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8 Reasons to Use Drupal in Universities

In our previous post, we tried to explain why institutions and companies should prefer Drupal. In this article, we will also explain why universities should prefer Drupal.

Drupal is an open source and free content management system used by many large companies and public institutions around the world.

Content management systems, on the other hand, are known as software tools used in the development of websites and the management of content. However, Drupal offers its users much more than a content management system with its superior features, and it also enables developing web applications.

In addition, Drupal is frequently preferred by universities as well as companies and public institutions. With its advanced features, it is used by leading universities such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Oxford; and also by METU, Boğaziçi, Sabancı and Koç in Turkey. According to the data on Drupal's own site, 71 of the top 100 universities worldwide prefer Drupal.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Drupal, which stands out with its advantages in areas such as speed, security, ease of use and low cost, is the software tool that meets best the web site and software needs of universities with its core modules and additional modules released by the community.

Drupal has many advantages for universities. We have summarized these advantages and why universities should use Drupal for their websites and web applications in 8 headings.

1) Simplifies the use and management of multiple domains

Separate websites are created for each faculty and department at universities. These websites also broadcast with different subdomains. With its multisite feature, Drupal allows the use of multiple domains in an easy way. Universities can create and manage as many different sites as they want under the main address they use with the Drupal platform.

However, the use of multiple domains for universities is not enough on its own. In general, the content management of the websites should be done by each department and faculty itself. It is important that this content management can be done easily, because it is not always possible to find people who have technical knowledge about web sites in faculties and departments. Fortunately, Drupal simplifies content management with the use of multiple domains.

Thanks to the advanced authorization features in Drupal, the sites can be managed from a single center or by different users, if desired. Users who will edit the content on the site can be authorized to have different degrees of administrative authority according to their duties.

Not only for the users who will edit the content, but for all users, access to the content and the operations they can do within the site can be differentiated according to the user type. This enables users to be created in different categories such as students, graduates, and visitors, and makes authorizations specific to these users.

2) Offers high speed and performance

Thousands of users need to be able to access websites and student management systems at the same time, where various processes such as course selection and homework upload are carried out in universities. Especially during periods when user traffic is high, such as course selection, websites crash. Students and academics cannot access websites for a long time.

Thanks to the scaling feature and high performance offered by the Drupal infrastructure, these problems are also eliminated.

Drupal enables websites to be developed at any scale to handle user density with its scalability feature. The scale of a site, which was initially developed on a small scale, can be enlarged in the future as needed. Thus, with the right configurations/adjustments, websites survive even under high user traffic.

In addition, written and visual contents on websites prepared using the Drupal platform are opened very quickly. The waiting time is shortened when switching between pages. Drupal's high performance comes from speed optimizations and advanced cache management, which are constantly being developed by the Drupal community. Thus, websites can continue to serve without sacrificing speed even under high user traffic.

3) Provides advanced multilingual support

Today, universities' websites are prepared to be at least bilingual in Turkish and English in Turkey. It is crucial for universities to announce their events and publications internationally, both for universities to attract students and academics from different countries, and for the information produced to be disseminated throughout the world and made available to scientists and the public. That's why universities' websites need to be accessible in as many languages ​​as possible besides English. However, this requires additional effort and time.

Drupal saves universities a significant amount of time and effort by allowing websites to be prepared in multi-languages. Drupal's language support covers more than 100 languages ​​spoken in the world. Thus, universities can prepare their websites in the language they want.

Moreover, it is very easy to publish content in multiple languages ​​in Drupal. A version of a content in the desired language is easily created with one click. Menus and contents are automatically changed in accordance with the structure of that language.

For example, when universities want to prepare an Arabic version of their website, they can do so easily. Unlike most languages, Arabic is written from right to left due to the structure of the language. Drupal also automatically adjusts for such changes. The positions of the contents and menus are placed on the pages in accordance with the language.

4) Allows the development of corporate web applications

In universities, transcripts, course schedules, and information of students and academics are kept; During course selection periods, various student information and management systems are used, through which they can choose courses. Many processes within the university are handled through software.

Although Drupal is also known as a content management, it actually enables much more than that. Using the Drupal platform, software is developed in which many processes can be carried out together. Thanks to Drupal's advanced features and module structure, solutions that cover all the features that universities need can be offered through a single management or information system.

With the authorization feature mentioned earlier, restrictions on viewing and on who can do and manage what actions can be set. Thus, a software has emerged that can be used by both students and many units within the university without violating each other's authority limits.

Universities generally use different software systems for different jobs. With its flexible structure, Drupal allows integration with different software. Thanks to the integration, operations belonging to different software can be easily managed on a single platform with Drupal infrastructure.

5) Offers solutions suitable for academia

Various events such as seminars, conferences, club activities, exhibitions and concerts are constantly organized within the universities. The monitoring and management of all these activities create a situation that needs to be resolved for universities.

Drupal's registration module makes event management very simple. Thanks to this module, all events can be viewed and managed on a single platform. Organizers can set different registration types for events, create forms for registration, and send reminders to those who have registered.

In general, each course and academic at universities is evaluated by the students at the end of the semester with questionnaires. When there will be a new formation and activity on the campus, students are asked to be able to act in accordance with their wishes. For all these processes, survey forms need to be prepared and the results of thousands of surveys should be evaluated. Fortunately, in Drupal, while survey and form preparation processes can be done quickly and easily, the answers also can be monitored.

With another module offered in Drupal, lecturers and academics can prepare online exams and quizzes for their students using various question types. While the answers of the students are saved in the database, the results can be viewed simultaneously.

In addition, unlike other institutions, a lot of academic studies are carried out in universities. The bibliography parts of these studies must be meticulously prepared in one of the various standards such as Chicago, APA, MLA.

Drupal offers a module in which bibliography and citations will be automatically generated in accordance with the desired style. By using this module, the time lost during the bibliography preparation processes can be spent on more efficient studies, and the errors that may occur during the manual preparation of the bibliography are minimized.

6) Open source and secure

Users cannot access codes in commercially available and widely used closed source software. Therefore, they do not know how the software works, what processes take place in the background, and how their data is stored.

Universities need to store personal and institutional data of thousands of students, academics and staff. Therefore, in universities using closed source software and so not knowing how the software works or how the data is stored creates a security vulnerability.

Drupal is open source, eliminating security concerns. In open source software, the code of the software is shared publicly. Thus, users can see the processes taking place at the background of the software and can decide how to store their data. Data can be stored on servers belonging to universities, if desired.

Moreover, Drupal has a large and strong developer community. Since it is open source, it is possible for everyone to contribute to the software. The software is constantly being tested by too many people. Therefore, errors and security vulnerabilities in the software are noticed and fixed very quickly. Thanks to the security updates released regularly, websites always remain safe.

7) Offers sustainable solutions

It may be necessary to change the infrastructure of websites and software used in universities for reasons such as keeping up with the rapidly developing technology or old solutions not meeting new needs. However, during such changes, the experience and knowledge that has been formed over the years and needs to be preserved is often lost, and data is also lost. Such losses make it impossible to maintain the institutionalism of universities.

Drupal makes sustainability possible. When moving a website to Drupal infrastructure or moving from Drupal to another infrastructure, data can be preserved as it is. When only the appearance of websites needs to be changed, thanks to advanced theme management, the site can be brought to a brand-new look by changing only the frontend design without changing the codebase and database.

In addition, Drupal eliminates team and license dependency. Drupal-based websites and software can be transferred to different teams when necessary. Thanks to its open source code, new teams can access all the code. Moreover, with the standardized structure of Drupal, there are no situations such as not understanding the previous operations and the written codes.

In cases where new features are desired to be developed on websites or software, the core structure of Drupal is preserved. Without the need to switch to a new system, the existing system can be preserved, and changes can be made with additional modules that will meet the needs.

8) It reduces costs

When closed source software is used in universities, a certain fee must be paid both to purchase the software and to continue using the software every year. However, every penny that can be used to support students and research at universities is very valuable. Of course, software is crucial in terms of the running of the institutional operation at the university, and software expenditures are an item of that should be allocated a budget. Fortunately, since Drupal is completely free, it minimizes the software costs that should be allocated for software.

With the performance and security updates that Drupal developers constantly release, additional services are not required for the security of websites and web applications. Thanks to the strong Drupal community, there is no need for a technical unit other than the IT unit in the university for these updates.

To ensure the continuity of a Drupal-based website, it is usually sufficient to employ a staff who knows how to use Drupal at the university. However, if you want to set up a new website with Drupal infrastructure or develop a software specific to the university, you can still get a development service from a software company for a small fee. Since Drupal is free, these types of services are also much cheaper than services provided with closed source software. In addition, products are delivered faster as Drupal speeds up many processes in software development processes.

So far, we have tried to explain the advantages of using the Drupal platform for universities on their websites and web applications.

But there are more reasons for universities to use Drupal. If you want to learn all the advantages of Drupal or use Drupal at your university, you can contact us without any hesitation.