Following the recent announcement of An open source Drupal distribution for higher education by Acquia, we decided to review it and provide some feedback.
RedyHost as reliable hosting platform
TrueCMS has been in the openSource market for the last ten years, with the major focus on Drupal development, training and hosting management services. As a managed Drupal services provider, we see a big opportunity for packaging Drupal into fit-for-purpose distribution, like OpenEDU.
About Acquia Lightning distribution
In the last few months, we’ve been using Acquia Lightning distribution, bringing great stability and all the essential tools that every CMS needs. OpenEDU is a pre-configured Drupal 8 implementation specifically built for with the needs of Higher Education in mind.
According to ImageX website [http://imagexmedia.com/drupal-featured-distribution-openedu] (the company that rebuilt the OpenEDU in Drupal 8), OpenEDU is a powerful Drupal-based framework originally built on Drupal 7. The first implementation of OpenEDU was on the Portland State University website in 2010. Over the last 6 years it has been used to implement almost 50 university websites across North America and since the official release on Drupal.org in 2016, OpenEDU has had over 4,500 downloads. Fast forward to 2017 and OpenEDU is getting ready for an upgrade.
About OpenEDU distribution
OpenEDU is a pre-configured Drupal 8 implementation specifically built with the needs of higher education in mind. It helps accelerate development of sites by providing a “kickstart” set of features. OpenEDU provides the base platform for educational websites and then allows for customization as needed for organisations’ specific situation.
Components of OpenEDU
To review the features of OpenEDU, we have installed this composer-based CMS in our systems: https://openedu.truecms.com.au
CMS: Drupal 8 (based on the Acquia Lightning distribution)
Extending complexity: easy-to-medium. Composer based.
composer required drupal/modulename
Installation complexity: easy-to-medium. It requires SSH access and some tools pre-installed. At the minimum level, it requires composer. To install the OpenEDU via SSH, drush needs to be installed first and executed from an account with full privilege set for MySQL (allowing to create a database, a user and grant privileges).
OpenEDU uses Drupal Features module to activate the necessary components and import some test content. The distribution comes with full set of documentation pages available https://www.drupal.org/docs/8/modules/openedu
What ca the eye first is the look and feel of the theme. Out of the box, OpenEDU uses the eye-catching OpenEDU 8.x theme.
The following components are available out of the box:
- Pre-built components for Programs, Courses & Profiles
- Content workflows & governance
- Easy-to-use, responsive layouts
- News publishing
- Powerful admin & user options
Of course, the underlying Drupal 8 CMS allows full customisation of sites using OpenEDU.
Homepage of OpenEDU
The home page uses Landing page content type and consist of a number of custom blocks. Each block is editable using the Drupal 8’s new in-place editing UI.
Pages, bundled with OpenEDU default distro
Standard page layout
The News listing page provides nice filtering functionality, allowing your students to search news by a keyword or news category
The page is nicely laid out into showing single featured news article at the top of the page, following by older news listing
The Directory allows display of Personnel, with useful filtering options.
The program is a custom content type targeting creation and display of learning programs.
The form is nicely separated into a number of vertical tabs, making Program management easy.
Program title and body
Program Grid Block
Program. Faculty view
The team at ImageX did a very good job at packaging OpenEDU distribution. Considering the underlying Acquia Lightning distro, it makes OpenEDU a very strong candidate for a CMS for educational institutions in Australia.
Get in touch to learn more about OpenEDU
Organisations wishing to learn more about OpenEDU, contact us to discuss your opportunities.