The Web site RateMyProfessors.com gives students (and for that matter, anyone) a chance to give uncensored ratings to their college teachers. Professors are rated on a number of different criteria (including clarity, easiness, helpfulness, overall quality, and of course, hotness). Anyone can read the ratings, the professors themselves can comment or post rebuttals. What do some professors think of the site?
What do you think of the site? Is it something you check? Do you believe it is something of use to students?
Ryan Mathur, assistant professor of geology: I do not think that much of this site. I have seen it before and it seems like people just complain, I find no real use for this.
Mark Hochberg, professor of English: I check Ratemyprofessors.com every few months. I think it’s the academic equivalent of Paris Hilton. It’s fun to read, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on its reliability. Of course, I do admire the insightful students who liked my courses.
Norris Muth, assistant professor of biology: While some faculty have tried to use the data on that site to understand how students view their courses, there are some inherent problems in doing so. Ratemyprofessors.com tends to over-represent views from the extremes, people who really love a course or absolutely hate it. The course reviews administered at the end of the semester are a much more reliable guide to what I can do to address student concerns about my courses. Of course I check it to see if I’m rate higher than my brother (at Brooklyn College), or to see if anyone has given me a chili pepper. But nobody has ever rated me — that I’m aware of. For students at a place like Juniata, word of mouth is probably a better guide to what a class or professor will be like.
Bethany Benson assistant professor of art: I have only checked that Website about 4 times ever. I Don’t think much of it.
Jim Tuten associate professor of history: I have been to the site several times over the years. Some years back, three or more, it generated a good deal of press so I checked on it. I think the site is clever in some ways as a kind of student-use wiki. Like any open wiki, there will be reviews of widely varying quality and a user (as opposed to a contributor) has no way to tell which is which. It seems to me that, aside from chili-peppers which is a different kettle of fish (does it matter if your professor is hot?) this asks useful categorical questions that are similar to the kinds of questions that most colleges ask in end-of-term surveys. So, I think a student trying to make up a schedule for the next semester is considering classes Ratemyprofessors.com could be one useful source of information from inside the class.
-Joe Aultman-Moore ’12, Juniata Online Journalist