College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State

The redesign of an unwieldy and under performing Course Management System.

The College of the Liberal Arts, The Pennsylvania State University


  1. Merge 120+ sites into 1
  2. Improve site performance
  3. Integrate with a 3rd party Learning Management System (LMS)

The College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State used Plone to run an online course delivery system. Each course was a standalone site with lessons, images, and videos. The course delivery system grew to more than 120 individual courses. The system became difficult for administrators to manage. Moreover, users grew frustrated with decreased site performance, especially on nights before exams.


Migrate all courses into one Plone site and leverage add-ons to create a new course architecture and integrate with the LMS

First, the College of the Liberal Arts’ site was upgraded to the newest version of Plone. Then all courses were migrated into one Plone site. A new course architecture was created with Lineage, a Plone add-on. Courses were grouped by department and function like independent sites.

Within 1 unique Plone instance, 30 department sites with more than 100 course sub-sites were created, each with their own search and navigation.

Freed from the burden of running 120+ sites, the online course system showed immediate and significant improvements in performance, up-time, and stability. And because one site means one password, editing and adding new courses is easy. Content contributors can brand and manage their content without affecting other courses. 

AngelPas, another Plone add-on, was used to integrate the online course system with Penn State’s LMS, ANGEL.

AngelPas imported student and faculty course registrations and permissions from ANGEL into Plone. This streamlined the entire online course management system by reducing manual tasks and adding automated functionality, without compromising account or course security.

Since the new system went into effect, the server issues have been entirely resolved and the College of the Liberal Arts has enjoyed a fast and "rock solid" system.

Need to merge hundreds of sites or integrate 3rd party solutions? Upgrade to Plone today!

"The system is performing very well. Complaints from teachers and students about the site being unavailable have stopped."

Gabrielle Hendryx-Parker, CEO, Six Feet Up


  • Education


  • Enterprise Integration
  • Flexible Workflows
  • Robust Scalability
  • Multi-site Management


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