Joe Sheridan Fenn

Jonah Sheridan Fenn

Info Technology Consultant III, Drupal Architect, Instructor
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Office: 541-737-1189

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B.S. Business Administration, MIS - Oregon State University

I fell into the Drupal pool in July of 2008, almost immediately after receiving my B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management of Information Systems from Oregon State University. I was a broke, non-traditional student, who had lost my entire technical writing career to international outsourcing.

I had a family of six to take care of, a wet degree, and a little bit of anxiety at being fresh out of school at 38 in a stagnant economy.

I was hired by Oregon State University's Digital Experience Team (formerly Central Web Services) to develop and instruct a program centered around their Drupal 5 multi-site installation. I knew what Drupal was, but had no real history with it. I did have some limited experience with configuring and running phpBB3 installations, though, and an extensive background in both training development and technical writing. It was enough to get in me in the door, for which I am eternally grateful, as it has provided me with a great career and exposed me to the most dynamic, versatile, and richly diverse framework I could ever imagine.

It should be no surprise that the community reflects these same qualities.

I quickly grew enamored of both.

Since 2008, starting with Drupal 5, I’ve developed Drupal training programs for a variety of different Drupal versions and OSU Drupal distribution configurations. These workshops are provided year round to any member of the Oregon State University community – faculty, staff, or student – at no charge.

Classroom materials, which include step-by-step slide sets and lab materials, are publicly available at my WebTech Training Site. Here you can find a variety of slide sets, FAQ, and a very comprehensive collection of online Drupal instructional articles, feel free to visit at any time. Use of my materials has been formally requested by Yale University, the University of Rochester, the University of Delaware, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

My consultation services have extended to other Oregon education entities such as the Chancellor’s Office of the Oregon University System, the University of Oregon, and the Salem-Keizer school district.

In addition to instructional design and training, I also consult our small, but effective, Drupal team with things such as the configuration of back-end tools to automate file handling, usability, functional / theme testing, and feature development. As a result of our combined efforts, our team has received a 2011 Grand Gold Communications Award from CASE District VIII for our OSU Home Page and a 2012 Silver for our OSU College of Public Health site.

To say that Drupal has changed my life is an understatement. Interestingly enough, it’s also changed some other lives that I’ve been involved with. Students that have been trained in Drupal by me have moved on to become college Drupal administrators, Drupal system administrators for large county networks, and developers for Drupal shops.

This community, and this framework, has impact in lives and economies. It creates bonds that extend beyond the "barriers" of national borderlines and language, and it continues to intrigue and amaze me every step of the way.

Affiliated with: 
Digital Transformation
Research/Career Interests: 

As an ITC III, my duties have a fairly wide scope.

My primary function is to serve as an instructional designer and instructor for the Drupal Content Management System.  The audience I serve ranges from people who have a very limited technology skill base up to exceptionally savvy technologists all throughout the OSU community, and sometimes abroad as well.  

Since 2008, I have built a course of Drupal CMS study that includes ten separate 2-hour workshops.  I am the sole designer, author, editor and instructor of this particular program.  I am also, currently, the sole site-builder and architect of our WebTech training website.

While OSU faculty, staff, and students are my primary audience, I am also sometimes called out to perform special training sessions which have included members of the Salem-Keizer school district, the Oregon University System Chancellor's office, and the University of Oregon.

In addition to consultation for the university's Drupal users, I serve as a primary consultant to our OSU Drupal team regarding functional strategies, feature development, and information architecture that will improve our system, especially in terms of usability for our intended audience.  Between our small team, we manage several hundred Drupal sites on our network, split between production, development, and training environments.

While Drupal consumes the largest part my time, I am also a global administrator and instructor for our web-based OSU Events Calendar and our multi-site WordPress installation.  Interlaced through all of this, I provide first through third level user support for all of these platforms and a smattering of other web-related tasks such as basic media development, information architecture consultation for web optimization, and social media use.

My Publications