By: Akshita
May 11 2017

Why Drupal Is Your Best Bet For Your Educational Site

Across the world, Drupal has gained the reputation of being technically advanced yet cost-effective. It’s large community which calls itself Drupalites, are spread around the world working on the constant evolution of Drupal as a CMS software and also help resolve issues related to Drupal.

Across globe many prestigious higher education institutions trust Drupal and use it for their websites, universities like Harvard University, Stanford University, Yale, and Cambridge are just few example to look up to.

Managing any institute’s digital presence while maintaining all the standards across the web is a humongous job. Drupal’s popularity in .edu sites is primarily because it provides quintessential features and modules to meet the substantial demands and its various features make content management more systematic making it perfect match for .edu sites. The newest launch of Drupal 8 brings with it even better and modified tools, extensions & modules to satisfy the growing demands of the educational sector.

Following are descriptions of some of the modules Drupal 8 provides which makes it just impossible to ignore Drupal.

  • Quick Edits(Drupal is a good manager):  It has easy to use modules which make it very convenient to use. Be it any minor or a last minute change in event locations, date, or place everything can be used and managed quickly by any novice, with the use of Drupal. Under existing modules (such as CKEditor and Media management) changes like these can be done easily, saving a lot of time and energy.
     
  • Content and User access control: With Content and User Access Control, site administrators can create new content and divide roles and functions which remove extra burden from one person. Also ‘permission access’ can be assigned to the divided group of admins as well as users making it less cumbersome when involving admin/user access. The domain access module enables sharing content across multiple sites quickly, allowing admins to share configuration settings and users among various college or university portals. ((So you are not just connected with users of your site but also with universities which use Drupal.))
     
  • Improved loading Speed: A fast website is one of the key elements of a good user experience and also site speed is one of the key factors in SEO for organic ranking. Drupal 8 has brought in such architectural changes which makes is much faster. 
     
  • Security: It is true that .edu sites are more vulnerable to hacking. But Drupal is widely used by many international universities including Harvard University, Stanford University, and Cambridge, because Drupal provides best security extensions available and being an Open Source Software, it is generally more secure as it has a community which updates it frequently with more and better security modules and continuously works on updating any vulnerabilities. Even if you ever get stuck with some technical snag, Drupal’s large community support is always ready to help you. It's security team is highly responsive and sends frequent security fixes for all actively maintained versions.
     
    1. Security Working Group: Drupal’s Open-source basics give it a possibility that it is updated frequently with more and better security modules. It’s team ‘Security Working Group’ (SecWG) ensures that Drupal core and Drupal's contributed project ecosystem provides you with world-class security.
       
    2. Security Extensions: There are a number of security extensions for Drupal to make your content more secure. Even though the core Drupal is secure but constant threat by brute hackers might make it vulnerable. Thus, it is very important to have a proper testing.
       
  • Community Support: Drupal being open source has a large community. One can connect with Drupal community groups around the world, and can easily search the issues, queue for questions and answers related to institutes of higher education. Following are some of the groups:
    1. Drupal Group: Higher Education
    2. Drupal Group: Drupal In Education
    3. Drupal Group: Drupal For K-12 Schools
    4. Drupal Group: Higher Education Europe
    5. Drupal Group: Open Data In Education
    6. Drupal Group: ELMS
    7. Drupal Group: LMS (Learning Management System)
    8. Stanford Web Services Blog
    9. Edu Drupal Unconsortium
       
  • Mobile Friendly: Today approx to 3.2 billion population around the world uses a smartphone. (https://www.statista.com/statistics/330695/number-of-smartphone-users-worldwide/ ) and mobile penetration is increasing with each passing day, thus making it necessary to have mobile compatible websites. Drupal 8 is mobile first. While many CMS promise of being mobile-friendly all they are is just a shrunken version of their web page which make things incomprehensible. 

    Things are easier to create and customize and such applications can be easily installed on almost all mobile devices making .edu sites available almost everywhere.
     
  • 20,000 and more Themes: First impression is the last impression. For an impressive site it is necessary that we choose the right theme, colour and font which would make our website more appealing. Drupal offers easy to use modules with more than 20k themes which you can use to make your webpage look better and unique. Unlike many CMS software you don’t need to pay anything to use any of the themes.
     
  • Multi-site Approach: With institutes now focusing on holistic development of students, often comes the demand from different departments/societies for a sister domain. Such multi-site management needs are common for institutions of higher education.
    Drupal’s flexibility means effective content management with content affiliation across websites.
     
  • Language Support: Drupal 8 is now available in over 110 languages. Some of them being ---among other international languages which makes it easier for students from different countries to access the content of the site.  Thus, it is easier to connect to larger masses in the language of the preference of the student.
     
  • Easier for announcements/Cases: Every year in eight column headlines, we see how admissions can become a pain for both institutions and students. Be it nursery admissions or college, admissions often put the authorities in a tizzy due to lot of paperwork. Drupal 8 provides various modules which help (Technical terms)Filling forms or publishing results of selected candidates through websites, things are easier with Drupal CMS software.
     
  • Distribution: The multi-site capability helps institutions break out independent websites by giving control and ownership to individual departments. Some Drupal modules work best with distributions (like Open Atrium) and allow you to build intranets for any educational institution.
     
  • Reliable & Stats: Used across world by famous universities, Drupal is trusted by 28% of all .edu sites worldwide. 7 out of Top 10 international universities use Drupal. This makes a convincing argument for rating Drupal as the most trusted platform for education websites.
     
  • Cost Effective & Licensing: After offering all this Drupal, being an Open Software system charges nothing. Unlike with its competitors, in Drupal you don’t pay anything for any upgrade plan either. For any upgrades you just download the latest version and it is done. Drupal comes under General Public License and thus one can display, copy, modify, and use Drupal for free of cost. Thus, one can say that with Drupal it is possible to get more and more through less and less.

Drupal is used by 7 out of 10 top universities and educational institutions around the world. This makes a good point for ranking Drupal as a strong CMS  for education websites. It's preferred most for .edu websites by hundreds of institutions around the globe because of its robust framework and it assists and fulfills all present and future needs of such sites.

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Akshita
Akshita handles Content & Marketing at OpenSense Labs. She likes to devour content related to SEO, open source technologies and politics besides Drupal, of course. As a hobby, she trains young girls with TaeKwondo.
She is also a big Game of Thrones fan and quotes Tyrion atleast 5 times a day.