Drupal Multi-Site for School Communications

I’m working on setting up a Drupal Multi-Site Configuration to create sites that allow division specific blogging and password protecting of certain sites in the multisite configuration. Here’s the configuration I’m looking at:

1. Three column theme custom made for collegiate with site navigation on the left and organic group navigation on the right. Stories in the center. This will allow for group specific pages on the right hand navigation.
2. Image upload/gallery support
3. Tabs with the different group pages for the site on the top navigation. As I create the organic groups, this can be part of the configuration.
4. LDAP enabled so all usernames and passwords are based on my school’s active directory — and teachers and students don’t have to remember another login.

So by going with the Multi-Site configuration I can have different sites but manage only one Drupal codebase. We’re already running DrupalEd. This ill be a separate site, but the base site will be collegiatecreate.org.

We will then create:

http://www.collegiatecreate.org – for course pages in DrupalEd
ls.collegiatecreate.org – for Lower School class pages
clubs.collegiatecreate.org – for school club pages

Some other ideas:

departments.collegiatecreate.org for department specific pages.
people.collegiatecreate.org for personal blogs. Or we can continue to use our wordpress my site at blogs.collegiateschool.org.

So I have a couple of questions.

1. What do I gain with Drupal over WordPress MU? My quick answer is tabbed pages so they are easy to tab through and navigate. New posts aggregated onto one front page. You loose the beautiful WordPress interface.

2. Do I use Organic Groups or just filter pages by tags as we do at EdTechTalk? I think I want to use organic groups (og) because that will allow me to have specific og blocks on the group pages, allowing for special link and download blogs, right?

Some other ideas include:

Aggregate specific feeds onto specific sites. NYTimes on to club pages, Kids news onto the lower school page.

I’m also going to need a custom theme. I may just decide to tweak one, but this sounds like a good place to outsource. I’ve had some issues with IE and Firefox with the Default DrupalEd theme. Hopefully we’ll be able to fix that.

This has been a rambling post. Lots to think about here.

Having fun creating this site. Will hopefully be even more fun as we get going.

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4 thoughts on “Drupal Multi-Site for School Communications

  1. I’m relatively new to Drupal. I’m missing something about your concept. Why not have just one Drupal site and use either custom content types or taxonomy to separate your content? If you want different looks for the sections, wouldn’t Views do the trick?

    I’m doing something similar in Moodle for my school.

    Richard

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