I fell into the Drupal pool in July of 2008, almost immediately after receiving my B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management of Information Systems from Oregon State University. I was a broke, non-traditional student, who had lost my entire technical writing career to international outsourcing.
I had a family of six to take care of, a wet degree, and a little bit of anxiety at being fresh out of school at 38 in a stagnant economy.
I was hired by Central Web Services of Oregon State University to develop and instruct a program centered around their Drupal 5 multi-site installation. I knew what Drupal was, but had no real history with it. I did have some limited experience with configuring and running phpBB3 installations, though, and an extensive background in both training development and technical writing. It was enough to get in me in the door, for which I am eternally grateful, as it has provided me with a great career and exposed me to the most dynamic, versatile, and richly diverse framework I could ever imagine.
It should be no surprise that the community reflects these same qualities.
I quickly grew enamored of both.
Since 2008, starting with Drupal 5 and moving to Drupal 6, I’ve developed a comprehensive Drupal training program that includes eight workshops. The courses start at ground level with logging in and progressively move any interested user up through Views development. These classes are provided year round to any member of the Oregon State University community – faculty, staff, or student – at no charge. The workshops focus heavily on teaching a user how to build a solid, efficient information architecture using Drupal tools like Taxonomy, Books, custom node development, and Views.
The coursework, which includes step-by-step Powerpoint slides and lab materials, is publicly available at my CWS Training Site, feel free to visit at any time. Use of my materials has been formally requested by Yale University, the University of Rochester, the University of Delaware, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
My consultation services have extended to other Oregon education entities such as the Chancellor’s Office of the Oregon University System, the University of Oregon, and the Salem-Keizer school district.
In addition to instructional design and training, I also consult our small, but effective, Drupal team with things such as the configuration of back-end tools to automate file handling, usability, functional / theme testing, and feature development. As a result of our combined efforts, our team has received a 2011 Grand Gold Communications Award from CASE District VIII for our OSU Home Page and a 2012 Silver for our OSU College of Public Health site.
To say that Drupal has changed my life is an understatement. Interestingly enough, it’s also changed some other lives that I’ve been involved with. Students that have been trained in Drupal by me have moved on to become college Drupal administrators, Drupal system administrators for large county networks, and developers for Drupal shops.
This community, and this framework, has impact in lives and economies. It creates bonds that extend beyond the "barriers" of national borderlines and language, and it continues to intrigue and amaze me every step of the way.