Sophomores Adele Chouinard and Clara McConnell are part of a wave of students who find RateMyProfessor.com (RMP) a useful forum when it comes to registering for new classes.
“Every student chooses a teacher based on their personality. RateMyProfessor.com is for students to not only discover how a class will be,” Chouinard said.
McConnell added how RMP informs students on professors and class standards.
“(RMP) says what the teachers are like and what they expect from their students,” McConnell said.
Julia Barnett, an art history senior, defines RMP as an additional resource she uses.
“I think RateMyProfessor.com is a great tool allowing students to see insight on consistencies, organizational patterns, lecture styles and student participation, which could match up with a student’s learning style,”Barnett said.
RMP is a website which lets users search instructors alphabetically by school then instructor names to see what students have posted.
The results will show feedback from students who previously had the instructor’s class.
Although instructors can gather data from students using course evaluations, some instructors are curious to see what students say about them on RMP.
“I had an instructor directly quote from RMP and defend himself,” McConnell said.
Some instructors use Boise State course evaluations to provide them with feedback; however, according to Brett Shelton, associate professor and department chair of Educational Technology, says the value students place on RMP might not provide the same type of feedback instructors are looking for to improve on.
“I think the value of what students place on RMP vs. course evaluations would be really interesting to know, but the information on RMP would need to be comprehensible feedback to meet the needs of our students,” Shelton said.
The major difference and underlying factor between the university’s system and RMP is the intended audience.
The results from online course evaluations provide comprehensive data to the instructors’ evaluators unlike RMP, which is peer to peer.
The data is a measure of whether or not an instructor fulfilled certain requirements.
However, Shelton is surprised that Boise State does not post the evaluations online for students to see.
“If students request to see Boise State course evaluations, I will make them available to him or her,” Shelton said.
Andrew Giacomazzi, associate dean for faculty development and criminal justice professor, explained why RMP isn’t useful to instructors.
“The biggest problem with RateMyProf.com is that a large class—say 150 students you only get two or three responses out of 150. Those comments can be interesting; they can be sometimes funny or critical, but I think that what they’re worth is not really representative of the class,” Giacomazzi said.
Despite whether RMP is more for students, not all students agree the rants of others should be the basis of an informed decision.
Although Barnett uses RMP as a tool she uses it in caution.
“Everything on RateMyProfessor.com should be taken with a grain of salt. Students should do their research in other realms as well,” Barnett said.