MSU Debate Team Creates Innovative New Partnership in Online Instruction

September 26, 2020 - Carly Watson

EAST LANSING, Mich. — As a trailblazing leader in online debate instruction, Michigan State University Debate is excited to announce an innovative new partnership with the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL) that will continue to expand access to debate for traditionally underserved communities.

Building from the online content developed for the Spartan Debate Institute (SDI) – a summer youth program hosted by the Debate Team – MSU Debate launched a free, self-paced course for students in Urban Debate Leagues (UDLs) in partnership with the NAUDL.

Lectures produced for the SDI are now hosted on the NAUDL teaching platform and UDL members also have access to a self-paced online course developed by MSU Debate.

Carly Watson, the MSU Debate Team Project and Events Coordinator, spearheaded the project to make sure as many students as possible had access to the lectures and instructional material from the SDI.

“We’re excited with our NAUDL partnership because they serve over 10,000 high school students annually in the 22 leagues across the country. The NAUDL mission so closely aligns with the promise we see in online debate – expanding opportunities for students to debate in traditionally under-served areas,” Watson said.

Watson explained, “there’s a great deal of potential for this collaboration to grow and we’re thrilled to see online instruction provide MSU Debate students the chance to engage more with UDLs.”

MSU Debate has been working towards online debate instruction since summer 2019 – long before programs were forced to transition online in the wake of COVID-19. The Debate Team has been beta-testing platforms, hosting online practice debates, and producing best-practices for online debate.

“Because online debate eliminates travel costs, we saw early on how much it could increase access to debate. This partnership with NAUDL is a great way to share what we’ve learned with even more students,” said Will Repko, the MSU Debate Team Head Coach.

The MSU Debate team is part of the Honors College.