Since we started Drupal Career Online over a decade ago, our 12-week best-practice focused course has grown and evolved; not only in the area of curriculum, but also in the resources we provide around it in an effort to create a truly holistic learning experience for students. Until now, we’ve referred to these aspects of our program loosely as our "learning community."
The thing is, it’s grown into quite an extraordinary, multi-facetted body of people and programs that continues to develop beyond our early plans and goals. With the extensive breadth and reach these elements have grown to include, it’s time for an official name, and to impart the anatomy of the DrupalEasy Learning Community.
First and foremost we need to recognize the heart of the DrupalEasy Learning community, which beats strong thanks to the students, alumni, mentors, instructors, contributors, scholarship sponsors and supporters who have helped our learning-minded cooperative thrive over the past 11 years. We are fortunate to have the trust, loyalty and friendship of the active alumni; from our first class held in-person at our riverfront classroom on Florida’s Space Coast in 2011, to the multiple scholarship sponsors from across North America who are now leveraging our programs to diversify their teams and the wider Drupal Community.
Of course, Drupal Career Online was always meant to be more than just an instructor-taught course. Drupal is more than just code, so the DCO, and in fact all of our courses, have been developed to integrate the community aspect into not just what we teach, but how we teach it. The DCO is 84 hours of curriculum combined with resources and amazing people who make it a truly complete, educational experience centered in a diverse community of people who continually seek getting better at all things Drupal.
DrupalEasy is committed to:
- Teach comprehensive Drupal knowledge & best-practice skills
- Teach and integrate community engagement in everything that we do
- Provide comprehensive resources for lifelong learning
We accomplish this through ongoing supplemental elements that serve to enrich our courses, support our participants and help to build a sense of community.
The DrupalEasy Learning Community has developed to include eight supporting features that augment course curriculum and that are designed to create a holistic learning experience and engage students to excel in the Drupal ecosystem:
DrupalEasy Office Hours
Office hours, sometimes referred to as lab hours, have been a staple of our learning community since we started our long-form Drupal program, and key to making and maintaining connections and friendships around learning Drupal. Current students and all alumni are welcome to join our weekly office hours to work through issues, ask and answer questions and learn from others. It’s a great way for students to stay connected in an informal, but very useful way.
DrupalEasy Community Mentors
Another original feature of Drupal Career Online that makes a huge difference to many students are the amazing members of the Drupal community who generously donate their time to provide mentorship to current Drupal Career Online students. Many of these mentor/mentee relationships remain ongoing after the student completes the course.
DrupalEasy Scholarship Partners
A more recent development of the DrupalEasy Learning Community is the scholarship program supported by web development agencies, the Drupal Association, and other organizations that underwrite tuition for qualified students who also have the opportunity to join the providing organization as an intern or junior developer after graduation.
DrupalEasy Curriculum Updates
Just like Drupal, our curriculum is always evolving. As such, students and alumni have access to curriculum updates for the course they graduated from, which includes our class slides, lesson guides, and videos. We frequently hear from alumni who revisit lessons long after they graduate in an effort to keep their skills fresh and up to date.
DrupalEasy Event Gurus
Attending a Drupal event for the first time can be a bit scary and overwhelming, so we’ve set up a way to make things a bit less daunting for those who would like some guidance. Alumni who would like some support simply fill out a form, and we introduce them to someone (a well seasoned Drupal event guru) who is attending the same event and is willing to show them the ropes. The goal is to have the guru provide suggestions, introductions, and a friendly face for the alumni. We've been doing this informally for a few years now, and just recently set it up as a formal program.
DrupalEasy Alumni Network
Starting with the very first class of Drupal Career Online we strive to welcome our students as new members of the Drupal community. As class progresses, we are almost continuously introducing them to more and more members of the Drupal community, including their community mentor and our alumni (via shared office hours and our dedicated Slack workspace.) By helping students grow their Drupal networks, we also help them get more comfortable, and make it easier to grow their Drupal skills. For some of our students and alumni, the Drupal community Slack workspace can be intimidating and overwhelming - our goal is to help folks join the wider Drupal community at their own pace, starting with the DrupalEasy Alumni Network.
DrupalEasy Community Grants
Drupal Career Online’s alumni community is special to us, and so, we have created the DrupalEasy Community Grants program with them in mind. Any alumni family, friends and co-workers are eligible for DrupalEasy Legacy Grants to help them experience our career technical education program (the DCO) and our continuing education programs including long-form courses and workshops (those where we control enrollment.) Alunni Grants for other DrupalEasy training (again, where we control enrollment) are also available. We've had more than a few individuals who have taken Drupal Career Online in both its previous Drupal 7 version and again in the Drupal 8/9 version - the latter with significant grants to help their ability to take the course. In addition, we always try to show the love to our alumni themselves who steer friends and co-workers to our long-form program, with what we hope are thoughtful recognition. We also provide Group and Team Grants for those who seek to take our courses and join our DrupalEasy Learning Community in numbers.
DrupalEasy Industry Introductions
For any graduates who are looking for employment, we try to provide introductions and pass along opportunities for positions as we become aware of them. We continually receive requests from a variety of organizations who are looking to hire Drupal Career Online graduates. This usually comes in the form of introductions to DrupalEasy partners who have job openings, one-on-one guidance, and resume reviews.
It is extremely gratifying that we can provide all of these programs to our long-form Drupal training students and alumni, and that the DrupalEasy Learning Community has grown into the hundreds. Over the past 11 years, we've seen the results of efforts in the form of successful Drupal professionals working all over the world. While we're formalizing the eight programs that support our learning environment, we'll continue to experiment with additional elements (like early access to upcoming courses) in our never-ending effort to help build the Drupal Community by nurturing the DrupalEasy Learning Community.
If you are interested in learning more about Drupal Career Online and experiencing the DrupalEasy Learning Community, join us next Wednesday for a Taste of Drupal (add TOD link) information webinar.