What CMS and Modules to use for an educational site?

We need to build the following site in a short amount of time. We don’t really have time to build it from scratch. What CMS and specific modules/plugins would you recommend to build the following site?

The client wants a password protected website where students can login and take a course which will contain videos, audio, text, PDFs and or word docs. Each course may also require the student to upload a PDF or Word doc for the professor to review.

Starting in the backend, there would be two main levels of permission: professor admin and super admin. A professor would be able to login to the CMS and create a new course. Each course could potentially have 1 to 20 or more steps depending on the course. For each step the the professor would have the ability to add text, a video, audio file, quiz, pdf, Word doc or ask the student to upload a file.

So for example, the professor would add a PDF to step 1, then at step 2 the professor would add a video, at step 3 he would add a quiz. Finally he would add an audio file at the end for step 4. Then on the front-end, the student would login to the site and take the course. Once the student begins the course he would first see step 1 which would be the PDF. The student would hit “Continue” and go on to step 2 which is watching the video. Then at step 3 the student would take a multiply choice quiz. The system would need to keep track of the student’s answers and each step that is completed. Then finally after the quiz is finished the student would listen to the audio file at step 4. After the student completes the course, he or she would have the ability to go back in and watch the content as many times as they would like, download handouts & resources, etc. If the student quits the course at step 3, then when he or she logs back-in the course will start at step 3.

In the backend there would be a section called course stats. This section would be accessible by the professors. The course stats section would list all of the student users who started taking the course. The system would display in this section, how many steps the student completed. It would display the quiz results if applicable and any student uploaded files which the course required.

As far as I know, the quiz would be multiply choice questions, but I suppose they could possibly be fill in the blank type questions.


I would recommend using a CMSs dedicated to learning. One such CMS that comes to mind is moodle. If you don’t use a CMS dedicated to learning than a lot of those boilerplate features specific to a learning site will need to be custom built or piecemeal together.

That said if you know another CMS really well you could probably just as easily build this in that instead of learning something completely new. I myself would probably opt for Drupal if I went the use what I know route.

I know a bunch of script kiddies are going to recommend Wordpress but you would really be working against WordPress to achieve what you have described. I’m sure it has been done but you would be turning WordPress into something it really isn’t resulting in what I would expect to be a lot of unforseen issues. However, if you know Wordpress really well maybe that is a good route for you.

I really think the best route though is starting with a platform/foundation dedicated to the business category.

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