Evolving a web platform for collaborative learning

A comprehensive Drupal development project to scale phenomenally responsive professional development collaboration

The Organization for Educational Technology and Curriculum had a community site that they found difficult to use. We overhauled it and customized it to their needs. Since then, we added a repository for lesson plans, teaching strategies, and a stack overflow that lets you throw out ideas then rank them, ask questions, or give a thumbs up or thumbs down to a comment. 

Challenge

The Web site to support the Organization for Educational Technology and Curriculum’s (OETC) professional development activities, though functional, was difficult to use for publishing and sharing materials or facilitating online collaboration among its users. Having pioneered several features for the first time in Drupal 5, the OETC was ready to build the next generation of its professional development Web site. OETC commissioned us to incorporate the best practices from the first generation website and engineer a replacement focused on improved usability. 

Solution

Our engineering team tailored an installation of Drupal to serve as the Web platform and augmented it further with additional modules and custom code. We modified its information architecture based on client feedback and user experience testing. After migrating legacy content to the new the Web platform, we tuned the performance and capacity to handle more than 100 users actively creating content simultaneously.

Outcome

The biggest test of the new Web platform came this fall when dozens of groups of educators began using the site to edit and revise lesson plans submitted as part of their grant requirements. Users reported a much friendlier and easier to use interface and were impressed by the “snappiness” of the website’s response time.