative writing tool.
- Peer-to-peer networking
- Picture galleries
- File uploads and downloads
... and much more.
- Content in Drupal is created in individual "nodes". For nodes of type "story", users can add comments to the node (comments themselves are not considered nodes). Depending on site settings, adding new nodes and/or posting comments might or might not be allowed. Also, nodes or comments might require approval from the moderators before the node or comment is displayed. (Drupal terminology, retrieved 18:36, 11 May 2007 (MEST))
Drupal's basic set of note types include ():
- Blog Entry
- Drupal blogs have typical functionality of blogware
- Book Page
- Book pages are designed to be part of a collaborative book. An example of a collaborative book is the Drupal developer documentation. All node types can be part of a book.
- Comments actually aren't nodes, they are their own special content type. Comments are what allow people to add comments to any other node that has been created.
- Forums are sets of nodes and their comments. These are grouped together as belonging in one forum by assigning them the forum name, which is a taxonomy term. These forum names can be grouped in forum containers, which are other terms, of which they are children in a hierarchical vocabulary which is called "forums", and configured as only applicable to nodes of the "forum" type.
- Pages are simple nodes, typically used for static content that can (but are not required to) be linked into the main navigation bar
- A poll is where a multiple choice question is asked and users can answer and see other peoples answers to questions.
- Story pages are news engine entries. Stories are generally used for information which is only relevant for a period of time (eg. news stories) and is expected to expire off of the page.
Many other node types are included by [ contributed modules].
Websites for educators and researchers
Drupal is very popular in education (all levels) to build community web sites within which members can post news, share resources or collaborate in other ways. Examples:
- Learning Networks (R&D in Learning Design)
- Council of Writing Program Administrators
- Kairosnews (Community of members interested in the intersections of rhetoric and pedagogy with technology)
- EdTech tools and Opinion for Educators (Blog)
- Fab Central at MIT, an online community for inventors, artists and digital fabricators.
- FreeTeach.com Community of teachers for lesson plans, worksheets, and teaching ideas.
There are dozens more ...
While Drupal as platform for education-related websites doesn't come as a surprise, using Drupal instead of a learning management system is a more interesting topic. We believe that drupal is good platform to implement project-oriented learning designs. Typically, a teacher (and not the institution) will run the platform. It's something that Daniel K. Schneider advocated in his C3MS project-based learning model (implemented a few years ago with PostNuke).
- Archive of Welcome to English 420S (Distance Learning), Purdue University
- Maxetom Integrates educational on-line multimedia applications. “ Maxetom propose aux enfants des coloriages en ligne qui leur feront découvrir les couleurs en espagnol ou en anglais.”
Typically, a teacher (or an organization) will design a custom environment to support various kinds of learning activities. One way to think about this, was presented in 2004 in the TECFA SEED Catalog. There is also a TECFA SEED Catalog version in this wiki and that will be updated a bit in some nearer future - Daniel K. Schneider 11:10, 1 June 2007 (MEST).
Links and resource management
- Drupal should install without problems on a LAMP or WAMP system. So install Apache/MySQL/Php first. In case you just want to play, I recommend WOS, a free WAMP distribution that runs on a memory stick and that includes a Drupal (optional module) !
Drupal is open-source software distributed under the GPL ("General Public License") and is maintained and developed by a community of thousands of users and developers.
Drupal is ready to go from the moment you download it. It even has an easy-to-use web installer. However, a typical educator probably would like to download and install third-party modules.
- Download page. (includes core system and modules).
A group of people (including Bill Fitzgerald) released an educational package (not tested yet).
“ DrupalEd is a powerful open source content management system with the power to support the e-learning needs of large educational institutions. It is also easy enough to install and use for individual teachers/professors to implement in their own classes (for teachers who would like to abandon BlackBoard, sans IT Department backing)” ().
Other extensions of interest to education
- Tutorial on the installation of Drupal avec Lamp/Wamp/Mamp (en anglais)
- Drupal Home
- Drupal sites.net
- Reviews and analysis on the Drupal website
- Choosing a platform for the telecentre.org distributed net
- Drupal and the New Paradigm for Content Management
- Drupal Themes
- drupal.org/project/Themes - Drupal Themes at drupal.org
- Drupal Theme Garden - Drupal Themes Showcase (live preview of Drupal Themes)
- A comparison of Drupal and Joomla Which is the best for You?
- Drupal Performance Tuning and Optimization for large web sites. A series of articles a 2BITS.
- There are many books about Drupal. See Books about Drupal.
- Albion, Peter (2005) 'Designing for an online doctoral studies community using an open source platform.' In: Crawford, C. and Carlsen, R. and Gibson, I. and McFerrin, K. and Price, J. and Weber, R. and Willis, D. A., (ed.). Proceedings of the 16th International Conference of the Society for Information Technology in Teacher Education, Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, pp. 2138-2143. Abstract/HTML/PDF
- Norma, David Kent Distance Education Development And Delivery Tools (found with google scholar, no refs ..)
- Schneider Daniel; Mourad Chakroun, Pierre Dillenbourg, Catherine Frété, Fabien Girardin, Stéphane Morand, Olivier Morel and Paraskevi Synteta, (2004) TECFA Seed Catalog, unpublished, PDF