Sourcetop knows

Teaching Channel

Connecting millions of teachers through public and private communities with video sharing, commentary, training and learning plans.

The Client

The Teaching Channel (TCH) is a thriving online community where teachers can watch, share, and learn diverse techniques to help every student grow. Its website began as a homegrown platform for sharing inspiring teaching practices — but with a grant from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, it quickly grew into a knowledge hub hosting more than 4,000 videos, along with conversations and private uploads between millions of active users

The Situation

The Teaching Channel’s website had expanded far beyond its ability to support its user and content base. Videos often failed to stream properly, the publishing backend was slow and cumbersome, and the help desk lacked remote access tools for investigating and resolving tickets. So TCH chose digital agency Sourcetop to re-architect its entire site in Drupal.

The Challenge

The Teaching Channel recognized that its current website was not functioning as an enterprise-level platform. It required numerous upgrades on the design front, as well as a more robust and intuitive publishing backend, a new architecture for managing resource folders, support for multi-tenancy, and masquerading functionality for the help desk. Sourcetop then needed to migrate more than 11 million assets over to the newly designed website — all on a timeline of less than four months.

The Solution

Sourcetop worked with The Teaching Channel to merge and integrate all existing content into a new website build in Drupal’s open source content management system. We also transitioned TCH from unmanaged servers to Acquia's managed cloud solution, giving them the support and stability they needed to continue growing. With the help of Drupal, TCH can now fully support its ever-growing library of thousands of videos, as well as millions of active users and interactions.

Our team took the lead on re-architecting TCH’s website on this new scalable platform, and restructured many internal and external processes for greater consistency and efficiency. We completely upgraded the look and feel of the site, integrated JWPlayer for videos, and developed a much more user-friendly publishing backend, including an intuitive page builder tool using Drupal’s Panelizer. We also added multi-tenancy for members who belong to two or more schools or districts.

With this new architecture in place, we methodically planned and executed the migration of more than 11 million assets and users onto more cost-effective storage. We leveraged TCH’s existing Amazon S3 bucket for direct video manipulation, and tied it to Drupal's CMS for seamless management. TCH’s old website stayed up in read-only mode during this migration — effectively experiencing zero downtime — and the new website was up and running the next day.

Finally, we introduced advertising integration using Google DoubleClick (DFP), greatly simplifying the ad selling process, connected TCH’s transactional mail system to SendGrid, enabling members to send emails through the SendGrid system, and developed a more robust API, which TCH has leveraged in its new partnership with learning analytics company Renaissance.

The Results

We helped The Teaching Channel seamlessly migrate all its content onto a powerful, flexible, scalable platform that has vastly improved its users’ experience, and helped launch exciting new partnerships with other educational companies.

  • The new website has fully responsive mobile design.
  • The website is SEO-friendly, and provides an array of social sharing options.
  • Migrated more than 11 million assets, including 4,000 videos, along with millions of private resource folders, and millions of interactions between users.
  • The website redesign was delivered on time and under budget.
  • The new website launched just four months after the initial kick-off meeting.
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