The Medieval Open Access Resource (OAR) Sweet Sixteen Playoffs

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A Middle Ages for Educators (MAFE) Initiative 

Co-sponsored by The Medieval Academy of America's K-12, 2025 Annual Meeting,

and Centennial Grants Committees

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Rationale

K-12 and undergraduate educators increasingly rely upon online materials to supplement in-class instruction or simply introduce their students to new or out-of-the-ordinary concepts. However, finding high quality Open Access Resources (OARs) about the Middle Ages can be challenging. Although many resources are available online, instructors must first know that these materials exist and then decide whether they are trustworthy.

UPLOAD SUBMISSION HERE

MAFE is always looking to expand both its content and user base and bring engaging materials about the medieval past to educators and the general public. We therefore propose a good-natured competition among medievalist colleagues to encourage contributions to the site, make educators aware of these OARs, and solicit K-12 educator expertise in creating and disseminating these same materials.

The competition will be structured as a bracketed tournament featuring sixteen initial competitors in a single elimination competition. Initial submissions will be judged by a panel of K-12 educators and feedback will be offered, then final decisions made by public viewing and online polling.

All semi-finalists will be invited to the MAA 2025 Centennial meeting in Boston to present their projects. They will also receive a cash prize for their contributions and a stipend to attend a roundtable on creating effective OARs for Medieval Studies.

Rules and Deadlines

The competition will take place as follows:

  1. Applicants will create a webpage on any medieval topic (generously defined) according to the MAFE page template (sample), to include the following:
    1.  A title for the contribution, the contributor name and professional role, and a 1-3 sentence introduction to the resource
    2.  A 5-10 minute video introducing the topic
    3.  A primary source document, preferably in English, if applicable
    4.  A list of 2-4 resources for further reading - these can be online links or print references
    5.  A list of 2-3 discussion questions
  2. Submissions should be uploaded using this form. Queries may be sent to Laura Morreale (MAFE Co-editor) at [email protected], with the subject line "MAFE OAR Sweet 16 Submission"
  3. All submissions must be in by 12 pm EST November 1, 2024 for consideration by the judges.
  4.  A panel of 3 judges who are also K-12 educators will assess the incoming submissions and establish a group of 16 tournament contenders; the 16 tournament participants will all win a cash prize of $200 and their materials published on Middle Ages for Educators.
  5. Starting in early December 2024, a public-facing tournament will take place using social media polls to determine which pages advance to the next round according to the number of votes each contribution receives.
  6. The quarter-final round will take place the last week in December. Semi-finalists will be announced by December 31. All semi-finalists will receive a (limited) travel stipend to attend the meeting in Boston in March 2025.
  7. The contributions of all 4 semi-finalists will be discussed at an MAA roundtable on creating effective OARs for classroom and public-facing use, featuring the 3 judges, all 4 semi-finalists, and the MAFE co-editors.
  8. The winner of the competition will be announced at the end of the session. All semi-finalists will receive a $250 cash prize and the winner $1000.

Results

Aside from the immediate benefits of increasing the OAR medieval content on MAFE, this competition will 

  • Encourage medievalists to think about web-based dissemination of scholarly materials and learn what is effective for that medium;
  • Reward those who embrace public-facing scholarship and spark discussion about how it is accomplished;
  • Solicit feedback from K-12 educators on the kinds of materials they need to introduce the Middle Ages in their classrooms;
  • Communicate the field’s respect for K-12 students and educators and integrate them into community-based initiatives;
  • Promote an ongoing OAR project in medieval studies (MAFE) and support its growth through future contributions from colleagues.

Contact

For all questions, concerns contact MAFE Co-editor Laura Morreale at [email protected]