Rate My Professors: Helpful or Harmful?
Have you heard about the “Rate My Professors” website?
It is basically what it sounds like, a website where you can rate and leave a comment on any professor at any university or, in this case, any professor at Oklahoma City Community College.
The rating ranges from 1- meaning a poor rating, to 5- meaning an excellent rating. Students can leave comments related to the class or the teacher anonymously.
“Rate My Professor” takes care of the layout of all the information, like the top categories the teacher is known for and the overall rating of the professor. The ratings vary, of course, some are positively directed towards the professors, and some are negatively directed.
Many students use this website to select their classes before taking them, since many seek to have the best student experience.
“It’s a good idea for students to find out about their teachers and how they teach… it’s a broad idea,” Hossein Abdollahi, who studies civil engineering at OCCC, said.
He uses “Rate My Professors” to get an idea about teachers.
What about the bad ratings professors get?
“Like most opinion surveys, I don’t think they’re fair,” says Bryan Fulton, Director of Anesthesia Technology.
Fulton says that sites like this one, which use this form of evaluation, come to separate opinions in two ways.
“Overly positive view of the instructor that isn’t necessarily true to how that professor maybe actually is” and also “students may not have been satisfied with the professor based on some personal things or opining,” Fulton said.
Anonymous posting is one feature that makes this website very popular, but not knowing who is posting it or knowing for what purpose it is published can negatively affect teachers.
“I mean, you don’t know who’s putting those postings up. So even the positive ones could, they may not even be accurate. I mean, anyone can post something,” English Teacher Greg Daubenspeck said.
Daubenspeck said some comments can even ruin the reputations of teachers.
“Anybody can post something anonymously on the internet, and that’s basically what you’re doing. You have a forum for people to anonymously post things that may or may not even be tied to the class. I think students who visit that are not getting an accurate representation of the professor of the class,” Daubenspeck said.
And because of these comments, which sometimes seem to get out of hand, or the negative ratings that many teachers receive, without even knowing who puts them, they can even create anxiety for teachers who know of “Rate My Professors.”
Still, they do not dare to see their ratings.
“Like I don’t like to hear about myself like that. Like, that’s just not something I seek out, ” a biology department professor told me, which we are leaving anonymous for personal reasons.
But how can students express their opinions about the class and their teacher?
“I do not use (Rate My Professors). I use course evaluations when they’re given to us at the end of the semester because we get bonus points for that. And it’s also a good way to voice an opinion about my professor,” said Madison Scott, who is enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant program at OCCC.
Talking with different teachers, all of them said the best way to express complaints, comments, or suggestions towards their classes is through the course evaluations since these are direct to the teachers.
“I know I look at those, I read every single one that comes in, and I encourage that feedback,” Daubenspeck said.
Or, if you cannot wait to fill out the course evaluation, all of the teachers I spoke with told me to be direct, obviously polite, but direct with them and give constructive criticism. Your teachers will appreciate it, and it will make the class an overall better experience for everyone.