With more than 14 million ratings, 1.3 million professors and 7,000 schools on the site, ratemyprofessors.com has become a vital source for students hoping to find the right professor for themselves.
However, is it really ethically right as students to go on this website and judge a professor for their teaching skills?
The answer, I believe, is a lot more complicated than just a simple yes or no.
It is a great source for students to see what methods the professors use to teach, but on the other hand, with a “hotness rating,” it might seem like students are giving their opinion based on the grade they received in that class and not them as an educator.
When I first went on ratemyprofessors.com this year, I was surprised to find the website unhelpful. Helpfulness, clarity, easiness and hotness are all the categories that end up with a conclusion on the professor.
As I was scrolling down my geology professor’s page I was more confused than ever. With the wide variety of ratings, I didn’t find them helpful at all.
Some say it’s our responsibility to inform incoming students exactly what they’re getting themselves into by signing up for that professor’s class.
Others believe it’s not a fair judgment because professors do not get to judge us as students. In reality, why would it be acceptable for us to judge them?
As public figures, professors are in the spotlight more than their students are. Because of this, they are more susceptible to criticism in the hands of their students.
Although the categories can be forward, considering there are just four of them, the comments that students leave can be extremely helpful.
Although my geology professor had a wide gap of ratings, the comments that past students wrote helped me in the long run because I knew how she taught the class.
I was able to see what the most important book or guide was to study off of and what her lectures would be like.
There is a very thin line between attacking the professor as a person and as an educator.
Yes, the site is helpful to get information pertaining to the class, but as soon as a student over steps and starts verbally offending the teacher, is when ratemyprofessors.com is no longer a helpful tool.
I believe the website was started in good faith by students who wanted to help future college students find the right teacher for them.
We all learn in a different ways. The way a professor teaches their class can be vital in our success. From lectures to group activities, having some knowledge about the class before you come on the first day is extremely helpful in the long run.
I don’t think there will ever be a clear answer as to if ratemyprofessors.com is successful at helping students pick the right professors.
With a combination of biased and unbiased comments, it’s easy for students to get overwhelmed by looking at their new professor’s profile on the site.
My only hope is that college students are able to separate themselves from their own personal biases and give a review that will do nothing but benefit future undergraduates/graduates.