OpenEDU Review

OpenEDU review. What we liked about it



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

We used RedyHost as the hosting provider, setting up the Performance package.

About TrueCMS

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)
Installation: composer-based
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

OpenEDU. Program content type front-end view
OpenEDU. Program content type front-end view

OpenEDU. Homepage

OpenEDU. Top of the home page.
OpenEDU. Top of the home page.
OpenEDU. Our Difference home page block
OpenEDU. Our Difference home page block
OpenEDU. Our Stories content reference block.
OpenEDU. Our Stories content reference block.
OpenEDU. Next steps and footer block.
OpenEDU. Next steps and footer block.

Standard page layout

OpenEDU. Standard page layout
OpenEDU. Standard page layout

News listing

The News listing page provides nice filtering functionality, allowing your students to search news by a keyword or news category

OpenEDU. News listing page
OpenEDU. News listing page

The page is nicely laid out into showing single featured news article at the top of the page, following by older news listing

OpenEDU. News listing page showing featured News article, followed by the remaining News articles below
OpenEDU. News listing page showing featured News article, followed by the remaining News articles below
OpenEDU. News listing page. Search by keyword
OpenEDU. News listing page. Search by keyword

Directory View

The Directory allows display of Personnel, with useful filtering options.

OpenEDU. Directory listing view
OpenEDU. Directory listing view
OpenEDU. Directory listing view. Continuing
OpenEDU. Directory listing view. Continuing

Program

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

OpenEDU. Front-end view of node title and body text
OpenEDU. Front-end view of node title and body text

Program Grid Block

OpenEDU: Program page. Program Grid Block
OpenEDU: Program page. Program Grid Block

Program Courses

OpenEDU. Front-end view of courses
OpenEDU. Front-end view of courses

Program Stories

OpenEDU. Front-end view of Program Stories

Program. Faculty view

OpenEDU. Faculty block of a Program
OpenEDU. Faculty block of a Program

Conclusion

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.

Tags: -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Comments

    Archives

    Categories