First Advisor

Sy Adler

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies




Telecommunication policy -- Oregon, Telecommunication policy -- Colorado, Telecommunication policy -- Utah



Physical Description

2, ix, 171 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Prior research on statewide educational telecommunications has focused on cataloging initiatives in various states, describing activities in individual states, or in exploring telecommunications policy from a planning-level perspective. In these studies, it is recognized that policies and implementation behaviors vary across individual states; however, a theoretical basis for how and why policy and implementation models differ among states has not been provided. Research also suggests that many states are moving toward the adoption of successful models from other states, and that there is a need for policy research to assist states in developing policies. This dissertation attempts to apply the systems perspective in organization theory (Thompson 1967; Mintzberg 1983) and concepts from political feasibility analysis (Meltsner 1972; Webber 1986) to qualitative data on educational telecommunications systems in three western states: Oregon, Colorado, and Utah. The research will provide descriptions of activities that can be referred to by state policy makers in evaluating the feasibility of adopting another state's planning model, and in developing their own policies. The research also will contribute to the growing literature on state policies and implementation models for distance education. The three states represent models of educational telecommunications systems prevalent in the U.S., and each differs in the level of statewide planning, governance, finance, and delivery of educational telecommunication represented by its model. Interviews with policy makers and practitioners in each state, combined with documentary evidence and prior research, provide descriptions of organizational responses to statewide policy and planning for distance education. Conclusions indicate that state policies are lagging behind technological change, and that variations in policy and planning among states result from constraints and contingencies imposed on institutions by contextual variables peculiar to each state. States that engage in careful planning for statewide telecommunications, taking into account the political culture, organizational behaviors, and historical relationships between higher education and state government, will have the greatest success in developing and implementing policies.


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