Background to the M.Sc.(CS-FOSS) Program
The manner in which the
science of computing is being utilized by the Software and IT
industry has been seeing dramatic changes in recent years . The Net,
the Web , Mobility etc are the very life breath of the new
information industry, and the manner in which new technologies,
products and applications are being developed and deployed depend
heavily on the processes of collaboration, distributed team work,
sharing, reuse, openness, scalability, community-driven processes,
The Free/Open Source
Software (FOSS) Movement that has altered the field of computing in
many fundamental ways is a key driver of these changes being
witnessed in today’s information industry, as embodied in Web 2.0,
Mobile Computing, Cloud Computing, Embedded/ Real-time Computing,
Geo-spatial Computing ,etc. In addition to contributing Products,
Technologies and Solutions that are at the very cutting edge of
today’s information industry, FOSS has also impacted strongly on
the approaches, processes and methods of developing and delivering
SW/IT products and services of ever increasing sophistication and
ongoing revolution in the world of practical computing does not find
much reflection in the curricula, syllabi, methods and processes of
Computer and IT Education in our country -- one of the eventual
consequences of this being that our SW/IT graduates are far from
being ‘industry-ready’. If our graduates have to be good enough
for today’s (and tomorrow’s) world of computing, and if we need
to do so in numbers running into millions, then it would need a
dramatic shift in the paradigms, approaches, processes, techniques
and tools of teaching-learning in the filed of Software and IT. And
given the critical importance of the SW/IT domain in the nation’s
Industry and Economy, India has to pioneer this shift with bold
experimentation and innovation in the field of computer science
education so that we as a nation can build on the strengths we have
acquired in this field globally.
Launching of the two-year
Online M.Sc. (Computer Science – Free/Open Source Software) Program
by Anna University Chennai under its Distance Education Department
represents one such pioneering step. Motivation and support for this
initiative have also come from the NRCFOSS
Project funded by the Dept.
of Inf. Tech, Ministry of Communication and Inf. Technologies, Govt.
of India, and coordinated by C-DAC Chennai, of which Anna
University/AU-KBC Research Centre has been a participating
institution since its inception.
The objectives of the
Within the broad context
mentioned above, this Online Program has goals and objectives that
include the following:
Evolve an affordable
mode of imparting quality SW/IT Education at the university level
that can scale with the future needs of the industry and society in
a cost effective manner.
Train the students
formally in the philosophy, approaches, methods, technologies, tools
and solutions of FOSS so that they can bring in innovation and
creativity into the industry, leading to quality IT products and
solutions that are affordable to the masses. The program would help
address the needs of the Industry and Government for manpower well
trained in FOSS.
knowledge and skills to large numbers of students with out
sacrificing quality by the use of effective online, web-based and
interactive processes and techniques that are already in use world
Impart a high level
of ‘industry readiness’ to the students by basing all teaching
and learning on the use of proven real world products,
technologies, processes and standards from the FOSS domain – the
learning environment that the students see will not be fundamentally
different from the industry environment as far as the SW packages
and tools used are concerned.
Realise and deploy
all parts of the Online Program (content creation, content delivery,
inter-activeness, evaluation etc) using available FOSS products and
solutions so as to make the program itself a powerful demonstration
of the maturity of today’s FOSS technologies and products.
opportunity to non-SW/IT graduates, including working people from
all over the country, to acquire a SW/IT degree from a reputed
university in a flexible manner. SW/IT industry could also use this
program to equip their engineers with specialized FOSS skills
without having to send them away to the class rooms.
Despite the strong
emphasis on FOSS, it is expected that the graduates of this program
would fit into the broad needs of the Indian SW/IT market like the
BE s , B. Tech s, MCA s etc. coming out of the regular programs.