Behind the Scenes of an E-learning Platform

Sonam Ambe and Gita Balakrishnan

Volume 9, Issue 1, September 2022
pp. 84 – 90

Sonam Ambe is the Chief-in-Pedagogy at Acedge, an e-learning platform for architects. She is an alumnus of Sir J.J. College of Architecture and IIT Bombay. She was conferred the MASA Best Teachers Award 2016 and has also received the Saint Gobain Scholarship-2018, Ministry of Culture Grant 2017 and the Sahapedia–UNESCO Fellowship-2018. She has authored five books on diverse subjects of art, nature and heritage.

Gita Balakrishnan completed a 1700km journey on foot from Kolkata to New Delhi to raise awareness on the role good design can play in changing lives. A graduate of SPA Delhi, she trained at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. She started Ethos in 2002 with the intention of making the architectural and civil engineering community alive to the changes happening globally and in our country in the field of architecture and construction. Ethos launched ACEDGE in August 2018 – to offer online education modules that give the EDGE in the field of Architecture, Construction, Engineering and Design.,

In this practice essay, Sonam Ambe and Gita Balakrishnan from Acedge write about their journey of operating an e-learning platform for students of architecture, something that was a new paradigm in teaching architecture, but soon the COVID pandemic made everyone embrace it. The authors have shared experiences of their academic practice – of a kind which is not tied to a single location or source, affords numerous freedoms, and it is here to stay even if the schools have switched back to the physical mode.

Can architecture be taught online?

It is spatial, experiential, and intimate.

You think it, sketch it, plan it, draft it, discuss it, alter it, detail it, and finally execute it. As a beginner you learn best by exploring good architecture and experiencing bad architecture; one inspires you and the other warns you.

Yet, when the pandemic induced lockdowns forced the world to go digital, teaching of design and architecture had to go online too, like everything else. Was this successful? Did it lower the quality of education? How does anyone practice teaching of architecture via online media? In this essay, we will address these questions and give our recommendations.

At Acedge, we had been experimenting with the online mode much before the pandemic struck and were in a good position to tackle this challenge and offer our services to academia. Acedge was founded in 2018 to help create a level-playing field by bridging the gaps existing in design exposure. We strive to create content that is relevant to real-life situations and contextual to our country while equipping the fraternity with skills necessary for professional life. The field of Architecture Construction Engineering and Design (ACED) is undergoing a significant transformation in recent times and our modes of learning need to keep pace with it. With this in mind, Acedge hosts sessions on coding, BIM, computational tools, artificial intelligence, environmental analysis, etc. that focus on software upskilling. The computer is the best medium to learn these from. So Acedge teaches software skills. It’s axiomatic!


Click here for full article