I challenge you to a duel. . . online?
In Tennessee, the state constitution says, “Any person who shall, … fight a duel, or knowingly be the bearer of a challenge to fight a duel, or send or accept a challenge for that purpose, or be an aider or abettor in fighting a duel, shall be deprived of the right to hold any office of honor or profit in this state, and shall be punished otherwise.” While I suppose there was a time when this law kept scoundrels out of office, it seems like perhaps it isn’t relevant anymore. At a time when “distance learning” meant correspondence courses handled largely through snail mail, the Department of Defense determined that distance learning graduates were less likely to complete their first term of service successfully. As a result, they relegated distance learning graduates to Tier 2 status, which is then limited to 2%-10% of new recruits, depending on the branch. While I understand and agree with the idea of screening candidates for likelihood of success, the standards are now outdated.
The Department of Education performed a review of online learning studies in 2009, and determined that web-based technologies “are a far cry from the televised broadcasts and videoconferencing that characterized earlier generations of distance education.” It then stated that, “Students in online conditions performed modestly better, on average, than those learning the same material through traditional face-to-face instruction.”
While the Tennessee law has not been used to keep any duelers out of office in recent memory, the military is missing out on potentially terrific recruits each day. I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that our government is a bit slow to change with the times (or that one Department isn’t working closely with another), but it’s time to revisit this dated policy and open doors for the 200,000 students enrolled in full-time online schools around the country.