Drupal for Higher Education Institutions: Why It's the Top Choice

6 min
Eduard Grigalashvili
Technical Writer
Alice Raynich
EdTech Digitalisation Expert

Proper remote learning management is a major challenge for educational organizations. Considering that millions of students across the globe have to attend classes from the comfort of their homes, higher education institutions require a strong digital presence to meet their needs. Drupal for higher education—is the main topic of today's article. In the following paragraphs, we'll discuss why higher education organizations rely on Drupal for their education efforts.

Based on published data, 7% of the top 10,000 websites use Drupal, with around 46,350 Drupal modules available for free download as functionality extensions. Thanks to its valuable features, this CMS provides educational instructions with a good platform to work with when it comes to student management.

According to Drupal Groups, some of the most prolific organizations, such as Oxford University, MIT, Stanford University, and UCLA, rely on Drupal in their education efforts. The CMS can provide your institution with a combination of time-efficient, cost-effective, and user-friendly features meant to make the students’ learning easier and more engaging. Let’s take a closer look at what Drupal can do for your school or university and how you can benefit from using it.

Benefits of Drupal for Educational Websites

So what are the main benefits of Drupal for educational organizations? Let's discuss them below

Scalability & Affordability

As we’ve mentioned briefly, Drupal CMS is highly flexible in regards to the modules you can integrate into it. Given the open-source nature of these modules, the Drupal community continually provides new extensions for public use.

These modules often come free of charge and can be used to enhance your students’ experience. You can easily scale your school’s platform up or down depending on how complex the learning, testing, and grading operations are. That's one of the reasons why Drupal is a great CMS for higher education.

Extensive Multiplatform Support

Students are used to relying on their smartphones and tablets daily – why not meet them halfway? Drupal is designed with native multiplatform support in mind, meaning that it can be used properly across different screen sizes and platforms.

This is a great time- and cost-saving factor, which should be taken into consideration by educational institutions considering Drupal as their go-to option. Teachers can send learning materials, test students, or even set up an autoresponder for their student group to create an accessible and dynamic experience. 

User-Friendly Content Management

Once your content management system is set up, you want to make sure that your teachers can easily manage their courses and content autonomously. This is what makes Drupal a great choice for schools, universities, and other higher education organizations since teachers can be educated on how to use it quite quickly. 

Editing modules such as WYSIWYG can help teachers insert and edit study materials for student groups efficiently and without additional tools required to do so. Given its multiplatform support, teachers can also upload and manage their content through various devices and engage students whenever it is convenient for them.

International Localization Opportunities

Depending on the type of educational institution, international language support may be necessary for effective teaching. This is also where Drupal shines, as it offers native multilingual support for schools to build their platforms with. Not only can educational institutes create custom content types but they can also translate it into several languages, which makes Drupal the best CMS for international organizations.

This is extremely useful given the current social distancing and travel restriction norms, which forbid many students from visiting their campuses.

Flexible Integration of Third-Party Tools & Platforms

Educational institutions that dabble in IT, design, and other creative professions will often require the use of additional platforms and tools during their teaching process. Additionally, some schools might want to use Drupal CMS to manage more than just learning and opt to micromanage different aspects of school management instead. 

Drupal provides extensive support for a variety of additional platforms which can seamlessly become a part of your CMS stack going forward. Platforms such as Mail Chimp can thus be integrated into your CMS to allow for a plethora of new student management possibilities.

Top-Notch Data Security Features

Another reason to choose Drupal for higher education is its top-notch security. Protecting your students’ and teachers’ personal information is crucial for the continued success of any educational institution. Drupal is far less prone to hacking and malware intrusions than its contemporaries due to its open-source development. The CMS offers a plethora of security features such as user access control, database encryption, and malicious data entry prevention.

New fixes and security patches are delivered constantly, making data security a non-issue for site owners who build their digital strategy with Drupal. As such, it is one of the very few free CMS platforms with near-enterprise level security, making it ideal for organizations with tight budgets.

Dedicated Educational Institutions Support

As we’ve mentioned, Drupal is an open-source CMS solution available to anyone willing to learn how to use it. This has given rise to groups that specialize in different subsections and applications of Drupal. One such group is dedicated to educational institutions to give teachers insight into how to use Drupal effectively.

Teachers and developers in charge of maintaining Drupal for universities can use these and other groups to inquire about how to use the platform effectively. If you are inclined, you can also pitch in with your ideas, modules, and even conferences or discussions about Drupal in education. This makes the CMS very community-based and allows for a much more personalized and user-friendly usage experience compared to others on the market.

Multi Website Management Features

Finally, depending on the scale of your educational institution and whether you belong to a larger university network, you may want to consider using Drupal. This CMS offers extensive multi-domain management features through its dedicated modules, allowing you to work with multiple websites from a single access point.

You can create dedicated websites for your public school presentation, student testing, student learning, etc. Creating sister domains and websites under Drupal is convenient and simple, allowing different departments, courses, and student groups to have their own sites. This can declutter your CMS and allow for much-needed breathing room between teachers and their study modules, so make sure to consider it.

Examples of Higher Education Websites That Use Drupal CMS

Higher education and Drupal go hand in hand. To illustrate this, we would like to showcase multiple websites that rely on this content management system:

  • George Washington University. George Washington University is one of the top universities known for producing some great leaders in every domain. The organization relies on Drupal's multisite functionality to create solutions optimized for different student needs. Drupal allows George Washington University to maintain high-level security, accessibility, and responsive web design.
  • University of Oxford. One of the most prestigious higher ed organizations also relies on Drupal to create quality multimedia content and deliver it to its international students. The University of Oxford prefers Drupal due to its open-source code, seamless integrations with third-party applications (student information systems, CRMs, learning management systems, etc.), and convenient content management features that allow content editors to create web content without effort.
  • Rutgers University. Rutgers is New Jersey’s state university and is one of the highest-ranked public universities in America with over 71,000 undergrad and grad students. The organization uses Drupal for its advanced design capabilities when creating web pages (the resulting UI is responsive and works perfectly on every device), delivering consistent user experience among their various school locations, and its top-notch security.

The Value of Using Drupal

Now you know why Drupal web development for higher education institutes is very popular.

Drupal is a highly flexible and feature-rich CMS with a wide range of modules and third-party support for your organization’s convenience. It is already in active use by some of the most prolific academic institutions out there, which illustrates its value in educational software development. Take a closer look at how Drupal can help you manage your students more easily and deliver seamless digital experiences. You will quickly discover the depth of this unique CMS and the wonders of the many contributed modules developed by a passionate community of like-minded developers.

Need a hand with Drupal development for higher education? You can always count on AnyforSoft. Drupal has been one of our primary specializations for over 12 years, so we can create solutions of any complexity. We offer high-quality university websites, helping our customers succeed in digital transformation. Contact us today and tell us about your project.

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