Students Get Their Revenge on Professors

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As the semester reaches its halfway point, it comes time for all students to start

thinking about constructing his or her fall schedule.  Starting on March 23, a handful

of students kick off the process by claiming the first seats for the fall semester.  While

some might be going to their adviser for help in the process, others might seek the

advice from a popular resource on the web called Rate My Professors.

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At this Web site, students have the opportunity to switch roles with their

professors as they grade them on their teaching performance.

The evaluation process is simple:

After the student finds his college or university, he can pick out professors

through an alphabetized list or by way of their departments.  When a professor is

selected, the students can either leave a comment of his own or just read what others

have written.

These reviews usually go one of two ways: They can become

recommendation letters from a student that wants to promote a great professor.  On the

other hand these reviews can also take shape as a red flag, warning all other students

about a professor to stay away from.

While the comments are sometimes all that are

necessary in the review, there are other ways to document your opinions.

For the student who needs a quick evaluation without reading through pages of

comments, there’s a numeric grading scale comprised of two important factors.  One

category represents the professor’s teaching quality, while the other deals with the level

of difficulty or lack of.  Both categories are based on a scale from zero

to five, with five being the goal.  Racking up a five in both categories is no easy feat and

the professor who achieves such a goal must be doing something right.

A third column  just shows the number of people who leave a comment for a professor.  A

lot of comments doesn’t always mean they’re all good, so don’t be misled by numbers in

this column.

But perhaps the most useless, yet comical tool on this Web site, is the

“hotness” evaluation. Yes, there is a category where students can anonymously admit if they find their

professors attractive.  This scale however, is not numeric like the others, but is indicated

by placing a pepper next to the name of a professor deemed attractive by a student.

While the pepper reminds us that this sight is not entirely serious, Rate My Professor can

still be a valuable tool for the average college student.  The question becomes: How much

of an effect does this Web site have on college students as well as the professors they are

evaluating?

Some students use this site religiously when it comes time to

selecting their classes, while other students find the Web site useless.  One anonymous

student said, “I have the site open along with my STINF account when I’m picking out

my classes.” While this student’s dedication to the site is very clear, others seem to

fall somewhere in the middle.  Students like Jessie Lilley, a nursing major, have limited

options when it comes to course selection.  Lilley said the site gives her a some input.

“The site is a cool way for me to take some control back, because I feel like I have none when it comes to the classes I know I need to take,” Lilley said.

For students like Lilley, Rate My Professor provides a little freedom in the regimented world of class selection, or for majors that are very specifically mapped out.

Most students, regardless of whether they use the site, seem to have little problem with its existance, but professors’ opinions seem split.

Bloomsburg professor Dr. Richard Ganahl of the Mass Communications Department said the site “isn’t 100 percent accurate, but I think it has

some truth to it.”

Ganahl admitted that he has seen his page on the Web site and after

reading some of the comments, he changed some things about the way he taught his

classes.  In this aspect, the site can be viewed as a multifaceted tool for students and

teachers alike.  Not only is the site a way for students to evaluate their

professors, it can also provide information to professors who might use it to adapt their teaching methods.

But not all professors see it that way. This dispute is very clearly represented in video backlash online called Professors Strike Back.  In these videos, professors have a chance to defend themselves or speak out about certain comments that were made about them on Rate My Professor.

Overall, it’s pretty clear that Rate My Professor has

made quite an impact on college life for both students and professors.

photo courtesy of ratemyprofessors.com

Comments

comments

1 COMMENT

  1. Hey Joe! Relevant topic, I really like going on the site and checking out my profs…but I’m skeptical about it’s accuracy as you noted. Overall it’s an interesting site though.

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