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FOS-Fresh Online Services:NalandaU

FOS-Fresh Online Services: by Balaji Viswanathan
Podcast: 16
Language: English

In this edition, Balaji Viswanathan, founder of the educational video aggregation service, NalandaU, speaks about the features of his service.

About Balaji
BE in Computer Science, MS from University of Maryland, worked 3.5 years at Microsoft as developer in Windows, Live Labs and Windows Phone.

Text of the podcast

Hello Everybody. This is Balaji Viswanathan founder of NalandaU.com –a free online virtual university and today I’m going to take you guys through the site and explain how you can benefit from it. To put it simply, NalandaU is a site where you can find top class lecture videos on any major topic and use the videos to learn any subject for free. The lectures are provided by top universities including Massachussets Institute Technology, Harvard, Stanford, Yale and Indian Institutes of Technology, and motivated independent teachers who are experts in their topic. The videos give you a feel of a classroom and professors walk you through the courses in the same way they do when you sit in a real classroom. The lectures are a courtesy of the Open education movement started 10 years ago that includes many of the biggest universities in the world. While watching the lectures you can also take notes in the page and view the notes from all courses from a single location, by clicking my notes at the top. In many courses there are text material from Wikipedia, text links to relevant sources and online tests that will complement the lecture videos and help in further increasing the knowledge. The link my grades at the top help you manage your grades from the tests. At some point in the future we want to hook this up to online certification programs to help you gain credit for scoring high marks on them.

Lectures and the associated materials are grouped into courses like say History of India, which are then grouped into subjects like History, Chemical Engineering etc. and these subjects are grouped into departments such as Engineering, Sciences, Medicine etc. Currently we have about 7000 lectures grouped into about 330 courses in 60 subjects in 10departments, compassing almost all topics covered in a typical major university. The topics range from physics to guitar to web development to business strategy and would interest a student from Engineering, Sciences, fine arts, humanities, linguistics, management and law – in short almost everybody. The search has feature to suggest you courses as you type and the course results are grouped by subjects. Courses also have related courses that are typically suggestions for students to take next topics. Throughout the site we have taken care to provide enough information but without intimidation and distraction. All courses are manually constructed after pruning out irrelevant information.

I went to some really small schools without proper furniture and books in rural India, and I have seen so many hungry for education but having no real means to get it. I hope to take Harvard and Stanford to those dreamy eyes and hungry minds. This is a dream project for me and I hope you guys like it.


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