We all know the story about grades – student takes class, student studies and completes assignments (hopefully), student gets a grade from the instructor – but what if we put that story in reverse? That’s exactly what college ratings sites like Ratemyprofessors.com and Myedu.com hope to achieve. If we can rate restaurants and other businesses on Yelp, why not do the same with university professors? Whether we are paying for a meal or a college education, we want to get the best experience possible.
Here’s how it works: Students who have taken courses from a particular professor at their university can write reviews about professors and their classes, discussing the pros and cons of the professors’ teaching styles and the level of difficulty in coursework. Students who are looking to take classes can read those reviews and decide whether or not they would like to add classes with particular professors to their course-load. In addition, sites like Myedu show past grade breakdowns, informing students of how easy or difficult it would be for students to achieve an A or B in the class.
According to the RateMyProfessors website, it “is built for college students, by college students. Choosing the best courses and professors is a rite of passage for every student, and connecting with peers on the site has become a key way for millions of students to navigate this process.”
From personal experience, I can say that these ratings sites have undoubtedly changed my entire college education as I’ve used them heavily throughout my college career. Fantastic and engaging professors have been far more important in determining my schedule than the actual class-times themselves. So yes – I’d wake up for an 8 am class if it means I can take the class with the best professor available. And I have definitely held off on taking classes with professors who received negative ratings and waited until someone with a better reputation came along.
Students already talk to each other about what classes they’ve taken and what professors are “good.” Ratings sites simply make the information more readily available to be shared with entire campus communities. Plus, it’s made it possible for me to discover great professors who have altered my career paths and even my perceptions of the world.