It’s the night before you are supposed to register for classes. Your advisor has given you a list of classes that you will need to take in order to graduate on time. While looking at available courses, you realize there are multiple combinations of class times, teachers and even class locations. You could just randomly select the classes you want to attend or you can possibly gain an edge when it comes to getting the best grade possible. By simply going online and doing a little research, you may be able to increase your likelihood of getting a better grade. Well one website, easily accessible and user friendly, allows the student to do these things. In 1999, a software engineer founded a website by the name of RateMyProfessors.com.
RateMyProfessors.com allows college and university students to assign ratings to professors and campuses of American, Canadian, and United Kingdom institutions. Students who have or are currently taking a particular professor’s course, may post a rating and review of any professor already listed on the site. Users may also create a listing for any individual not already listed. This is a very helpful website. Not only can you get a little foreshadowing on the class you are about to take, but after you have completed the course, you are able to give your honest opinion and possibly help another student decide which course to choose.
After you have completed a course, you then become the rater. The rater must rate the course and/or professor on a 1-5 scale in the following categories: “easiness”, “helpfulness”, “clarity”, the rater’s “interest” in the class prior to taking it, and the degree of “textbook use” in the course. The rater may also rate the professor on their hotness, and may include comments of up to max 350 characters in length.
According to the website’s FAQ page, “The Overall Quality is the average of a teacher’s Helpfulness and Clarity ratings….” It’s the professor’s Overall Quality rating that determines whether his/her name on the list of professors is accompanied by a little smiley face (meaning “Good Quality”), a frowny face (“Poor Quality”), or an in-between, expressionless face (“Average Quality”).
A professor’s name is accompanied by a chili pepper icon if the sum of his or her “HOT” ratings is greater than zero (one “hot” rating equals +1, one “not hot” equals −1). ‘Why would I want to know whether a teacher is hot or not’? Well to put it simply, you will be able to pay attention. If you are paying attention to the teacher and not to your phone/iPod or computer, you will do better in the course.
A new addition to the website is the teachers’ rebuttal section. Sometimes students get upset with the grades they receive and they put biased and hateful comments directed toward the teacher. This is unfair because little do you know, that student may never come to class or pay attention, then when the teacher gives the student a D or an F, the student gets upset and writes comments that may be misleading. The rebuttal section allows the teacher to register with the website (with an email ending in .edu) and be able to defend themselves or reply to comments.
Students can also comment on and rate their specific school as well, by visiting their school’s RateMyProfessors.com school page. School Ratings categories include Academic Reputation, Location, Campus, School Library, Food, Clubs & Activities, Social Events, and Happiness.
RateMyProfessors.com is a relevant source when it comes to researching teachers of courses you are about to take. In school you will do anything you can to have an advantage because a simple thing such as ‘who is teaching your course’ may be the difference in an A or a B. To all those critics who think these rating websites are biased, they may be, however the teachers are able to defend themselves. But honestly the students who do badly in school normally are lazy and don’t like to do things they don’t have to, so what are the chances that these student will even care about rating their professor after a course? That just leaves the students who actually care about their grades. They will generally use these forms of websites to help future students tell whether the course will be taught well..