Today’s Ask Dr. Diane: What is the site ratemyprofessor.com all about?
Ratemyprofessor.com is a website dedicated to allowing students to find out more about their professors and the courses they are going to take before they begin class. The site allows students to give their opinion of the classes and the instructors of those classes they have taken previously. It is not unlike the rating one would give a book they have read on Amazon. Because of that, you will see a wide variety of responses on there. Some students may write wonderful, glowing comments, while others write less flattering things. You can search for a professor or a school on the site. I have found it to be the most accurate to first search for the school and then look for the individual professor within that school where they are listed alphabetically. To search for the school, you would type in the upper right hand search box. It will then give you a list of schools. Click on the one you want and then it will pull up a screen that lets you browse by last name of the professor.
I haven’t heard as many of my students refer to this site lately. It seemed a lot more popular a few years ago. It is kind of a fun little site to see what others are saying. However, just as with any review, you have to realize there could be “sour grapes”. A student who may not have done well in the course may be more likely to say something negative about the professor. Also there is a lot of subjectivity so what may be a horrible class to one may be a wonderful class to another. The information is fun but it should be taken with a grain of salt.
As I mentioned, it is not new to publish information about professors online. However, there is a new trend that has some people up in arms. Take a look at a recent NPR article where the author mentions that 6,000 elementary teachers in Los Angeles will see their names published online, along with data showing how much their students improved on standardized tests by clicking here.