KSU students and professors rate RateMyProfessors.com

Why should students care? Students use RateMyProfessors.com as a way to learn more about their professors and classes they want to take in the future. Students need to consider that not all the ratings on RateMyProfessors.com are accurate. Some students write negative comments because of the grade they received or because they didn’t like the textbook used — not because of the professor’s teaching style.

Alicia Balog

When college students begin to plan their next semester’s schedule, some look to older students and friends for advice about which classes to take and which teachers to avoid, while others turn to a popular website called RateMyProfessors.com.

On RateMyProfessor.com, students can rate their previous teachers and post comments to prospective students about a particular class or professor. Kent State University’s 1,898 professors receive an average rating of 3.1 on a scale of 1 to 5, from lowest to highest quality.

Linda Williams, associate professor of philosophy, said on RateMyProfessors.com, you see ratings in a large spectrum, from the students who love you to those who frankly wish you’d choose a different career path.

“It was a self-selecting survey, and generally, the people who answer these kinds of surveys were really happy with you or hated you,” Williams said.

Robin Joynes, assistant professor of psychology, said she has seen her own ratings online, while other professors do not look at them.

“I know a lot of faculty members that are probably on there that they just don’t look at those because, like I said, it can be kind of a biased sample,” Joynes said. “You know, you get either people who are really pleased or really upset and want to say so.”

While some teachers read their ratings and others do not, many students use the website to help make decisions about their classes or to learn more about potential professors.

Katelyn Yackley, senior Spanish major, said she uses RateMyProfessors.com to get a general feel for a class and professor.

“It’s usually easy to find the professor,” Yackley said. “You have to take everything with a grain of salt, but it is good to get a feel for what a professor is like.”

Echo Bartel, junior fashion design major, said that RateMyProfessors.com definitely helped her choose some of her classes, but that some people simply write negative comments because of personal issues, not because of the prsofessor’s teaching style or abilities.

“It’s just a lot of ones that will have all good ratings and then one person who didn’t do any work and failed the class and just didn’t like the teacher will bash her,” Bartel said.

Williams said she is dubious of the reliability of RateMyProfessors.com since students who write negative comments do so to vent about the unpleasant things that they are experiencing.

“What if you had this lecture person who had a discussion class, and they said that this class sucks or that teacher was terrible, but the reason was because it was a lot of discussion,” Williams said. “Then, you’ve got a discussion-oriented student who reads that the class and teacher suck and doesn’t take that class when it would’ve been perfect for that person.”

With all the positive and negative ratings professors receive online, students may have some difficulty choosing which class is right for them. Yackley said that people should use RateMyProfessors.com to break a tie in such cases.

“Use it, but don’t depend on it too much,” Yackley said. “Make friends with some upperclassmen and ask if they’ve ever taken it or someone in the department who’s higher up who had to take that once. They usually have taken some even higher level credit classes with that professor and could give you a better feel for what that professor is really like, especially if it’s someone you know and you trust their opinion.”

Contact Alicia Balog at [email protected].