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Political Debate Courses

Take free online political debate courses and learn about arguments in current events on edX.

learn political debate

learn political debate

Why study political debate?

From presidential elections to small-town council elections, political debate is a fascinating look at political theory, group psychology, and other human phenomena. Debate helps voters with their decision-making and can stir up excitement for election day. Some research suggests that debates do not sway voters as much as one might expect, but voters do make some decisions based on their perceptions of the candidates. Are they dynamic enough to act as president? Are they better than the other candidate?

There's often a difference in perception between televised and radio debates, or even live debates. Election campaigns build strategies around the debates, using commentary and opinion polls afterward to make decisions for campaigns. Nominees from different political parties can use them to get a message across or create a splash to drum up support for an unknown candidate.

Public debates are political communication tools, and in the social media age, debates could reach young, undecided voters. Studying the cadence of debates and the aftermath could help us understand where public opinion stands. It could also help frame future political theater.

Learn about political debate

The edX platform offers courses designed to introduce students to a variety of concepts surrounding political debate. Courses are developed in partnership with leading thinkers in the field of communications, politics, and behaviorism, providing students the chance to study with the best in the industry.

Courses happen online with a global cohort of students with flexibility and convenience. Students complete courses at their own pace, and many individual courses are available for free. Should learners opt into official credit, edX offers accredited courses, certifications, and degrees.

Political debate courses and certifications

TU Delftx offers Framing: How Politicians Debate, a course designed to introduce participants to the principles, concerns, and ethics of different types of framing. Students will design and evaluate frames as well as analyze real case studies to view it in action.

Learners can also take Berkeley's Science at the Polls, a two-part series introducing the science of informed decision-making. Students will explore how public policy decisions, electoral processes, even hot topics like climate change begin with the listener's biology. Students will also understand how each democratic vote affects the biology of those involved.

Understanding political debate

Each time presidential candidates engage in the first presidential debate of an election cycle, or when the vice presidential debate introduces new voices, it shapes another election cycle. The people listened to leaders discuss the coronavirus pandemic and made new decisions about senate and house leaders, the general election, and both the Republican and Democrat parties. 

American political events happen often enough that students can explore decades of history surrounding debates and form their own opinions before media outlets like CNN or Fox can sway them. edX is ready to form the foundation of a new understanding of what goes on behind political debate with its expert courses. It's time to explore and evolve.