RateMyProfessors.com, the largest online service for professor ratings, provides feedback on approximately 1.7 million faculty members teaching at about 8,000 schools in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. While on Rate My Professors’ website or mobile application, students are free to generate comments about their professors and institutions, and in turn, the service tallies those ratings to give professors, colleges, and universities average scores. With 749 recorded professor ratings, Elon’s faculty averages a score of 3.68 out of 5.
Rate My Professors grades faculty on categories such as easiness, helpfulness, and clarity, and it asks students to record what their interest levels were prior to attending the class, whether the professor used a textbook or not, and whether attendance was mandatory or not. Students are free to leave comments about their professors, and additionally, they can select whether a faculty member is “hot” or not. If a professor receives enough positive votes on his or her attractiveness, he or she is given a red hot chili pepper “Hotness” badge along with his or her ratings.
Elon University students often consult Rate My Professors before registering for classes to gain a general idea about faculty members and their courses. Though some individuals rely heavily on the website’s reviews, others give them more cursory glances.
Elon senior Jamie Rudd has used Rate My Professors since arriving on campus her freshman year. She said she has never submitted her own faculty review, but she believes others’ ratings on the site are fairly truthful.
“I find [Rate My Professors] pretty accurate,” Rudd said. “ I have never taken a professor who everyone says is awesome and then had [him or her] be particularly horrible. I generally find the reviews line-up pretty closely with the classes. I try to ignore the ones that say the class is hard because that can be more of a judgment about the subject than the professor’s actual teaching ability.”
Elon first-year student Morgan Fleming said she just began using Rate My Professors last semester after a friend recommended the website to her. So far, she finds its reviews fairly true.
“I think the reviews show relative accuracy but shouldn’t be viewed as the only influence when choosing a teacher,” she said. “I mean you should look at multiple responses about the teacher as well as make sure the time works for your schedule. [Do] not build it around that [one] class.”
Though Rudd visits Rate My Professors frequently before registering for classes every semester, she said the website is not the be-all and end-all of her decision-making process.
“Rate My Professors works as a deterrent for me more than anything else,” she said. “It doesn’t necessarily convince me to take a class, but if I don’t know anything about the professor and all the reviews [for him or her] are horrible, then I usually choose a different class. However, most of the time I have friends who can give a more comprehensive view on a professor’s style than the website can.”
Fleming agreed students should consult other resources, such as their peers, when deciding on faculty members and building their course schedules, but she said Rate My Professors has helped her to balance tough classes with ones that have lighter workloads.
“On a scale from 1-10, Rate My Professors influences my opinion at about a six just because specifically for Wellness, I didn’t want to take a teacher that gives a ton of work when I’m taking heavy science courses as well. [And] I haven’t really had any surprises. The choices that I made lived up to the Rate My Professors posts.”
To read about Elon faculty members’ perspectives on RateMyProfessors.com, check out the Technology blog later this month.