On February 25, 2009, Russell Huebsch wrote an article criticizing professor rating websites. He goes as far as to say they should be banned. He argues that these services give an unfair advantage to students who have an “information advantage” over other students, primarily freshmen. He claims that students select their professor based solely on their grading evaluation and not other key factors. Furthermore, he believes that the system should be replaced with having teacher evaluations open to the view of all students.
What do I think? I disagree with all of it. I found out about professor rating sites around my sophomore year in college and I used them up until my graduation last August. I believe professor rating websites are a luxury for any college student and should be used by everyone in order to improve your college experience.
I do not believe there is any “information advantage” to any student. An information advantage would be inside trading secrets that are not available to the public. In this scenario, the information is widely available to everyone in the public to use at will. It is the same as me personally referring a professor to a friend except I refer it online where everyone can see it. It is up to the student to educate his or herself on the professor that he or she chooses.
I do not feel that freshmen are at a disadvantage when using professor rating websites. I did not use it as a freshmen and I had plenty of quality professors. If I would have educated myself on professor rating websites before my sophomore year I could have avoided a professor during my freshmen year. Colleges also drop students from their classes two weeks before the semester begins if they have not certified their enrollment, so any scavenging freshmen can find respectable professors during this time if they take the initiative.
I did not solely base my professor selection on grading. Alright; I did with science courses. That is only because I dislike science, I am horrible with it, I could not explain to you what photosynthesis is, and I really do not care about it as I have never used it. When I pick classes that I care about, I look for the professor who I feel I am going to learn the most from who does not grade you based on your liberalism or sexual appeal. I went to college to educate myself in business, not on the color of algae.
While the teacher evaluation system sounds like a good idea, I feel it would be misleading. Many students will fill out all of the “best” or “worst” choices just to complete it. No one wants to fill out a 50-choice evaluation that does not even cover what you would like to say about the professor. On our college professor rating evaluation, many students filled out the very end of the spectrum thinking they were saying the teacher was excellent when in reality they were saying she was horrendous! Using an essay method of evaluation would take too long unless it was completed away from class, which could lead teachers to bargaining with the students for good evaluations.
Professor rating websites are a wonderful utility that all college students should use. If you are fortunate enough, you may have a professor rating website designed specifically for your own university. Ask around or look online to see if your university has there own professor rating website you could look into.
Russell Huebsch, “Professor Rating Sites should be Banned!” Associated Content