Using Drupal for Course Sites


The BCRC can provide an instance of Drupal to support courses in the life sciences. For basic information on how to use drupal, please refer to the extensive documentation at the Drupal website. This guide is intended as a brief overview of how we have drupal configured and how to use it to implement the kinds of resources we have traditionally provided.

User accounts and Privileges

Currently, we are using ldap authentication -- this means that you will need to log into the site using your Biology Department account. Your students will be able to log into the site using their Biology Department account as well. Once you have logged in once an administrator can give you administrator privileges.

You may periodically check and adjust the permissions of who is allowed to do what on your site. Go to Administer -> User Management -> Permissions. Eventually, we hope to have groups configured via ldap, which will allow for automatic provisioning of privileges to you and your students. For the moment, if you want your students to have special permissions, you should assign those permissions to the "Student" role and then add that role to your students profiles. You can select your students on the User page (under User Management) and add the role to them en masse.


There are three kinds of "content" you can make by default (and others you can turn on by turning on other "modules"). "Book Pages" are webpages that can be organized hierarchically. They are useful for making and organizing content that needs to be grouped, for example Preparation Pages (see below), Assignments, etc. "Pages" are good for standalone, permanent pages, like the syllabus. "Stories" are useful for announcements and other topical posts.

Some other kinds of content you might want to turn on: "Blog Posts", which are like stories, but are associated with a particular user and "Webforms" which are like surveys.

Only Stories are automatically promoted to the front page. You can change the default settings for content using Administer -> Content -> Content Types.

Preparation Pages

To make Preparation Pages, you can create a book page called "Preparation Pages" as the "container" for the preparation pages. As you make each preparation page, call it something like "Week 01: Introduction to Course" and make the Preparation Page it's parent.


The sites are configured to use Markdown formatting. Markdown lets you use HTML (if you know it), but also provides alternate (potentially simpler) ways to format things, like a wiki.