Drupal Node Overview training materials

Posted by Jeff Beeman on Wed, 11/28/2007 - 22:03

I'm wrapping up my first semester of classes in ASU's Educational Technology Master's program, and the final project for my EDT502 (Design and Development of Instruction) class was to design a program of instruction. It was strongly recommended to us to keep the program length to one hour, and to choose something we were familiar with. So, of course, I chose Drupal!

This one hour training program was designed to be a focused and quick introduction to Drupal's node system. The target audience is potential Drupal developers who have experience administering Drupal, and its major focus is on presenting nodes as objects that can be modified by modules. It has three main objectives:

  • present an overview of Drupal's node structure in easy to understand terms;
  • provide attendees with useful tools for inspecting the structure of a node; and
  • give attendees the knowledge required to identify where and when nodes are modified.

I envision this being just one unit in a much larger set of materials that provide a solid introduction to Drupal development. I'm pretty excited about what I was able to come up with, and have started sketching out plans for other units. I've decided to post this unit up here to see if I can get any feedback, and to see if anyone is interested in helping me make the full program of instruction a reality. Please see the attachments below for the full final project. I've included everything. Please feel free to let me know what you think!

Some development notes

This is probably just about the most obvious observation to anyone who has written a technical training program or book before... but, man it's a lot of work! But, it's also incredibly rewarding and satisfying. At the same time, I'm not sure I see myself doing it for anything but material I'm passionate about and I certainly have no desire to be a full time instructional designer. I'm a little worried this could cause... issues... with the rest of my time in the Ed Tech program, but I'm optimistic that it won't.

Apple's Pages '08 is an incredible application and I credit using it with giving my project a level of polish I never would have been able to achieve on my own. I have nothing but praise for the way that Apple has solved issues that have plagued Microsoft Word for years. The UI is incredibly simple and straightforward, and accomplishing fairly complex tasks is a snap. I'm very excited to continue using it in my work.

Google Docs is great for just about every word processing task I have in my daily work. Most of my text heavy documents are written in Google Docs and never leave Google Docs. The framework there provides an awesome solution for taking notes, planning projects and collaborating. However, it is not good for writing materials that you intend to be well designed and printable with reasonably predictable results. I spent quite a few hours porting material from the Google Docs in which I drafted the project to Pages, and the process was not smooth. Next time, I'll plan ahead and start something like this in Pages right off the bat - and I'll just use Subversion as my change management tool.

I've added the project retrospective, called the Program Development Report, which I just finished up today. See the attachments for the PDF.

If you're coming from the front page or an RSS reader, follow the "read more" link below for the attachments.


Attachment Size
Attendee Guide 1.06 MB
Instructor Guide 119.22 KB
Instructor Survey 202.45 KB
Participant Survey 203.51 KB
Pretest and Posttest 29.96 KB
Program Development Report 72.32 KB