College Class Dissects Presidential Debate

Lynchburg, VA - Many have been buzzing Thursday about the presidential debate, including students and teachers. We found a course at Randolph College where the presidential debate is a top priority on the syllabus.

Every four years during election season one RC class dissects the Presidential debates. Thursday, we found students looking at last night's debate with a whole new perspective.

"Why, why does it depend on that? Tell me," said Jennifer Gauthier, associate professor in communications.

Professor Gauthier's communications class typically dives in to ancient texts on rhetoric. But, in this lecture, something different. A modern topic, the presidential debate, gets the floor.

For some students, take Tyler Gilchrist for example, politics and this communications class wasn't much of an interest.

"I was skeptical at first. Rhetoric? I was like, what is rhetoric?" said Tyler Gilchrist, Randolph College junior.

But, this class changed that.

"As we've gotten into the course, it's become more and more interesting, just the way language can influence people and influence yourself," said Gilchrist.

And influence elections. Now, Gilchrist watches the presidential debate and believes it's a crucial test for the next president. In this room, students dissect debates: strategies, the media's role, the history.

"Becoming President is all about persuading, communicating. And so, for this class in particular, it makes a really great example of all the ways words and language have power," said Gauthier.

"It's my favorite class so far," said Alyssa Denisco, Randolph College junior.

Alyssa Denisco's focused on the contenders' body language. And, for most in this room, Romney won that hands down.

"I would like to see more of Obama stepping up and showing...defending himself better," said Denisco.

The class also talked about the role of the moderator in a debate. And agreed Jim Lehrer lost control and did not make sure each candidate gets equal talking time