SAN ANTONIO – UTSA students turned the first Presidential debate into a homework assignment.
Call it a 21st-century ballot box: instead of pulling a lever, students logged online.
"There's a pre-survey,” UTSA freshman Peter Robinson explained. “It just asks you how you feel about politics right now, how you hear about it, do you watch the news and what side are you leaning toward.”
Presidential debates: turns out, there’s an app for that.
"It's actually pretty intense,” UTSA junior Danielle Powers said. “They're going at it."
If students agreed or disagreed with the candidates, they voted with their fingertips.
“You just click on whoever talks,” Robinson showed News 4. "There's also spin and dodge. Do you believe they're trying to just get around the question, or just trying to find a way to say it that makes them sound better?"
“So far, I think both of them are evading the questions,” UTSA freshman Krisen Lowry said.
They’re just some of the 10,000 college students around the country who used laptops, smartphones and tablets to help choose between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.
"I want to see the whole thing before I make my decision,” Powers said.
The hot topic in the room was no surprise: college tuition.
"I've got three loans and I need more money,” Lowry said.
So a debate like Wednesday’s that focused largely on the economy could be what makes up their minds.
"Most of these students that we have here are going to be casting their ballots for the first time,” UTSA assistant professor Walter Wilson said. “We see a lot of enthusiasm."
And a lot of students registered to vote to add their voices to the debate.
A group in California will tabulate all the votes from the app, making UTSA part of a big focus group to get the pulse of the college vote.