Rate my professor: Kwantlen
News / December 10, 2009
By Denny Hollick [Co-ordinating Editor]
Have you ever wanted to find out what kind of professor you’ll end up with in the upcoming semester? Perhaps you’re trying to rack up an all-star line-up of hipster profs who wear sunglasses at night during their lectures. With registration already here, these are questions that students want to have answered.
Yes, these professors do exist, as well as those who may be less appreciated, and you can check out what kind of professor you may be getting long before you step foot into the classroom with ratemyprofessor.com.
Rate my professor uses an open forum format to allow anyone to make comments about any professor at the institution. The website doesn’t require a registration to comment, so just about anything can be posted, whether accurate or not. But because students don’t have any way of knowing anything about their professors beforehand, Rate My Professor has become a strong source for students to help them select their professors. For many students, a good professor can make or break a grade, and just like any workplace, you’ll find both good and bad professors.
Aftab Sandhu, a Kwantlen BBA student, says that the system is very informative and helpful to select a professor before you register for your classes. “I use it every semester before I register. I’ve found that it’s very true, the ratings are usually consistent.” He continues by saying the the only inconsistencies he has seen has been because the professor may teach more than one class. “For some classes, the professor may be really bad at teaching accounting, but for business, they’ll be excellent.”
Many professors have for some time said that the source cannot be seen as reliable as anyone can comment and there is no standard criteria as to how the rating system works. A health professor at Townson University, Hubert Nelson, commented in the Towerlight newspaper stating “I think students who bear a grudge are more likely to report than the great majority of students who are extremely well served by Towson University faculty on a day-in-day-out basis,” he said. “There is probably also a correlation between good reviews and good grades. Professorial likeability is clearly the most important rating criteria in my opinion.” The reliability has also been brought in to question as professors can comment on their own profiles.
If the ratings don’t help you select your professors, then Rate My Professor will at least let you know if the professor is hot or not. A physically attractive prof will have a spicy pepper next to their rating. In the very least if you don’t get a good professor, you know that you’ll have some eye-candy to stare at for four hours a week.
Because the system has a one-sided view from students, ratemyprofessor.com has most recently allowed professors to create rebuttals against student comments by video. One professor accused of having too much hair rebutted that “I have hair, so what, get over it!”
In an attempt to give students a more reliable system to evaluate their professor selection, some schools such as Salt Lake Community College have tried to collect reliable data about professor’s performance and allowed students to access their reviews online. They claim it to be their very own “Rate My Professor” program, so students can match their learning styles to that of their professors teaching.
Currently, Kwantlen professors undergo performance reviews from time to time, but the records haven’t been openly available for students to access.