Werden vs. Sein
I have come across a lot of sentences where I have seen use of "wird" instead of "ist", for e.g. Technik wird in diesem Institut nicht angeboten..Here, just like most germans, Duolingo uses wird instead of ist. Although grammar books usually say werden is used primarily in passive or forming future tense. However, the given sentence is not future. And there are many such cases out there where one will see use of "wird". Does anybody know the grammatical reasoning behind it?
It's the passive voice. In the present tense, the German passive always uses the verb "werden". "ist" or any other form "sein" would be wrong. You might want to read this: http://german.about.com/library/weekly/aa012901a.htm
I see your problem now. Maybe this will help. present tense, active voice: Dieses Institut bietet Technik nicht an. present tense, passive voice: Technik wird in diesem Institut nicht angeboten. future tense, active voice: Dieses Institut wird Technik nicht anbieten. future tense, passive voice: In diesem Institut wird Technik nicht angeboten werden. NB: The present tense passive voice can also refer to the future (it's still passive though). More often than not, there are keywords that tell you if this is the case: nächstes Jahr, noch, bald, demnächst...
It's passive. "To form the passive, German uses werden (to become) + the past participle."
In this case, they are using "werden" plus a past participle of a verb to from the present tense. The present tense in German is always stated in the passive voice. So this sentence translates to, "Engineering is not offered at this institution." Here's another example of the German present tense:
"Wir werden gerade beobachtet" Which translates to: "we are being watched right now"