AHI Intern Scott Milne Helps to Create New Online Western Civilization Text
AHI summer intern Scott Milne
Scott Milne, an undergraduate history major from Culver City, California, spent his summer as an intern at the Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI), working with AHI Resident Fellow Christopher Hill to develop a new online Western Civilization text and sourcebook. Currently, many textbooks are produced under pressure from various activist groups to conform to their own special, ideological interests. The typical result is a watered-down, “politically correct” version of history where the accomplishments of Western Civilization are downplayed, and marginal figures receive more space than the truly great. In the world of high school textbooks in particular, such textbooks disserve students while, ironically, commanding extraordinarily high prices, usually paid by taxpayers.
Scott Milne worked with Dr. Hill in developing a website that would synthesize text, video lectures, and direct links to primary sources in pursuit of a deeper learning experience. The text would be both rigorous and flexible in content so as to align with various state and local standards for accreditation. The videos would feature professors, including the AHI’s own, giving brief lectures on the topic at hand. The narrative would include instant links to primary sources. Best of all, access to the site would cost a fraction of what publishers charge for their paper offerings, while being easily upgradable and expandable. The AHI hopes to solicit private donors to help defray the cost of building and maintaining the site, in order to further lower the access price for students.
Milne’s task was to build a sample site and test the viability of the concept. Dr. Hill provided a solid design in Photoshop that Milne tinkered with and polished but kept mostly intact. From this design he created the site using HTML and CSS in the program Dreamweaver, a website composition program. Milne spent the summer brushing up and honing his web-design skills, while at the same time considering the project’s larger implications. His work has resulted in an excellent prototype website, of which he is justly proud. In commenting on Milne’s performance, Dr. Hill gave effusive praise. “The site simply couldn’t be where it is if not for Scott’s hard work. He buckled down like a trooper, and built something just terrific. I couldn’t have asked for a better performance. He was simply invaluable.”
“The project was challenging and stimulating,” Milne commented. “In between running the AHI’s bookstore and helping around the AHI, I also had time to read some of the great books that will figure prominently in this project. The AHI’s summer conference on Natural Law was especially relevant, and the scholarly panel helped illuminate for me a complicated topic that was a central theme of Western culture for millennia. I thank Dr. Hill and Professor Paquette for a fulfilling summer at the AHI and wish them good luck with the coming year. “The AHI thanks Scott for his dedicated service to higher education reform.