Drupal for Journalism Educators: Poynter's News University Goes Live

Poynter's News University

Last week, Poynter's NewsU.org, the world's leading journalism education website, went live with a complete redesign. The website was designed and developed by Aten and built entirely in Drupal. It is the result of almost a year of strategy, design, and development, in collaboration with the incredible team of web producers and content experts at NewsU.

It's an exciting step forward for NewsU, and an exciting case study in using Drupal as a learning platform. The website features hundreds of courses spread across several course types, each with its own needs for design, behavior, reporting, and 3rd-party integration.

A few of challenges we tackled with NewsU included:

  • Creating an effective UI for allowing NewsU to promote -- and end users to find -- courses within an extensive catalog of almost two hundred training modules.
  • More clearly demonstrating the relationship between NewsU and its parent organization, the Poynter Institute.
  • Managing permissions and enrollment across hundreds of courses for more than 130,000 users.
  • Importing massive data sets into Drupal from legacy sources including MySQL and SQL Server.
  • Integrating with SCORM learning modules, Adobe Connect, and other 3rd-party services.
  • Developing and implementing design and technical standards for creating (as well as retro-fitting) courses across the entire website.

We're extremely pleased with the outcome of the process. It is rewarding to work with organizations that have such relevance in the current world climate. As journalism continues to evolve and adapt in the age of the Internet, the need for quality, relevant training will need to adapt with it. So far, Drupal has proved a capable platform for handling the unique needs of an online learning experience. We're looking forward to helping expand and refine both NewsU and Drupal as a learning platform.

Check out the redesign at NewsU.org.

Look out for an upcoming case study on the design and development process, as well as a soon-to-be announced session proposal for DrupalCon San Francisco. You can learn a bit more about the redesign process at NewsU Next, see what people are saying on Twitter, or ready the official press release.

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