The NASA Astrobiology Debates Online Speech Competition (University Division) is an online speech competition in which U.S. college students from across the nation will research, deliver and upload original speeches responding to the 2015-16 NASA Astrobiology Debates Topic. Submissions will be judged based on the quality of students' scholarship and arguments, originality and creativity, and presentation. The competition is now OPEN and students may submit their speeches at anytime before November 30, 2015, by clicking here.
The student submitting the top-ranked speech will win an all-expenses-paid study tour to a NASA Center where they will have an opportunity to continue firsthand their exploration of astrobiology and the 2015-16 topic. Along with the champions from the other 2015-16 NASA Astrobiology Debates competitions, the winner will take part in behind-the-scenes tours of laboratories, spacecraft clean rooms, mission operations and/or launch facilities, as well as spend time discussing the NASA Astrobiology Debates Topic in meetings with NASA scientists and engineers. Locations and dates are TBD at this time. In addition, the top three students from the Online Speech Competition will be recognized on and have their submissions posted to this website.
The Online Speech Competition is now open. Students may submit their speeches at any time before November 30, 2015. Please read the below instructions in their entirety before submitting your speech.
Speeches should be no longer than four minutes in length. Speeches over four minutes will be disqualified.
Each student may submit one and only one speech to the competition.
To enter, students should upload their speeches to Youtube as described below and submit a link to their speeches as well as the other information requested on the entry page.
As described below, all students are asked to recruit a judge to "cover" their entry by judging speeches submitted by other students in the first round of the competition.
All judges recruited by students should have undergraduate degrees and either advocacy or relevant topic expertise. This includes, but is not limited to, college debate coaches, college faculty such as communications or philosophy instructors, astrobiologists and other space sciences faculty, and professionals with debate backgrounds and/or relevant expertise.
Students unable to recruit a judge to cover their entry should contact NASA Debates at NASADebates@gmail.com for assistance in recruiting a judge to cover their entry.
When recruiting judges to cover your entry please provide them with the below "Judging Obligation" description to ensure they understand their judging commitment.
The Youtube video should be set to "Public." This field is found on Youtube on the "Info & Settings" page. If the video is set to "Private" the judge will be unable to view the video.
Under "Basic Info" on Youtube, all videos should be titled, "NASA Astrobiology Debates: [Student Name, School]". (This means all students should include their names and schools in the title of the video to ensure judges are able to easily identify which student they are watching.)
Entries will be judged in "pods" of four. The top entry (or possibly top two entries) in each pod will advance to additional rounds of judging until a champion is selected.
In early rounds the pods will be judged by judges recruited by the students. In later rounds the entries will be judged by topic and advocacy experts recruited by the NASA Astrobiology Debates.
All judges "covering" student entries into the NASA Astrobiology Debates Online Speech Competition must agree to the following judging commitment.
In early December judges will receive emails that will include judging instructions and links to four speeches they are being asked to judge. Judges will have at least 5 days to watch, rank and provide at least a paragraph of feedback on each of the four speeches in this email.
We estimate it will take each judge approximately 30 minutes to watch and judge these four four-minute speeches (i.e., the total "run-time" of the four videos each judge will be asked to review in each pod will be no more than 16 minutes).)
Judging will occur in "rounds" with the top speeches from the first round advancing to a second round of judging and so forth until a winner has been selected.
Judges are obligated to judge one "pod" of four four-minute speeches in each round of judging for every four students or fraction thereof whose entries they are covering; e.g., if a judge is covering one student entry they will judge no more than one pod of speeches in the first round of judging, if a judge is covering five student entries they will judge no more than two pods in the first round of judging, etc.
If a student whose entry a judge is covering advances to a second round of judging that judge will be obligated to judge a second "pod" of speeches in the second round of judging. We do not expect judges to be obligated to judge more than two rounds, but it is a possibility if we have a large number of entries and an extra round of judging is required to select a winner.
Please contact NASA Debates at NASADebates@gmail.com with any questions about judging obligations.