To help get you oriented with our site, here is a list of the major features available to you and an idea of how you may want to get started!
Judge Academy Courses
As mentioned in our mission statement, Judge Academy seeks to make the gaming environment a better place for players, judges, and organizers alike. We have worked with members from all around the gaming community to develop a curriculum that we feel helps prepare judges to make this vision a reality. Your first stop for this should be to click on Courses from the top menu bar.
The first page you’ll find here is an explanation of our curriculum and overall educational philosophy. If you are intrigued (and we hope you are!) you can find a further link to our complete course catalog.
After clicking, you’ll probably notice that our learning is structured in a visual format you may already be familiar with from many role-playing games – the talent tree. These structures are an excellent way to see where your learning is headed and track your progress towards your judging goals. The overall talent tree can be accessed from the Courses menu at the top of the page and used to navigate our full catalog, but a personalized version will also be located in your Judge Academy profile as you move through the curriculum.
Each talent block represents a topic or feature important to judging. The modules are comprised of a video lesson delivered by a community member or subject matter expert and a quiz to help solidify your knowledge of the material.
When logged in, you can find the link to your Profile at the top right of the page. You’ll then see a series of tab representing your personal interaction with the Judge Academy site.
Your ‘About Me’ tab serves as your Public Profile – what other visitors to the site will see when they view your page. There is an ‘Edit Profile’ option at the bottom of the page which allows you to customize which information is displayed on this page.
You can access your Skill Trees to track your learning progress, and quickly see any Events you’ve got coming up or that you’ve attended in the past.
There are also many options for Privacy Settings – note that while you always have the right to make any and all data private from other users, having some critical information hidden (your profile, name, level, email, or region) will make it much harder to be accepted to events or conferences, or be contacted by potential employers for work.
You can view see any Reviews you’ve written or received from others, set up Notifications for many site actions, and interact with social features like Messaging, Friends, and Activity.
Judge Academy has identified four general groups that represent our user base: Judges, Tournament Organizers, Players, and Game Publishers. These personas represent a top layer of customization to your experience of the site.
We’ve designed the personas to bring each group’s primary functionality right to the forefront, and to provide tools specific to these individuals.
- Judges – The goal with this persona is to make it simple and easy for judges to do the things they do most often – network with judges, find events to judge, and expand their skills and knowledge.
- Tournament Organizers – This Persona is the home for our new Tournament Organizer Program; a set of tools and features designed to develop and certify these specific skills and assist with the tasks of setting up great events. Skill Trees specific to TO’s are found here, as well as documents and resources specific to TO needs.
- Players – The player persona is designed to help gamers find events to join, connect with their friends, and clearly lay out the path to becoming a judge for those who are not already.
- Game Publishers – We wanted to give designers and publishers the ability to reach out to our dedicated and experienced community of judges, and have designed a system whereby opportunities to interact with publishers can be listed, searched, and those connections can be made.
The Judge Academy Events Manager is your one-stop-shop for hosting, staffing, advertising, and attending events and conferences around the world!
- Tournament Organizers – List your events and then use our Application features to find qualified Judges to make sure you event is a success.
- Judges – Find events to apply your skills and join conferences to continually learn, grow, and connect with other Judges.
- Players – Find a place to play and connect with your community.
Judge Academy also supports judge conferences all over the world. You can find more information in Resources section about structures and planning these events. If you are an organizer and would like to submit a request for Judge Academy support for your event you can also find a link to the request form on that page.
If you are interested in being notified when new events are created in your area, you can set up specific alerts on your profile page under Notifications.
Some key aspects of the gaming and judging experience are the networks of colleagues, friends, and communities developed along the way. Judge Academy has a series of tools to help keep everyone connected.
- Friends List – Our friends list allows you to connect to the Judges and gamers you know all over the world and forms the core of our social features.
- Messaging and Forums– A series of forums and a native messaging system on our site keep the conversations going!
- Activity Feed – Once you are Friends with another Judge Academy member you will be able to keep track of significant events in their Judging lives. Did your friend level up? Cheer them on! Are they going to judge an upcoming event? Maybe you’d like to go with them!
Judge Projects and PM Tools
There are so many interesting projects operated by Judges and we are happy to provide a location and tools to help the process. Judge Projects are a fairly open-ended concept. They can be short term tasks or long ongoing efforts. At their core they are groups of judges coming together to work towards a shared goal, usually to help the overall judge community in some way.
There have been numerous organizational, legal and logistical complications that needed to be addressed before Judge Academy could fully incorporate Projects. Judge Projects are independently organized and follow an Open Source model similar to that of software development. Judge Academy cannot direct, manage or control the projects, but we can set up features to help! Specific details about projects can be seen here.
Judge Academy has also deployed a suite of project management tools to assist with both Judge Projects and to aid in the planning and execution of events. These tools will allow users to manage their projects in whichever way is most effective for them – task lists, kanban boards, Gantt charts, or calendars.
Judge Development and Resources
The Resources section contains more information on how certification works, a further description which modules are required for each level, and a general (though not exhaustive) description of each level’s usual function.
We have developed a Resume Creation Tool accessible from your profile to help judges easily present their best accomplishments in a uniform and attractive fashion.
Judges can compliment each other publicly on the skills and talents they have mastered using our Skill Endorsement System. You can hype other judges with the click of a ‘thumbs up’ button on the appropriate skill and it will be visible on a user’s profile with a list of all the other judges who endorsed their abilities.
Finally, the Judge Academy Blog is a great place to keep up to date with what’s going on with us, the site, and judging as a whole.
Judge Academy TO Program
In addition to a Tournament Organizer Persona, 2022 will start to see the evolution of a Skill Tree specifically for organizers. As the landscape of Organized Play changes, our goal is to equip stores and other organizers with the information they need to make their events the best they can be, giving players, judges, and Wizards peace of mind in knowing upcoming events will be successful.
This starts with ensuring that current TOs know Judge Academy best practices around staffing levels, the importance of using certified judges, and an organizer’s roles and responsibilities at events. Those basic classes and our updated event/staffing system will be available to anyone with a Tournament Organizer Persona on their account.
However, we are developing a paid JA Organizer option meant to help Organizers continue to grow and improve their events. Those members will also have access to additional member-only content and tools.