The Debate


Ashley Madison scandals, abortion financing deals, platform arguments, protests, social media, and a debate…

These, and many more events have peppered “The Debate” (, an Alternate Reality Learning Experience at Saint Leo University.

During the Fall term (2015), 7 disciplines and 9 classes came together by answering the question, “What would happen if Saint Leo University hosted a Presidential Debate?”  Combining the best parts of an Alternate Reality Game with a fully immersive simulation, all aligned to appropriate outcomes and learning objectives, students have experienced a Presidential campaign from an insider’s perspective.  The converging classes and strategies will culminate in a live debate on November 13, 2015 at 7pm.

What classes / disciplines participated?  Social Media Marketing (Jones / Pantzalis); The Presidency (Orlando); Oral Communication (Embry); Education Governance (Roberts); Personalities (Laverghetta); Graphic Design (Toole); Critical Incident Management (Nunez / Vendrell) are all participating classes in the experience.

  • Political science supplied the two parties – complete with communication officers, strategists, campaign managers, VP candidates, and of course, two Presidential nominees.
  • Psychology, Education, and Communication provided pundits who interviewed, argued against, and rallied for various candidates and positions. The three moderators for each debate will come from these classes.  They have also acted as consultants when appropriate.  (Ex: Psychology students ran personality analysis of the candidates to try and explain how to leverage or marginalize natural tendencies, etc)
  • Criminal Justice will assessed the campus for threat levels, monitoring physical and virtual threats along the way.
  • Social Media / Marketing provided support for candidates through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other social engines. These feeds include live events, interviews, etc.
  • Video Production filmed all candidate interactions, from interviews to commercials to the debates themselves (both VP and President), including live streaming the final event.

Attending the final debate will be students, faculty, administration, and the community, including media as well as invited dignitaries from various levels of Government.  This converging event will surely be a powerful learning experience for the students involved, and likely an entertaining and eye-opening experience for everyone.  Will the mock debate winner (and ensuing vote getter) be a predictor for the national campaigns running now?  We invite you to come to Saint Leo on November 13th and find out.

About Jeff Borden

My title at work is ‘Chief Innovation Officer.’ So I'm trying to transform teaching and learning at scale. How do I do that? Through my "life" jobs. Primarily, I'm a dad and husband. But I'm also a professor, writer, professional speaker, comedian, researcher, lifelong learner, musician, dog-owner, and even a ranked disc golfer... I've spoken to, trained, or consulted with hundreds of thousands of educators at all levels, in numerous countries, K-20, about how to teach and learn effectively in the 21st Century.

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