Writing the Textbook for Drupal

During today's break, I participated in the second meeting of the drupal curriculum development group. For those of you with sex lives, our group is building a 5 day training course on all things drupal. The curriculum is targeted towards people with some sort of web design/development background. I think this makes sense, as I can't see anyone with a casual interest in drupal spending 5 hours for 5 days talking about drupal. However, I do know that there is more demand for experienced drupal developers than the current pool can supply. It is of the upmost importance for our platform to meet this demand.

Therefore, I'm all for a curriculum that targets those who will sustain drupals out-of-freakin-control growth. On a related note: strangely, I'm still asked on occassion why I'd be "motivated" to give way my "secrets" to newcomers...

drupal pathfinding the way to Open source course Development

What's the advantage to open source? In my opinion its this: titles mean nothing, quality of contribution means everything. Moreover, while people do have financially based motivations to contribute, often these motivations manifest themselves in ways that are 100% beneficial to the community as a whole. My sense is that one of the prime reasons many of the participants are getting deeply involved in building this curriculum is because they are tired of turning business down: they need help, but the help doesn't exist yet. This is how it always happens in open source. An obvious need arises, some takes the initiative, and beings a project, and then the right people get involved and help each other fufill the need. This is because the benefit of working together is SELF EVIDENT. Its not complex -- in fact, its a reflection of our evolutionary history.

So, here's a taste of where our curriculum is headed.

1. We're (or at this point, actually I am) putting together a story to weave the hundreds of concepts together. The plot is the "student" accepts a "quick job, easy money(those of us who've done this for a while know to instinctively avoid those..)" ad from craigslist. They start with a simple site that aims to get the word out that the web2.0 company is in "stealth mode", and then the scope creeps to full fledged community-contributions/mailhandling/multi-role workflow/theme hacked/utterly/(with maybe ecommerce?) crazy site by day 5.

We're doing this because we've decided to base our instructional methods off of the latest scientific research on how people learn, and what keeps them engaged. I suppose we could be like big-bloat-corporate Inc. and base our methods off of the notoriously ineffective style we are used to from college, but that would be too easy. We're open source.

2. We've begun weaving a lot of priceless concepts into the course. such as "how to judge a module". A lot of us have been doing this for some while, and we only know what we because we've been through the pain.

3. The course is heading towards a direction that is specifically designed to teach REAL WORLD applications and problem solving with drupal. I know that sounds like a "gee wiz... that's amazing nick, you are making this useful?" sort of thing to say. However, I will remind you that I was in college not too long ago...

In otherwords, making information useful -- it would seem -- is truly a novel concept in practice.

I turn off computer now.

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