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Ratemyprofessors website?

  1. Apr 4, 2007 #1
    What do you guys think of the ratemyprofessors website? So many of the reviewers complain about certain professors because the material on the tests was never covered in class. Should I take this website seriously?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2007 #2
    Before you answer that question, ask yourself two questions:

    • Why do people rate a professor low? Because he is bad, or because the student failed to get satisfactory grades due to laziness?
    • Who is responsible for your education? YOU or the instructor?
    Also, the material covered on a lecture is sometimes a supplement to the textbook, not a direct substitute.
  4. Apr 4, 2007 #3
    I think it is generally accurate. Usually the good professors are pointed out, and the bad ones as well. There are some students that you can tell were probably lazy and not happy with their grade, but just try to use some common sense in the reviews. However, some people like certain professors, and other people hate those same professors, so it sometimes comes down to your style.

    Also ask fellow students, people that can tell you a little more detail about specific professors.
  5. Apr 4, 2007 #4
    It's a good place to vent your frustrations over certain professors and a good place to sing the praises of a professor you really enjoyed. However, this also means that one of students' primary motivations is to make this professor sound either really good or really bad.

    It's a good place to get an idea of what the professor is like, but expect a lot of bias. And if you're trying to get a feel for a professor it might produce better results if you ask your friends on campus. Or better yet, go talk to the professor and ask him/her what the class will be like.
  6. Apr 4, 2007 #5
    I think it can be useful, as long as you don't choose your classes based on what kind of smiley face the prof in question has next to his name. Remember to read some comments to see if the reviews are somewhat reliable..
    From a student's point of view, I don't see anything wrong with checking out a prof's rating.
  7. Apr 4, 2007 #6
    I use the website whenever there is a class taught by multiple profs to help decide which section to register in, however you have to use your discretion when deciding whether the reviewers were being fair or not. I have been in a few classes where the prof didn't get the best rating because of test scores, difficulty or whatnot but found that I quit enjoyed the class and did very well.

    If the prof has consistently bad reviews then I reconsider taking a class with them, but if they are generally good with a few bad ones mixed in then usually it's a pretty safe bet the class will be fine. You can usually tell a reliable review from a review sent in by a "lazy" or "poor" student fairly easily.
  8. Apr 4, 2007 #7

    Tom Mattson

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    I think that the site is a joke. As someone who is both an educator and a student, I can attach names and faces to several of the reviews that people have either made about me, or about professors I am currently taking. Of those who I can identify, I can tell you that there is a direct correlation between the student's grade and his opinion of the professor. Even for some of the comments whose authors I don't know, the comments are just plain stupid.

    Here are some comments about my teaching, at Hudson Valley Community College.

    We had to cover 15 long chapters in 15 weeks. And while I can't say for sure who this student is, I do recall that last spring everyone who dropped the course had an extremely poor grasp of Physics II, which is the course in which circuit basics were first taught. It was knowledge that I took for granted. Too fast? Tough $hit. And as for that "long lab writeup" comment, just wait till you get to a university. Or better yet, wait till you have to write a professional paper that you want to have accepted.

    Yes Einstein, every course is easier to understand when you take it a second time. Especially when your first time was during a 6 week summer session.

    What a strange comment. It's as if this kid thinks that my "assuming students will be smart" and that having to do "massive practice problems" is somehow bad! Well, I guess it is bad if my assumption about you is mistaken, or if you don't like to do your homework. But if that's the case then I don't care about what you think anyway, and neither should anyone else. And chances are that this student didn't even attempt to ask me for help until it was too late, because I have more office hours than any instructor in the Department, and I am always happy to talk to students. (Well, just the smart ones who are willing to do their practice problems. :rofl: ).
  9. Apr 4, 2007 #8
    yeah, you shouldn't use the site to see how much you'll like the class or how well you're gonna do in it. Personally, I use it to avoid profs who speak poor english, are unpunctual, etc..
  10. Apr 4, 2007 #9

    Tom Mattson

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    That's not to say that I haven't used the site. I've posted 2 ratings, which I'll place here for contrast. These are both mathematics professors (won't bother saying who) who I took for graduate math courses last semester.

    This was a negative review, but I don't just say, "She sucked, avoid at all costs." The anecdote I related here is a fact. Of course, you can choose to believe it or not, but that's up to you. It just means that if you take this lady's course despite my review, then I get to say "I told you so." :biggrin:

    I liked this guy a lot. He's gotten several negative reviews for being too fast and talking above students' heads (esp in undergrad courses), but I acknowledge that he would be tough for an undergrad to take.
  11. Apr 4, 2007 #10


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    Exactly. It's good for that.
  12. Apr 4, 2007 #11
    I haven't used the site very much (mostly because my last two years, my required classes were only taught by one professor each). But when I have used ratemyprofessor.com, it turned out to generally be pretty accurate.
  13. Apr 4, 2007 #12
    It's not a bad site so long as you mentally move the ratings up a few notches and ignore the guys that can't seem to find the shift key, have a penchant for replacing s with z, and so on.
  14. Apr 4, 2007 #13
    Personally I think the site is useless unless you are trying to decide on an elective, or you have a choice between two professors who are teaching the same class. OK, teacher so-and-so sucks, but he's teaching a class you're required to take. You don't have a choice, so why bother with reading reviews and just try your best?

    For electives, it can be very useful. If I have a choice of taking class A or class B, and the professor for class A has many more positive reviews, that'll be a factor when I have to select which class I want to take.
  15. Apr 4, 2007 #14


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    I looked at my schools thing and I disagreed with a lot of it. It seems like students give pity points to nice profs regardless if they suck at teaching. They even mention the fact that they aren't good, yet they give a good score. That's messed up.
  16. Apr 4, 2007 #15
  17. Apr 4, 2007 #16


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    i never heard of this site before, and i was all ready to trash it, but i just went on and read my reviews and those of a couple of my friends who i know are good techers.

    well the reviews of us were not that untrue in my opinion. some liked me and some in beginning calc thought i was the worst prof ever, but in the case of my friends who i know are excellent, like shifrin and zabcic, the students pretty much agreed they are great.

    i am not disagreeing with tom that many negative reviews may be from losers, i am just saying these reviews resemble the ones i am used to seeing, or in my case are actually even more positive and accurate than usual.

    i mean they all said i was hard, and I teach in depth, and present theory, and am stingy with A's, and this is all true.

    as to whether i am the worst ever, you have to pretty much take the more detailed description of my teaching the others gave, and decide if for you that is bad.

    for someone it was awful to have a hard teacher who wants you to understand in depth and only gives a high grade if you actually do very well.

    i sympathize with teachers who find it painful and frustrating to be critiized bitterly for trying to lift the standards of their students, but after over 40 years teaching I am getting used to this.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2007
  18. Apr 4, 2007 #17

    What does it take to receive an A in your class?
  19. Apr 5, 2007 #18


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    Sites like that are rubbish -- and don't matter anyway to the overwhleming majority of people out there; ie. those who don't know about them.

    Students who get bad grades moan about bad lectures -- was the case before the internet, and such sites, is the case now.
  20. Apr 5, 2007 #19
    I've used this sight to rate my professors in the past and have always been very honest. I'm an A student, so I don't have any reason to trash a teacher because of a bad grade.

    Here are two of my most recent reviews:

    From between being allowed "cheat sheets" with formulas to being able to use a graphing calculator and take home tests this teacher just pushed everyone through. I audited it because I THOUGHT I could get a deeper, more thorough review of trig. No such luck.

    And this one for when I audited Calculus.

    Obviously since they were both audits, I had no motivation to bash or give undue credit.

    I think if you sift through the crap, there is some truth to the reviews.
  21. Apr 5, 2007 #20
    Then why not go on the site to give the professor a good review? I think it can be useful if you can differientiate between a raving lazy student and someone who demonstrates specific problems with the teaching method.

    If a professor has one review from someone complaining that he gives too much homework and you are a good student that knows that doing lots of homework is good for you in the long run, who cares? Are you going to be scared off?

    On the other hand if a professor has 10 reviews that complain about him not being prepared for class and constantly making mistakes to the point where you can't trust your notes (I think we've all had that guy), then I'd say that it might not be a bad idea to avoid that professor if possible.

    In your life you will have to learn to take information from different sources with grain-of-salt and use it as a tool to make the best decision, not to just take eveything at face value or dismiss eveything either.

    Its just another part of the learning process.......
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