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Architecture Research Methodology: Open Ed Resources

This guide is relevant to Y4 and M.Arch students embarking on dissertation writing.

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. -- The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Introduction to OER - why, what & how to use?

To avoid duplication of content, please refer to NUS Libraries' guide on Open Educational Resources if you are exploring OER and want to know more about using them. 

1. Overview of OER

2. Major repositories of OER

3. NUS Libraries' Open e-books which are relevant to the School of Design & Environment

4. How to cite/acknowledge your OER source

Noteworthy OER

Open Knowledge Repository

The work of World Bank covers 183 countries in the world on multiple facets of tackling issues and approaches to reducing poverty. Hence, World Bank’s Open Knowledge Repository is a rich trove of Annual Reports, Books, Journals, Technical Papers and reports from their Economic and Sector Work, and datasets from their numerous surveys from 2000 onwards. Useful if you are looking for Development-related work especially areas ranging from AIDS/HIV to Urbanization. For students working in Urban Planning, Public Policy and Economics, the City Development Strategy reports include a 6-part series on the Melaka Sustainability Outlook Diagnostic (2019).

Online courses

Global Architectural History Teaching Collective (GAHTC) (

A resource funded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has administrative links to MIT's School of Architecture and Planning. There are over 300 lectures on different aspects and approach to the study of Global Architecture offered by educators from around the world. Register for a free account to access the content and learning materials, and learn at your own pace. 

TU Delft University OpenCourseWare (

Filter by language ‘English’, and browse areas Architecture, Sustainable Development, Biomechanical Design, Industrial Design Engineering and Water Management. For example, the self-contained module titled “Urban Design for the Public Good: Dutch Urbanism”, see and “Engineering Design for a Circular Economy”, see

I encourage you to explore TU Delft's OpenCourseWare site further for Open Access Books on Architecture and the Built Environment, and for self-learning modules for commonly used Architecture software such as AutoCAD and Revit. 


MIT OpenCourseware (

Filter by Department (School of Architecture & Planning) or by Topic (Fine Arts), then by sub-areas if available. For example, under Architecture History and Criticism : Ana MiljaĨki. 4.210 Precedents in Critical Practice. Fall 2012. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA. You can also locate the module from OERCommons:


Youtube is the ultimate OER where you can teach yourself many, many useful things as long as you keep in mind that they are a lot of fake claims, often in the guise of a list of “World’s Best, Unbeatable, Top ” and so on, so take a critical (and skeptical) stand on the claims of such videos. There are also ‘sales-pitch’ and ‘marketing’ videos used to market courses and degrees offered by institutions to fee-paying students … it's all part of the social media landscape and you must remember that you can waste a lot of time watching Youtube.

Youtube videos are freely available, searchable and often fun and funny, e.g. ‘life hacks’ such as getting through your architecture degree, making presentations, time management and life in general :) You should not re-use Youtube videos freely without checking with the creator, but you can certainly share them with proper attribution.   

Videos associated with techniques, how-to, use of XYZ software are more useful and relevant. For example, techniques in drafting, shading, colour selection and rendering; specific use of software such as SketchUp, 3D Max, AutoCAD (and the related Autodesk software such as Revit for BIM), Rhino, and the Adobe suite of software for creating videos, and ‘How-to’ videos for model-making, construction methods, 3-D printing, and basic coding.


Sick of reading and videos? Try listening to podcasts. All you need is an app that you can subscribe to podcasts (on your phone or on your computer) and look for stuff that you want to listen to.

I've used Spotify, Soundcloud and subscribed to Podcasts from the Guardian News and BBC. They are great on long bus trips and brisk walks when you want to tune noise out/ignore people.



I welcome suggestions from NUS students and staff on OERs to feature on this guide as I review it on a quarterly basis. Please email me.