NJIT Open Training Initiative

kaw3939's picture

Hello Everyone...

Let me introduce myself, I'm a long-time lurker on the discussion boards. I've been using drupal for about 4 years and teach it as part of web development courses at New Jersey Institute of Technology. NJIT is located in Newark NJ and is very close to New York City.

Recently, I have started to host the Northern New Jersey meetups onsite at my university and if anyone is in the area let me know, I'd love to meet you. NJIT is willing to host camps, play dates, and meetups for Drupal, if anyone is interested. I've been a member of the Drupal community for a while and because NJIT uses a lot of open source software there is in interest in supporting the community independent of our interest in having non-credit Drupal courses.

I have a good background in all aspects of Drupal (implementation, planning, module dev, and theme development). I am also an instructional designer and am working on bringing all of these skills together to create a solid curriculum for Drupal training. I would like to collaborate with anyone interested in developing this and work with anyone that has started to do this already.

The overall mission is to create open curriculum that is developed and peer reviewed by the community. This content would be used as part of non-credit course offered by NJIT http://www.njit.edu at a very reasonable rate for anyone interested in taking instructor led online courses that last around 3 weeks. My feeling is that the knowledge created in this project should be free; however, the time someone takes to answer questions and work directly with students should be compensated for.

Courses would be all online and use web conferencing technology for online meetings. NJIT would handle all of the marketing and administrative duties necessary to run what amounts to a Drupal Academy. We would be interested in contracting with instructors that would be paid on a per student basis, which means the more students you enroll, the more money you would make. We want to make all of the course materials available for free on our website and on the Drupal.org website as appropriate.

So, if anyone is interested in talking about this let me know.



dougvann's picture

Thats extremely cool Keith!
Is there anything published online about this? I'd be interested in reading more; specifically about the amount of Drupal in your web development courses.

- Doug Vann
- http://dougvann.com

  • Doug Vann [Drupal Trainer, Consultant, Developer]
  • Synaptic Blue Inc. [President]
  • http://dougvann.com

Sounds good

winston's picture

I think you may already be aware of it, but it would be great if you considered linking up with the Drupal Open Curriculum project at...


Description at http://gitorious.org/drupal-open-curriculum/pages/Home

This would cover the where to host the courses in an open way.

Totally agree about the strategy that the courseware should be free and maintained open source, but instructors should be compensated.

and the Open Curriculum group

gusaus's picture

Good stuff - some more potential points of interest/collaboration here -


Gus Austin


kaw3939's picture

Yes. I would like to work with anyone interested in this; however, I have a certain vision. I want a holistic, simplified, direct, and to the point curriculum and course materials. I want to do small projects fast and get this going. We want to launch the first courses in October.

In my courses I cover Drupal as a vehicle to teach programing through module development, or theme development depending on the course. I also teach site configuration as an introduction to web development, so students learn about the basic ideas and technology associated with CMS.

In my courses we work a lot with Web services for the programming part. For example, we created an twitter module that uses OAUTH authentication for bidirectional communication between twitter and the site. We also created a Google Health Data editor module. We created a SMS text message sender.

We cover drupal a fair bit.

I also believe that people need supporting technologies like PHP, HTML, CSS, etc... to learn Drupal, so that will also be part of the curriculum.

Essentially, i'm looking for this...

3 Certificates consisting of 2 courses each @ 3 weeks per course with a one week break, so 7 weeks total for a certificate.

The first course is 50% Drupal 50% supporting tech
The second course is 100% drupal

The 3 certifications would be

Drupal Implementor
Drupal Themer
Drupal Module Developer

I'm not looking to make someone an expert in Drupal by taking these courses; rather, I want them to have a solid foundation that will help them learn more in the future.

We host the meetups on campus and maybe the students in the courses might go to meetups to learn the advanced stuff.

I think that the 1 day training sessions may be fine for some people, but I think there is a need for longer term more indepth training that gives people the opportunity to learn over a period of time.

Welll... Right now I'm trying to fix a problem on Drupal so I got 2 go. Looking forward to working with everyone.

Oh, if you have anyone you know that is a top notch graphic designer let me know.

The vision thing

winston's picture

I totally get that. Actually that is one of the basic ideas of having a managed open source curriculum in my opinion vs. just throwing up a wiki and "hoping for the best".

The important thing is if you want this to be an open training initiative is to publish your materials somewhere public under either a GPL or generous Creative Commons license. If CC, then it should allow derivatives and commercial use - for example creative commons attribution share-alike.

That way someone who likes your course, but wants to help improve it can contribute improvements back to you. Or someone who likes some bits of your courses, but has a different vision can produce a very different course.

Oh we are all over that

kaw3939's picture

My university is a member of the MIT open courseware consortium and all materials will be released with a creative commons license through that program.

I'm in the process of working on hiring an assistant to develop the publishing site, so it has a nice theme and looks nice. I want to blend some aspects of the DO redesign, my schools colors, and/or just try to make it look slick and Drupal.

This is very much a community based project and the continuing education department that is supporting this understands that and is supporting this.

Try http://konordo.com for

idcm's picture

Try http://konordo.com for theming and graphics. They do nice work. They created my homepage graphics for http://planningdrupalsites.com

How expensive?

tomgrandy's picture

I know the extent of the project will determine the cost, but in general, have you found Konordo to be reasonable in their pricing?


"There is nothing wrong. There is simply what is, and what you choose to make of it."


kaw3939's picture


I would like some feedback on this because we are still determining cost for training.

This is a 100% estimate.

We are thinking that 3 week instructor led courses that include web conferencing, email, discussion, videos, etc... will range in cost between $400-$800. Web conferences will be a total of about 8 hours, and students will be encouraged to bring their own projects or will be assigned projects. The courses will use a project based learning approach to instruction.

I'm thinking that the introductory courses will be priced as low as possible, while the more advanced theme and module development courses will be closer to the $800 price.

Cost depends on what you want

idcm's picture

Cost depends on what you want them to do but I know they don't bill out at $140/hr like some shops do around here. Compared to US businesses, yes, they are very reasonable.


Looks great

kaw3939's picture

That looks great!

THat looks great and I like what your doing.

I think we are on a similar page and may have a decent opportunity for collaboration.


hamonwry's picture

I'm a professional technical writer, and have been working with Winston on the Open Curriculum.

I would like to be a part of any documentation, etc. going forward. I think Winston has a very good start on the Open Curriculum.

I'll be at the next NJ meetup.

Great! I'm not looking to

kaw3939's picture


I'm not looking to reinvent the wheel. We should probably all meet if we don't live too far away.

I'm in the process of contracting for a nice website to host this project and we might want to discuss that and other tongs relates to this.

i'm nearby

hamonwry's picture

i'm in Clifton. Work in NYC. Winston's up in Connecticut, so it'll be difficult for him to get together.

Not really

kaw3939's picture


I have access to web conferencing software, if you wouldn't mind using that.

I can talk to someone to have accounts setup for us to have a discussion.
If anyone else is interested in this talk to me out of the forums and we will get this sorted out.

Is anyone around at DrupalCon

heather's picture

Is anyone around at DrupalCon Copenhagen? Maybe we can get together for a BoF.

@ kaw3939 - excellent to do this a part of a formal course, giving credits. There are clearly a number of people working along the same lines, and I think there is a thirst for it in the Drupal community. I'm curious about your audience.. Are these young adults? Continuing education? Retraining for unemployed? A professional, experienced audience?

I formulated a year long course in "open source web development" for students in the context of a 3 year degree. The institution I was working in was cautious not to center on one technology. Even though it is taught at an institute of technology (like a technical college) it is an academic course, and not training, so there is overall a different approach in the material. It depends on your audience.

Have you see Domink Lukes's "Open Source Computing Curriculum Ideas"? It is also creative commons licensed.
That document outlines a more wholistic academic approach, rather than event-based training.

As well, Victoria School of Business and Technology has a full time course for students. Might be good to check in with those guys.

You mentioned "We host the meetups on campus and maybe the students in the courses might go to meetups to learn the advanced stuff... I think that the 1 day training sessions may be fine for some people, but I think there is a need for longer term more indepth training that gives people the opportunity to learn over a period of time."

Event based training is a jumping off point for people. Being brought out of context, they don't get a chance to form good questions where they can learn. They need on going mentoring and support over the long term. We're also developing this with Acquia's learning services and training partners. It's a real gap.

You mention students "might go to meetups to learn the advanced stuff"- that really is the crux of learning in an open source community. I think you don't use open source software, but the entire community moves through by learning it. Because it's ever changing and evolving there really is no end to what can be learned. In fact, learning to learn Drupal is a good end goal.

The best thing we can do for new Drupal initiates is to connect them communities; both local and topical. Then, what do they do when they get there? There's quite a bit of acculturation we can assist in as educators. It's not about a end-goal of learning x, y or z skill, but a set of attitudes and social mores students need to learn.

With that in mind, please do check out P2PU, Peer to Peer University. It's like a book club for open educational materials.
I wrote about it here: http://opensource.com/education/10/6/crafting-open-web-qualification

In September, we'll be piloting an introductory self-study course on Drupal. Acquia & Web Enabled are working on this course together. It will be free, and run over the course of 6 weeks. We'll have more info about it soon.

I'd love to meet up in Copenhagen for a BoF - is anyone around?

To be Honest...

kaw3939's picture

To be honest a lot of this is what i'm trying to build around this project.

Basically my ideas are:

  1. Make the creation and distribution of course content as transparent and open as possible
  2. Create a series of projects that tie Drupal tutorials together to form the context of what is being done and why. Essentially, guide students through common challenges and introduce them to proven solutions to these challenges.
  3. Provide supporting information on PHP/HTML/Javascript as necessary, at least point people to sources for this information
  4. Integrate the Drupal community as part of the development of course materials
  5. Expose students to the Drupal culture within the context of contributing and receiving help from the community
  6. Any and all existing independent initiatives are welcome and encouraged to contribute and use; however, they must be creative commons licensed as well.

This program could be taken by anyone, it is intended for adults and/or students at the university that want to specialize in web development.

Sounds awesome

winston's picture

Very exciting!

Very much in-line with the Drupal Open Curriculum project. We should definitely talk once we both have some materials published. I think the infrastructure to make it easier for others to contribute (while imposing the discipline that I think good training materials require) is key and where I've spent a lot of my thought/effort.


kaw3939's picture

Would you guys & ladies like to have a meeting online?

Should I create a signup event for this here, so we can coordinate it?

An online meeting would be great!

eric_sea's picture

This is all very exciting. Perhaps we could start by scheduling a time to chat in IRC. The #drupal-dojo IRC channel might be a good place to start. I would suggest picking a time for an initial conversation, keeping in mind that we have people that will want to participate around the globe.

We have been holding our curriculum chats on Mondays at 7pm UTC, 3pm ET, noon PT. The Drupal Dojo sessions are scheduled on Tuesdays at 4:30pm UTC, 12:30 ET, 9:30am PT.

I look forward to it.
Thank you!

Yeah online meetings are the

heather's picture

Yeah online meetings are the best for all considered.

Please do create a signup for the event. If you want we can use the same time slot as the open curriculum chat, and we could use the web ex, which makes it easier for screensharing.

Great topic for the Learning Drupal chat

gusaus's picture

As Heather and Eric mentioned, there has been a (semi) regular 'Learning Drupal' chat every Monday at 3ET/12PT which would be a good forum to discuss this and other complimentary projects in the Open curriculum space. Also feel free to add to the wiki where we've been compiling projects, discussions, and meeting notes.

Gus Austin

Business hours are difficult for me

hamonwry's picture

Glad there is open discussion here. Unfortunately, Drupal is not part of my day-to-day job responsibilities, so it is difficult for me to communicate with the community during business hours. Work monitors web usage as well.


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