You are here:

‘Sugar coat the educational pill’: The educational aspirations of emergent film, radio, and television

, Indiana University, United States

Doctor of Philosophy, Indiana University . Awarded


Each emergence of a new media technology in the United States has historically prompted interest in the classroom functions and broader educational uses of media. The significant interest in successive new media speaks to the importance and promise of progressive education in American culture, as well as to the envisioned utopian potential of "new" media by educators, cultural commentators, and various sectors of the media industries. Looking broadly across the first half of the twentieth century, this dissertation examines classroom media, a long overlooked popular nontheatrical form, in light of the discourse concerning the educational uses of film, radio, and television that circulated widely through the public sphere.

Using archival research and period discourse that appeared in general interest magazines, trade journals, books, and newspapers, this project explores the moments when new media technologies are debated in a public forum. By investigating the three media forms in conjunction with one another, the dissertation underscores the historical interconnections between and across media technologies, including how the cultural reception of each medium influenced the introductions of subsequent media forms. The combination of archival research and technology studies further serves as an example of the possibilities of using interdisciplinary media inquiries to uncover vibrant, but heretofore overlooked moments in American cultural history, and to better understand the historical context of educational debates that continue to this day.


Keeler, A.R. ‘Sugar coat the educational pill’: The educational aspirations of emergent film, radio, and television. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, Indiana University. Retrieved June 19, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 22, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or