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Drupal Modules for Higher Education by:

March 26th, 2013

Drupal is a robust and flexible content platform that makes it an obvious choice for education facilities when considering a redesign. Drupal is built to handle a large number of users with different permissions, support collaboration and organize large amounts of content with ease.

Using different modules within the Drupal platform is a way to customize the technology to the specific needs of your school based on its individual characteristics. Taking advantage of “contrib” modules is also an efficient way to avoid reinventing functionality with a custom solution when it already exists. With over 20,000 modules available to Drupal users however, it’s hard to know where to start or which modules will offer you the most help.

Here is a list of nine modules I think get mistakenly overlooked (unlike views, ctools, pathauto etc.), but in my opinion, should be used on every higher education site in Drupal 7:

Link Checker

The Link checker module detects broken links in your content, ensuring that your students will always be directed to accurate information; this is important during migrations when content may contain links that go overlooked.


Educational institutions  usually have several branches they want to illustrate to potential students, and OpenLayers provides an intuitive way to create custom map views from different providers, making it easy to display campus locations.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)

Most institutions use an authentication system that allows their students and faculty to sign into different accounts with the same username and password. The LDAP module is a stable solution to support this and requires minimal custom integration work.

Admin Views

Admin views allow you override the default admin forms with “views” and customize the way your content is displayed and managed.

Content Optimizer

The content optimizer helps to improve your search engine rankings by analyzing your content and making sure it adheres to best practices for optimal SEO. Now you can be sure that students looking to study particular topics will search for your school and that potential students looking to find certain majors will be attracted to your site.


FullCalendar is an excellent Drupal implementation of the FullCalendar jQuery plugin. It allows admins to create calendar views of events (or any nodes); these can then be edited (via AJAX) directly from the view by dragging and dropping the event or begin/end time. The time or date change is updated on the content (node) instantly. This provides an efficient and intuitive way of administering events without having to navigate events individually.

Workbench Moderation

Workbench and Workbench Moderation create a workflow for content and revision approval. This is a useful solution for education since there are many people involved with the content generation process. This organizes the process of content submission by allowing contributors to submit content within Drupal for revision or approval.

Free Pager

Free Pager is the best pager solution for Drupal in my opinion. It might not have too many downloads, but it’s a great, stable module. More often than not, the way that content is ordered by the pager differs from requirements. Free Pager allows you to sort and organize your content exactly the way you want with a view, and then provides a highly customizable pager from your views list.


Breadcrumbs on every site should make navigation easy. In my experience, there is no comprehensive solution that will implement breadcrumbs perfectly. That being said, “crumbs” is the closest thing to that for Drupal. It uses many elements of your site (not just one) to generate smart breadcrumbs that sometimes work out of the box.

Tags: Content Management, Usability, Web Development, , , , ,

by Ted Slesinski

Senior CMS Developer


2 Comments on “Drupal Modules for Higher Education”

  1. R. J. Toney says:

    Great list of modules, depending on the site structure breadcrumbs_by_path is also good to have in the toolbox.

    For migrations: Scanner is an invaluable module that offers the ability to Search and Replace on the content of nodes

    i’d also recommend CKEditor 4, Flexslider, Linkit

    Great Article Ted.

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