For some, the subject of Boston history isn’t the most alluring and sexy topic of learning. Understandably, trying to digest puritanical values and read documents in 17th century English can be enough to prompt even the sharpest mind to snooze. So to entice a younger demographic to learn about the city’s celebrated pedigree, a new online history class will be incorporating social media and digital interaction components into its curriculum.
History of Boston is a free online course that will be available beginning October 20; however, registration is already open. It’s taught by noted Boston historian and Suffolk University Professor and Department of History Chair Robert Allison. What separates this online learning platform from the rest is how its engaging facets are more likely to resonate with the students who enroll using contemporary learning methods courtesy of the Digital Age.
“We wanted to make the course as engaging as possible to keep people’s attention and make it as entertaining and enjoyable as we could,”Lindsay McGrath, co-producer of History of Boston told BostInno in an email. “Since everybody today is on Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms we thought it would be important to build those platforms into the course.”
As you might expect, this isn’t a class evaluated using the traditional ‘A’ through ‘F’ grading scale. Rather, students will earn badges through playing games within the course, including a scavenger hunt where the user takes a time machine back to “to thwart a dastardly villain who is trying to change the course of events ,” added McGrath. Whoa.
Every item found in the scavenger hunt results in a Boston-esque badge the likes of which include: Beanpot, Chowdah, Codfish, Duckboat, Lantern, Liberty Tree, Musket, Swan Boat, Tea Party, Witch and more.
Not only will this exemplify your burgeoning knowledge of Boston yore, but you can also share your winnings across your social media network of choice, and hopefully entice others to enroll in future classes.
Also available online will be virtual tours of historically significant locales; interviews with such notable Bostonians as Mayors Marty Walsh, Tom Menino, Ray Flynn, as well as Billy Bulger and Mel King; and over 100 location video.
“We tried to think of this as a documentary or TV show about Boston history as much as an online course,” continued McGrath.
The course if free and open to anyone who’s interested, and course producers Suffolk and Digital Cowboys won’t be making a single cent off your eager brains.
“This is a public service to the city of Boston and we are not making any revenue from it,” said McGrath in closing. “In fact, if anyone donates to the effort, we use that money to help promote the course as broadly as possible around the world.”
See you all online. I’ll be the guy with all the badges.