Innovative Teaching Resources for Online Learning
During the COVID-19 Pandemic educators have come together around the world to create and share new online content that radically rethinks best practices.
Middle Ages for Educators has been a pioneer in these transformational online efforts, which aims to democratize access to information, digital learning, and medieval resources. It offers a vast array of materials for teachers, students, and members of the broader public to learn about Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (c. 300-1500 C.E.).
The newly-revamped version of the website, Middle Ages for Educators, offers improved access and curation of multimedia content created specifically for online teaching, introductions to digital projects that can be used in classrooms, workshops for using digital tools, and curated links to associated websites with medieval content and materials. The website is a one stop shop for teachers at all levels to create new lesson plans, build videos and podcasts into their existing lessons, and provide ways of flipping their current classroom experience, and facilitating student projects and research.
“Middle Ages for Educators is the first of its kind in medieval and late antique studies,” said co-founder Merle Eisenberg, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. “Covid has forced so many of us to rethink how we teach and once we started looking we realized there were so many online resources that could and should be included in lesson plans, so our website provides those online tools for users.”
“March 2020 and sudden turn to online teaching was a real wake up call for late antique and medieval studies, which has already been at the forefront already of digital education, but it was an important step to bring it all together in one open-access place,” added co-founder Sara McDougall, associate professor of history at John Jay College and the CUNY Graduate Center. “With libraries and offices suddenly closed, teachers overnight were confronted with the need for primary sources, discussion questions, and other web resources, so we have created a place for people to have that content as well as ways to connect and collaborate with experts in the field.”
“Having led many digital projects over the course of my career, I knew that the skills and resources were already there, so we reached out to many people who responded enthusiastically by sharing what they had and creating new content,” said co-founder Laura Morreale. “Students had all types of new questions, such as what was it like to live through a plague in the past, and we worked with educators to create content that addressed that question and many others.”
The website was first launched in early April 2020 as an immediate way to provide content to educators and was an immediate success. Over the course of its first 8 months it had over 25,000 visitors, including 19,000 unique users and it was used in courses at schools across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom including: the U.S. Naval Academy, the University of Rochester, Middlebury, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of Toronto, and Oxford. But the site needed a permanent home and a remodel, which Princeton University’s Program in Medieval Studies provided.
“When Merle, Sara, and Laura first reached out to me, I knew immediately that this was an important project that has already had a tremendous impact, but will become even more important as an educational site in the future for late antique and medieval studies both in the U.S. and around the world,” said Helmut Reimitz, professor of history at Princeton University and director of the Program in Medieval Studies. “This website will help make Princeton the go-to place for online resources for many years to come. I am excited to help continue to build this project, including our upcoming expansion plans to add new resources, tools, and materials over the next six months.”
The revamped website is available for use by educators anywhere. We welcome inquiries for additional material to add.
Contact: Merle Eisenberg, 917-576-1449, firstname.lastname@example.org