RateMyProfessor.com a hit and miss with students

Anna Watson

Staff Writer

Of 21 Parkland students who were asked whether they use the website RateMyProfessor.com, a database created for students to post information and experiences about their professors, fourteen responded “no” and seven said “yes.”

Brenda Gaona, a Parkland business administration major, was among the seven to say “yes” to using RateMyProfessor.com.

“First, I pick the times for when I want to schedule my classes,” Gaona said. “There are certain classes I want on certain days, like I don’t want my English class to be first thing in the morning. Then, I look at all the names of the professors available during those times for each class, and I take their names and type into the website.”

Gaona said every time she uses RateMyProfessor.com it proves to be helpful. She said the professors she picks, according to the site’s positive feedback, are more lenient and understanding during class.

“Also, I like that the website tells you whether the teachers offer extra credit,” Goana said.

Despite some students really liking the website, most students said that they do not use it, citing reasons from not knowing about it to not liking it.

Gabe Gomez, a social work major who said he does not use the service, had never heard of it before.

Another student, Mason Grimes, who is majoring in history, has heard of RateMyProfessor.com, but stands against using it.

“I’ve heard all about it, but I have never really had a lot of incentive to use it,” he said. “I am sure it could be useful for other people, but just not for me…When it comes to my professor, I prefer to get to know them myself, instead of taking someone else’s word for it.”

Patrick Connelly answered “no” to using site for fear of biased students.

“It feels more personal than productive,” Connelly said. 

RateMyProfessor.com was founded by California engineer John Swapceinski. The site rates professors from over 7,500 universities across the nation.

To post a comment on a professor, raters must first rate the professor for their overall quality and level of difficulty. In their rating, students can include whether professor used the textbook, if attendance is mandatory to pass, the grade they received in the class, and if they would repeat the class, as well as a short description of the professor.

Professors are rated on their overall quality on a 5-point scale. Ratings from 3.5–5.0 are considered good quality while ratings from 2.5–3.4 are considered average quality, and ratings from 1.4–2.4 are considered poor quality.

Ratings are next to a professor’s name in bold letters, so they are the first thing users see.

Forrest Hornbuckle, a business major, said the only reason he used the website was because his mom told him to. His mom works at a beauty salon and she heard about it because some of her co-workers, whom are college students, were talking about it.

Hornbuckle said he doesn’t use RateMyProfessor.com at the beginning of the semester to pick his professors, however; he uses it to look up the names of his professors once his schedule is set to get a general idea of their classroom make-up.

“What I look for in a professor is a good manor of teaching and, really, how they conduct the class,” said Hornbuckle.

Lindsey Wisnieski, a political science major, uses it to sign up for classes.

“I should have taken their advice,” Wisneiski said when she looked information on her sociology class. “[B]ut instead I didn’t listen.”

Wisneiski said for now on she trusts the feedback on the site.

“I guess I just want a professor who really enjoys what they do,” she said.

Naomi Johnson, an art design major, said she rarely uses the site, but she likes that students are able to give their honest opinion.

“You can rate how hot a professor is,” Johnson laughed.