A new application will be given its first major field test tonight when President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney go head to head in the first of the Presidential Debates. The app, developed by researchers at the University of California, Davis, the University of Maryland, and the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, has already been tried by 175 political science professors and 12,000 students.
UC Davis in cooperation with six other universities around the U.S. will hold debate watch events to test the new app. About 100 students are expected to participate in the Davis event. They will be able to see nationwide responses to the debate as they enter in their own reactions onto their mobile devices.
Additionally, thousands of students are expected to test the app from their homes and other locations.
The app will continue to be field tested for all three of the presidential debates and the one vice-presidential debate.
The app has the ability register agreement or disagreement with candidates' arguments. There is also an option for to signal when viewers believe the candidates are spinning or dodging a question.
The students will be asked pre and post-debate survey questions in order to collect demographic information. Developers hope this will better engage the Facebook generation in politics and provide a teaching resource for teachers.
Future uses of the app include but are not limited to, state-of-the-union addresses to sporting events.