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UVM Web Redesign and Drupal Installation

Drupal Q&A — February 2016

Posted: February 11th, 2016 by mmthomas

Hello webmasters. We have been getting a lot of questions about Drupal. This is such a great thing and we really appreciate your enthusiasm. This short Q/A is to help answer some of the questions we are currently getting that we can’t possibly respond to in a thoughtful way one at a time over email.

Which UVM sites are currently in Drupal?

….and there are several more groups that have trained, built and are getting close to launch. We’ll send them along as they go live.

How can I get a Drupal account so that I can build a site?

Account distribution is very much tied to attending a training. You must attend a training which is six hours over three weeks in order to be given a Drupal group. This is because we feel strongly that with a team of only three people supporting these users, we can’t properly support people who are in there “trying to figure it out” for themselves. It’s important that you come to training, learn how to properly work in the system, and learn best practices so that you can build a better version of your current site.

But can’t I just watch online Drupal training videos and figure it out?

Not really. UVM has built its own instance of Drupal. So the training we offer is specific to working in our instance of Drupal. Further, we have learned a lot along the way about shortcuts and best practices that we feel you will really benefit from.

Where can I see the schedule for training classes?

As we get through an intensive three week training period with a group of webmasters, we then offer three weeks of support to each of them. During that time we plan for the next training. There is no schedule posted anywhere as these training MAY be open to the community or they MAY be targeted depending on institutional priorities that come along. Because we can’t predict that, we can’t realistically maintain a training schedule.

What’s the best way to “get on the list”?

There is no ordered training list and we are not keeping a list of people who will be next. We will either announce over the webmasters’ listserv when there are open spots for an upcoming class, or we will contact specific groups that strategically we feel should consider attending a training. So the best way to get into a class is to sign up for the listserv and wait for an announcement. Directions to sign up for our listserv.

What’s the deadline for moving into Drupal?

At some point we will retire the “old” magicscript system, but there is currently no timeline for that. And we have to get around to training everyone before we can think about doing that. So don’t stress about needing to get into Drupal ASAP. When there’s a spot in a class, please sign up and we’ll take it one step at a time for your unit. We are working to provide an ongoing rotation of training classes.

What can I do in the meantime?

Drupal is just a tool. How good/bad your website is is most dependent on how well you strategize about your content and menu. We are not at all advocating that people copy/paste their old content into the new system. Really, planning for your menu and content is the important work and now would be a great time to begin to plan for your website’s redesign and transition to Drupal. See a previous blog post providing planning tools and tips.

We appreciate your continued patience. It’s not going to be a quick process, but we can say that the feedback we have been getting from our new Drupal groups has been positive. People like working in the system. Stay tuned for more!


Planning for your Drupal site

Posted: October 28th, 2015 by mmthomas

As a follow-up to our recent post about the Drupal roll-out to the larger campus community, we’d like to share the most recent templates and some documentation so that you can do some planning for your unit’s Drupal website. This will be especially important to those of you who have contacted us because you feel ready for Drupal now ….  there is plenty of homework that you can begin doing on your end before starting the migration.

Learn more >>

We continue to plan, create documentation and are starting to talk about the first training classes.

Best wishes,

Web Team




Fall 2015 Drupal update

Posted: September 8th, 2015 by mmthomas

The work on the Drupal infrastructure and templates continues … here’s a quick update:

You already know that the UVM homepage and subsequent main overview pages are in Drupal, but we now have two other major sites under our belts — the Undergraduate Admissions site as well as the Honors College. Here’s our plan for the coming months:

I. Interface improvements
Because the way people will work in this system is completely different from the way they work in the current UVM publishing system, there’s a good amount of work to be done on the user interface. We need to know that it’s intuitive to use — and fix things to be more so — before we release to the UVM community.

II. Creation of online documentation
Remember the Web Guide? Well we need a new one for Drupal. Users will have questions, and there aren’t enough of us to go around to answer each and every one of them on the phone or via email. So we’re building a new repository of “How to work in Drupal for UVM users” info.

III. Completion of templates for the larger community
The admissions template we created was custom, and the Honors College used the one college template that we have created so far. We are now building the academic and administrative department templates that the majority of webmasters will use.

IV. Plans for training the UVM community
Planning, planning, planning. This has been a huge component of the Drupal project. And with a bare bones work crew, it takes a fair amount of our time. We appreciate the patience you’ve had, and also the enthusiasm. Many people have reached out about the timeline. When the above items on our to-do list are complete, we will start holding some training sessions so that people can begin building his/her unit’s website. We expect that when that happens, the project will pick up speed pretty quickly. We are expecting to start training by the end of the semester (not everyone will train at once) — and you can look for an update on those plans in the next couple months. And remember–preparing your content and pairing down your main menu is still the best way you can prepare for the migration into Drupal. We’ll take care of the design. We’re looking forward to working with all of you as this project continues to move forward.

Best wishes,
UVM Web Team

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