With Enrollment Down UArizona Offers Eligible Age of Empires IV Players Class Credit

future students to "make history their story" while they earn credit toward their college degrees

age of empires class

Desperate times call for desperate measures and it appears Arizona’s public universities are getting desperate. The masterminds at the University of Arizona might be the most desperate of all, given their latest attempt to attract students involves the popular video game Age Of Empires.

The universities’ desperation stems from a new report by the Arizona Board of Regents that found fewer than half of Arizona high school graduates enrolled in a four- or two-year program. In fact, while approximately 52.9% of 2019 AZ high school graduates enrolled in college, that number dropped to just 46.3% in 2021.

The Regents argue in the report that this decrease is a concern because it will impact the workforce and the quality of Arizona’s labor market.

While it is hard to imagine just how the University of Arizona’s partnership with Microsoft’s World’s Edge studio and Relic Entertainment will prepare students for the workforce or improve the quality of the labor market, it will surely draw some high schoolers to choose a college path at least temporarily.

Starting in early 2022, Age of Empires IV players will be able to interact with special educational content on the Age of Empires website. The content, which supplements the historical storytelling in the Age of Empires IV campaign, was developed by two members of the University of Arizona Department of History – associate professor of medieval history Paul Milliman and department head Alison Futrell, an associate professor of Roman history. Based on admission status with the University of Arizona, engaging with the content could allow players to earn one academic credit at the university.

“I’m putting together a course targeted specifically for people coming to the university through playing the game, who are not currently students. It will help them transition from being gamers to being students,” Millman said. “I’m going to teach a different version of it for students who are already here, but this will get online students familiar with doing historical research and being a university student. There won’t be any textbooks or tests. It will be project-focused and based on the experiences they had playing the game with our additional content.”

Milliman and Futrell hope the first credit earned by playing the game also will be a first step for many players toward earning a history degree from UArizona.

Getting history students enrolled will be just the first of several challenges facing the university. Greater still may be that a degree in History is not found anywhere among the ten most employable degrees:

History is not among the ten most employable degrees:

  1. Medicine & dentistry – 99%.
  2. Veterinary Science – 98%.
  3. Subjects allied to medicine – 93%.
  4. Architecture, building & planning – 92%.
  5. Education – 90%.
  6. Engineering & technology – 85%.
  7. Computer Science – 80%.
  8. Mathematical sciences – 79%.
  9. Business studies – 75%.
  10. Law – 74%.

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