Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Kathryn Newfont


Through a series of historical case studies of individual states within the multi-state region of the Appalachian mountain range, as well as the region as a whole, this dissertation examines educational television (ETV) operations, both at the network level and that of individual stations. Though mostly thought of as “public television”—an educational and noncommercial alternative to mainstream broadcast media—these ETV networks offered, I argue, something more analogous to present-day understandings of distance education and the use of instructional media and technology. Station directors, philanthropic benefactors, and school administrators took different approaches to providing the service of ETV, but all were motivated by the prospect of ETV as an instrument of educational equity and a compensatory resource for regions with unequal educational outcomes. Appalachia as a region has historically experienced under-resourced public schooling systems and educational opportunities for working adults. Through television programs, available either in formal classrooms and other schooling spaces, or at home, ETV networks sought to provide some redress to the struggling region. Educators, working within the medium of educational television, and in consultation with the teachers they endeavored to serve, envisioned new technological spaces for interaction and learning, believing that if it were it to be offered astutely, then students at all walks of life, regardless of the endowment of their local schools and communities, could receive through ETV, at little or no cost to them, some of the best resources available in the state and nation to complete an education.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)