Age of Empires IV Players Eligible for UArizona Credit Through History Department Collaboration

Hello, Gamer-Historians!   

Current and future University of Arizona students can earn a unit of credit through a unique partnership between Microsoft and the University of Arizona.  Find out how here: 

Once you have earned this credit you are eligible to take a special course I have designed just for you! HIST 297B: Playing and Making History with Age of Empires IV is a seven-week bridge course in which you will build on your experiences playing the University of Arizona Online Enhanced Experience for Age of Empires IV.  It will help you apply the history you learned playing Age of Empires IV so you can make history your story by doing your own historical research and presenting it in engaging ways.  There aren’t any textbooks or tests or term papers in this course.  Instead, this is an applied history course in which you will engage in experimental and experiential learning to demonstrate your historical thinking skills. 

Because maps are so central to Age of Empires IV, you will present your research by creating interactive StoryMaps [] of parts of the campaigns you fought in Age of Empires IV.  This is your chance to do deep dives into the events you played in Age of Empires IV.   These StoryMaps, which map both space and time, are particularly useful for doing research in medieval history because they present a very medieval way of looking at history and geography through their resemblance to mappae mundi (medieval maps of the world – see some examples here:, which also used images and texts to tell stories about the past as well as the present and the future.

I will guide you to finding the best historical sources to tell your own story of these events and provide workshops to show you how to create engaging StoryMaps.  Best of all, you will produce your own Hands-on-History videos on topics of your choice to accompany your StoryMaps.  The best way to learn anything is by doing it and then teaching others about it.  This is your chance to learn and teach about things you are passionate about, just like the Hands-on-History videos in the game!  You can share this research not only with me and your classmates, but also with family, friends, and even potential employers.

Are you ready to make history your story?  Let’s make history together!

Paul Milliman
Associate Professor of Medieval History
University of Arizona

p.s. While you are waiting for the course to start, you can check out some of my favorite medieval resources to learn more about the history in Age of Empires IV.  I will add more resources to this website so please check back for updates. 

In the meantime, let’s begin where the Norman campaign and our Illuminated Histories began, with the Bayeux Tapestry.  This five-part podcast is hosted by the people who wrote the book on the Bayeux Tapestry, and their guests are some of the world’s leading experts on the world in which this primary source was created:

Or, maybe you would like to try cooking a medieval feast.  If so, check out this blog from the British Museum:, and also check out all the great culinary resources on my favorite medieval website,