Since its release on May 23, 2010, visitors have been discovering Blackstone Valley 101, the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor’s Corridor new on-line learning program. The program allows anyone with a computer to explore the history, people, culture, and resources of the Blackstone Valley in a 40 minute self-directed format. “This program gives us a new avenue to tell our nationally significant story,” says Valerie Paul, Volunteer Coordinator and developer of the program.
The program uses computer-based learning technology to present a narrated program accessible from any computer. At the completion of five brief chapters, users can take an optional short quiz. If they choose, they may also request a Blackstone Valley 101 pin to signify their successful completion of the program.
The program was originally designed for adults to do on their own, but Paul says she is hearing from more and more people who are using it in unique ways. Recently, Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary in Worcester, MA began requiring their staff to complete the program as part of their ongoing training. A home schooling association has begun to explore ways to use it as part of a home-based curriculum. Residents at Atria Draper Place Senior Living in Hopedale, MA recently completed the program together as part of a life-long learning program. Paul has also designed a program for scouts in conjunction with the Scout Ranger badge offered through the National Park Service.
As of November 11, just over 350 individuals had participated in the program, with more than 200 people competing the quiz and receiving the Blackstone Valley 101 pin. While the majority of those completing the program are from the Blackstone Valley, Paul reports that Blackstone Valley 101 pins have been sent to individuals in 14 different states, from Maine to California.
Blackstone Valley 101 can be found on the Corridor’s website at nps.gov/blac.