Editor’s note:This article was published as part of an April Fool’s Edition of The Concordian
Concordia students have voiced their true feelings about their professors for quite some time via the Web site RateMyProfessors.com. Many students turn to the Web site for guidance when selecting classes during registration. Now, Concordia professors are turning the tables. They have recently launched a RateYourStudents module on the faculty’s version of C-Port.
A political science professor, however, admitted that professors are not able to avoid undesireable students.
“Of course, we don’t have the luxury of avoiding students with undesirable ratings,” he said, “but at least we’ll know what to expect from them.”
RateMyProfessors.com, named one of the 50 Best Web sites in 2008 by TIME magazine, allows students to rate and critique professors they’ve had in the past using a scale system, as well as view other students’ ratings and comments. All professors are grouped according to school, so all of Concordia’s professors who have been rated can be found on one list. Students rate professors on helpfulness, clarity, class easiness, and even hotness on a scale of 1-5. The average rating earns professors a smiley face, neutral face, or sad face, which appears alongside their name in Concordia’s list for quick reference.
In addition to the numerical ratings, students can also leave comments of up to 350 characters. All ratings and comments are anonymous. They range from the highly complimentary (“She is a treasure and blessing in my life.”) to the caustically critical (I would really recommend someone else unless you’re up for an incredible challenge and plan on learning [it] all from the book.”). And finally, even some poorly written, creepy remarks (“Hottest teacher iv [sic] ever had!…If your [sic] a guy, take her class!”)
Concordia professors’ RateYourStudents module utilizes a similar format. It also uses a scale system, comments, and conveniently lists all students alphabetically and by class status and has a search function. However, the RateYourStudents module does have some key differences. Professors rate students on attendance, intelligence, and likability. Unlike RateMyProfessors.com, there is no opportunity to view the professors’ ratings and comments, nor is there a chance to add a rebuttal, which has upset some Concordia students.
“At least I am not afraid to tell them what I think to their face, figuratively anyway,” senior Alexis Morgan said. “It’s not fair that they can say whatever they want about us behind our backs.”
The RateYourStudents module debuted in early February. There are already 136 students listed, and professors’ use of the tool increased significantly after registration last week. A religion professor said she used RateYourStudents to determine which students to let into her classes when she receives an abundance of override requests for her 300-level religion course.
“I get so many requests, and so far, I’ve admitted them on a first come, first serve basis,” she said. “But this way, it’s just wonderful because then I can admit the most deserving students who will truly work hard in my course.”
An English professor said he plans to use the tool to cut down on plagiarism. He said if he knew someone has been charged with academic dishonesty previously, he would examine their work with extra care to be certain it’s not plagiarized information.
Finally, a sociology professor plans to use the RateYourStudents module on C-Port just for entertainment purposes.
“I always have my first impressions of students on day one. I am eventually proven right or wrong, but now I’ll know right away if I’m spot on. Yes, she is indeed a brownnoser!” he said with a laugh. “It’s just a fun guessing game; I don’t imagine I’ll use it beyond that.”
Bruce Vieweg, associate provost and Chief Information Officer, has alerted the campus that, due to the increased network traffic related to RateYourStudents, Concordia will likely have to expand its bandwidth again.
However, Vieweg says the cost and time it will take to expand the campus’ bandwidth once more is worth the benefits of RateYourStudents.
“It promotes communication and teamwork among the faculty,” he said. “It’s a great service that we want to encourage.”
Marisa Paulson is a senior and the news & features editor of The Concordian, although she still writes when she can. She plans to attend the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in fall 2011.