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Drupal Technical Users Group

infotech.NEWS: October 2015

A Drupal Technical Users Group is open to anyone at UMD who enjoys troubleshooting advanced technical issues and who is or will soon be using Drupal.

Logo: DrupalExcitement is building across campus as an increasing number of websites move into Drupal. The School of Fine Arts was the first of the collegiate units to debut on the new system. More recently, various departments in the College of Education and Human Service Professions have made the leap.

Moving to a Content Management System (CMS) comes with many advantages, but the path to get there has not always been smooth. Our version of Drupal was originally customized by the Twin Cities campus, and further work has been required to get it to meet the needs of the UMD community.

Such a large project requires strong communication and cooperation between technology professionals. To that end, the Drupal Technical Users Group was formed. Aimed at tech savvy individuals who are currently using UMD's version of Drupal, the group meets regularly to share experiences, troubleshoot bugs, make recommendations for new features, and to help prioritize project goals in a way that ensures we are serving our campus in the best way possible.

Meetings are organized around monthly "sprints" - week long periods where our primary Drupal developer, Aaron Richner, focuses his time on improving Drupal. Before each sprint, the Drupal Tech Group confirms which items on a very long list of desired improvements are most important and most doable. After the week of work is complete, the group tests the changes before unleashing them on the public.

By gathering together a diverse group of UMD Drupal administrators, including representatives from colleges and non-academic units alike, we uncover far more issues than ITSS staff alone would likely encounter. We also increase the quality of feedback we receive - both on a technical level, and because the members of our group are keen to pass along the experiences and recommendations of their non-IT colleagues, many of whom are contributing content to Drupal for the first time.

The Drupal Technical Users Group is open to anyone at UMD who enjoys troubleshooting advanced technical issues and who is or will soon be using Drupal. To get involved, simply request to join drupaltech on UMD Google Groups.

As more websites move into Drupal, we may spin up another group, this time aimed at users who perhaps aren't quite as interested in the deeper technical issues, but who use Drupal on a regular basis and want to be actively involved in learning more about the CMS and improving how it works. Stay tuned for future announcements or contact Mandie Johnson to express interest. aljohnso@d.umn.edu or 218-726-8860.

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