January 12, 2009

… In Which I Note That RateMyProfessors is Full of…

Posted in student stories, teaching revelations tagged , , , at 1:29 pm by profart

Yes, I hate RateMyProfessors.com. I have several colleagues who worry so much about this pitiful excuse for an eval site that they spend time submitting comments from various campus labs to make their rating better. They bother because there really are students who use this sorry excuse for a “resource” to pick classes, and for many fields, it is all about butts in seats. One pitiful, vengeful idiot who couldn’t be bothered to show up for class can wreck your rating. Students who like you tend not to bother with the site. 

Really, at issue is the lack of ability to respond to the ratings and comments. I peeked at mine a couple for years back, and noted that someone thought I practiced favoritism and was vague about assignments. Well, what can I say? If you are doing the work and turning in excellent quality, of course you have earned a better grade, and I am happy to record that earned grade. If you ask intelligent questions, your participation grade goes up. If you sit silent in the back AND make no attempt to participate online (some kids are shy in class, or shy online. Being both means you miss an important facet of learning) then your participation grade isn’t so good- because you didn’t participate. I don’t give out random grades. Vague about assignments? When I was in school (not long ago!), the professor walked in the first day, announced there was a 10- or 20- page paper due at the end of the class, and that was it. It was understood that the paper needed to be related to the course. Coming up with topics, resources, etc. was the responsibility of the student. I have had to provide definitions for “page”, “relevant”, and even “paper” and “notation” in my syllabus. Otherwise, I might get an minimalist interpretive dance at the end- and my apologies for insulting minimalist interpretive dance. 

Want to know something about a professor before you take a class? Why not call and make an appointment?


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