Ratemyprofessors.com influences students, professors fight back
April 21, 2008 —
Smiley faces and chili peppers have been the reason for students to enroll in certain classes for the past 10 years. After students have posted reviews commenting on their professors' performanced, the professors have struck back.
Since 1999, students have logged onto ratemyprofessors.com to find the perfect professor to take a class with. Bad ratings by students sometimes discourage students from enrolling in a class that they are required to take, only because the students would prefer a professor with a lighter work load or more pep.
Psychology professor Maurice Elias of Rutgers University in New Jersey is one of many professors that have struck back at student reviews. In his video posting on the ratemyprofessors.com site, he disputed a student's review that had said he "cannot give notes for his life."
Other professors commented on the degree of "hotness" they have acquired, seeing a chili pepper next to their names.
So far, none of the professors at SVSU have struck back.
"I do [check the site] once or twice a year," professor of English Janice Wolff said. "Of course, I like the favorable responses."
Wolff uses the critical responses as a way of improving her teaching and what goes on in the classroom, taking the negative responses and using them constructively.
"I use the complaints and adjust my teaching so I do things better," Wolff explained.
Some students continue to use ratemyprofessors.com on a regular basis.
"I use it every time I schedule," elementary special education junior Kristen Ozanich said. "I use it to figure out other peoples' experiences with the professor. The more good comments they have, the more willing I am to take their class."
Just as Elias had posted his rebuttal, student reviews of professors are not always accurate.
"Once it was really wrong," Ozanich said. "It gave wonderful reviews, but when I got to the class, it was the complete opposite. The lack of reviews, even though good, could be why."
Not all reviews on ratemyprofessors.com are inaccurate, either. Exercise science junior Ryan Simmons claims he has used it many times.
"I used to use it every semester," he said. "But not anymore because I've got to know the professors. It was a big determining factor, especially in general education classes."
Simmons never had a problem with the reviews as Ozanich had, and sometimes were the opposite.
"A few reviews were bad, but the professor ended up being all right because I had to take the class."