The problem with RateMyProfessor.com

It doesn’t tell you anything about your classmates.




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The problem with RateMyProfessor.com

  1. The one time I found a RateMyProfessor.com review helpful was when I was picking an English class. I picked the guy whose bad reviews were all spelled wrong.

  2. There are two big problems with RMP in Canada. There’s no mechanism readily available for profs to have some input regarding the comments they receive, and secondly, most half-decent students don’t have the time, or the inclination, or the motivation to submit the kinds of comments that overwhelmingly slag their profs! It’s a petty revenge website, where students who should not be anywhere near an institution of higher learning because of their attitudes and aptitudes for learning, can take cheap shots at profs who probably gave them exactly the grades they deserved. As for the US version of post-secondary education, whereby you can get a PhD if you can spell your own name mostly correctly most of the time, of course all reviews are favourable – after all, everyone gets an A just for having a pulse!

  3. Wow! Ok, I believe I just want to say I can concur with some of your sentiment, and the reality of it I will have to abstain from making any input, though I have an equally uneducated, ignorant opinion as well to share with you. I am concerned about the pressures, sites like Rate your/my professor.com, place on the professors to lower their expectations so they wouldn’t be rated so harshly. I don’t like an arrogant teacher anymore than the next person. I do feel however that some of that arrogance did come with a price, an upper degree of education, a resume which got them the position, and maybe some pier reviews which kept them their jobs. I don’t like the lack of check and balances, where a prof could just expect so much, and be so unreasonable it chokes the life from a young inspired mind. I think there could be a fair and representative site, which requires responsibility and verification of facts. I am writing an essay on how maybe this information is not balanced and it might just be skewing all of our educations, even here in America, give me a break!

  4. I was at a university where I had to deal with a professor who was known for harassing students and university staff members. She was later let go as there were many complaints from students and staff. Her practices were unethical as many of us were unaware of the fact that she reported and gossiped about everyone who communicated with her. This included her discussing sexual harassment by other staff members which she openly discussed with students. Realistically, I as a student, victimized by her bizarre behavior couldn’t do a damn thing. I couldn’t start her name on this site, and neither could others. If she was able to undermine university protocol to ‘go after’ (a) student(s) then one could only imagine what she would be like on this site. Is it worth it? Is backlash ever worth sacrificing your future? No, don’t be an itiot. This woman is angry enough realizing that the university didn’t want her back after her short term…do I need to add fuel to her fury? Not at the expense of my future. The real problem profs are never reported here as the backlash is far too high.

  5. it’s worked for me.

  6. Obviously not, LadyBrown. One capitalizes the first letter of one’s sentences.

  7. I found ratemyprofessors.ca to be helpful in picking out which courses and professors to take for the semester. If the majority of the reviews are positive/negative then it will generally give you a good idea of how the professor is. Yes, there are cases where a petty review will be written and sometimes a professor style may not be what the student is accustomed to (thus giving them a negative review) but go with the majority and you’ll be ok. I found most of the review to have constructive criticism if they are negative reviews and I’ve submitted reviews to the site myself.

  8. Yeah totally John O’brian, guess LadyBrown is completely stupid now based on her one comment.

    Well I personally think RMP works pretty well, I’ve always used it and Ive always gotten pretty awesome profs. Yeah there are a few petty people, but you can usually tell whos bitter about not trying and failing. The majority of people give pretty helpful reviews, if they are mostly good you know the profs going to be pretty decent, if they are mostly bad you now its not just one petty student. And you cant say that all students who do well dont submit to the website. It takes like less than 5 minutes, I do well and I submit to help others.

  9. I agree that some comments that people leave on that site can be petty, and just plain harsh. I think most kids who do that are probably just angry because they did not do well, or have something personal against the teacher. However, I have seen some really nice comments on there. Some teachers have nothing but nice “reviews”, others all bad, but most with mixed. I don’t see it as an OVERALL revenge website, but, like anything else, there are a few people on there who simply make comments out of anger. Regardless, I actually found the website to be quite helpful, because aside from opinionated reviews, there are some that simply advice you on what to expect in the class. Anyways, the only thing that concerns me about the site is how the teachers would feel if they read some of the hurtful things the kids said. Ouch.

  10. This is a dreadful website, full of the ravings of semi-literate knuckle dragging students with nothing better to do than slag people off anonymously. As an instructor, I dread the day when some of the dimmer of my students, dissatisfied with their grades, decide to “rate” my performance according to their ridiculous expectations. In fact, I feel that such websites are invitations to libel, and are highly immoral. If a student has a real problem with a professor, he/she has many other avenues open to them. Rate my Professor is a place for underperforming cowards to misguidedly blame someone else for their own stupidity.

  11. I rated ONE professor on RMP. I gave her a bad review even though I had the highest mark in her class. Why? I did it because I found her to be abusive to other students. Yes, you could learn a lot in her class, but you should know it comes with a price of being humiliated in front of everyone on regular basis. If you are a student who doesn’t want to be a part of that, you’ll thank RMP for existing.

    @ Happy: If someone gives you a bad review, you should seriously consider if it just might be due to the fact you’re a bad teacher. After all, we pay insane amounts of money to be in these classes. Be aware that we take the QUALITY of instruction very seriously and have every right to discuss this in an open forum.

  12. I think that the website is not useful. A lot of times people who got bad grades just complain and slam their prof when they just didn’t work that hard. Other times, students use it to find the easy class etc.

  13. I am returning to school for my second degree and I was a straight A student when I earned my first degree, through and including law school at a top tier university. At the moment, I am earning a very high A in my statistics class. But the professor is horrendous. She can’t explain much of anything conceptually regarding statistics and her ratings (average of 2.1 with 5 pages of reviews) reflect reality. I have earned this A–one of the most difficult tasks of my life–by going home and teaching myself the class–and figuring out her MANY mistakes in the process. Another statistics professor on campus has something like a 4.5 rating w/many glowing reviews. I will be posting my opinions on RMP and hopefully will save someone else the headache. I only wish that I had discovered RMP before I registered for this class, which has been nothing but hell from day one. And I am not vengeful about a low grade–I’m vengeful about a terrible, unnecessarily stressful experience AND the fact that I still really don’t understand much about statistics because she sucked so badly at teaching the subject.

  14. @John O’Brian
    This kind of post makes you look like a jackass. This is only exemplified by using an accidental sentence fragment to condone a poster for an intentional lack of capitalization. A post that stupid doesn’t reflect well on your character or your intellgience.

    @Happy
    You’re trying too hard. I mean “semi-literate knuckle dragging students”, really? You probably already have some bad rates and are now using this post as a “place for underperforming cowards to misguidedly blame someone else for their own stupidity”.

    If you want to say it is only a site used for revenge then why are there positive reviews? Hell, why are there even neutral reviews?
    Yes any review site will tend to attract those who feel strongly about a teacher, but the chances are that if no one felt like a class was good enough to spend 5 minutes writing a positive review, and yet many took the time to insult your teaching and give you a negative review, you probably are a bad teacher.

    Get off your pedestal. There are reasons why not all teachers are reviewed badly, and there are reasons why people who found a teacher easy will sometimes post negative reviews.

    @Not Happy
    Legit. I just had the exact opposite experience. I took the easiest class of my life (due to the teacher), but came out knowing very little about what is a fascinating subject (and one I will need this knowledge next term). GPA is nice, but I have to wonder what I’m paying for when it doesn’t even feel worth it to come to class.

  15. You know, with the exception of a few, there are a lot of students who rate their teachers quite fairly. They help point out the difficulty of potential exams and the general enthusiasm of the teacher. These are all points that can help guide someone to a teacher that best suits their learning needs. It also provides you with enough information to prepare you for any potential difficulties so that you can anticipate a tough test or a boring lecture and prep accordingly. Great site, the unfair bias of a few isn’t the overall message. Bottom line however, suggests that if all of your reviews are really bad as an intructor you need to re-evaluate your methods. Just like a student getting a bad grade, he can either resent the criticism and be angry or he can look at the message, accept the criticism so that he can become a better student in the future.
    Honestly its the most frustrating thing in the world when you have a prof that just doesn’t care. For the price we pay for education our opinion should matter and teaching needs to improve where it’s lacking. I don’t think that there is anyone that can argue about that.

  16. @ Happy: Your students are your customers. They pay for your services and have every right to write about how well you render those services.

    “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” ~ Sam Walton (American retail Executive and Founder of Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the largest retail sales chain in the United States. 1918-1992)

  17. Really the issue is one of whether or not we wish to condone anonymous comment, comment that because of digital technology will endure until “the end of time” – well, at least for a very long time, and compared with pre-digital times where people’s memories defined the limits of concern, it might as well be.

    Maybe I exaggerate but I wonder if there’s not a lot of difference between anonymous comment and a survey of comments on the inside of the walls of a toilet stall except for the fact that the latter respond to a good stiff sponge. The former can haunt someone for a long time.

    There will be the argument that it’s healthy to have a mode of expression to “out” the abusive and incompetent. There are other legitimate ways to do this however. Just because RMP technology exists doesn’t make it ethical. I’m not a fan. Debates like this are important for these issues are becoming a huge societal concern. They’re not going to go away.

    @Sam @Happy: Your students are your customers … etc. Yes, except no one is forcing you to take a given course just as no one forces you to buy a certain service. I can’t see how comments need to be, or can possibly remain to be valid when anonymous. Wouldn’t our voices always be heard better when we identifed ourselves?

  18. From my experience the ratings on rate my prof seem to be right on the money. Granted, there are the odd reviews of students who are peeved at a prof since they got a bad grade, but these are eay to spot. The vast majority of the reviews I have read for profs that I have had the pleasure, or displeasure, of having, seemed to accurately portray what the prof was like.

    Alas, some universities treat the teaching of undergraduate students like some necessary evil that they must endure between their more important duties of teaching grad students and reasearch. Consequently, horrible profs are allowed to continue to teach the same class year after year, despite numerous officially sanctioned reviews taking place where students raise red flags about the prof. If the prof is moved off of a 1st or 2nd year class, the administration often comes to the conclusion that, it must be because 1st and 2nd year students are whiners, so if we move the prof into a 4th year or grad course, then all the problems will be solved. Subsequently, a new reign of terror begins.

    Let me just say, I get good grades, but it is despite profs like these. It is an insult to have to endure some of these profs, learn the material on my own and then pay tuition for the course. Until the university looks out for the students best interests, students will have to help eachother out. This includes using rate my prof.

    Needless, to say there are some fantastic profs out there too. They need to be recognized, and it would be a shame to miss out on them, just because you did not have a source to tell you about them.

    Ultimately, Rate my prof works for students.

  19. I’m a part-time prof. at a Canadian university, and have been for many moons. Yes, I’ve been rated, and my reaction is – meh.

    There’s so little space for elaboration, and the one truly ‘negative’ review I received was frustrating because those comments had never appeared in a single, confidential university evaluation form over 12 years of teaching approx. 1700-2300 students. (the ‘comments’ page that students voluntarily complete, are collected as a stack and are then sent to me several months after the term has ended).

    Everyone’s entitled to her or his opinion (hence my initial ‘meh’), but please have the gumption to state any and all comments directly (and anonymously) to the prof., within the formalized system.

    At least with the ‘fill-in-the-bubble’ questions on these types of forms (that then become statistical computer fodder) there are a variety of specific questions, answered by a statistically significant/representative number of students. Yes, for some reason, every term, there seems to be one student who detests me (‘zero’ ranking on any question), but this is one outlier in a much broader field. The ‘traditional’ evaluations provide context. RMP does not.

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