Professors react to RateMyProfessors.com scores

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“If this person is saying that (the professor) is boring, was it because they slept through the class? In which case, it may not have mattered about the professor,” said professor Brian Bates in regard to RateMyProfessors.com

By Barbara Harvey, Joseph Daniels and Jessica Vang

Professor: Brian Bates

Department: Humanities

Scores on RateMyProfessors.com:

Overall: 4.0/5

Helpfulness: 4.1/5

Clarity: 3.9/5

Easiness: 3.7/5

 

Question: Do you know your score on RateMyProfessors.com?

Answer: No.

Q: Have you ever looked at the website?

A: A long time ago I looked at it, but I don’t pay that much attention to it.

Q: What was your impression of it?

A: In some cases, some people were right on, as far as their comments. In other cases, and I’m not just talking about my thing, but looking at other people on there, you could tell that maybe they had a grief about this or that, some small thing. I think it can be useful for students. But I think you have to look at what the student who rated that professor had in mind. Were they really ticked off because they had a bad grade? Did they really like the professor and want to spread the word? That kind of thing. So it’s useful. My daughter looked at my rating and said I was ‘too easy.’ So whatever. She put more credit in that than I did.

Q: Too easy in terms of…

A: In terms of Rate My Professors.

Q: What do you think the average score for ARC would be?

A: I don’t know their scoring system, so just in general, I think ARC is probably going to rank higher than a lot of places. First of all because it has a really strong faculty, and the second factor, which sometimes doesn’t get taken into consideration, is that it’s got pretty good students. So a good student is going to make an intelligent comment, not just ranting about some complaint. So I think they’re probably going to be above average. I don’t know that, but my guess is that would be the case. I think some place like a four-year school has the advantage that you’re in classes that you really want to be in, that’s your major, that kind of thing. So they might rank higher on that kind of level. But I think in the basic classes, ARC might do really well, and mainly because they have really good people here now.

Q: Do you think the students recognize we have good faculty here?

A: I think they do. A good student does, certainly. And you could say that a bad student or bad faculty member wouldn’t recognize that anyway. You can always say that an A student can tell the difference between an A and a C paper easily. A C student can’t. That’s why they’re a C student on that paper.

Q: Do you think that a good student would be able to look at Rate My Professors objectively and tell which is a bitter student leaving a bad review because they got a bad grade and which is…

A: Yeah, and I think that’s true of any site. You’ve got to evaluate the site and take a look at what kinds of forces are at work there. And take it with some grains of salt. But if you know who’s writing that, and get a good sense of their purposes, then that can tell you how you’re going to react to it. And I say about the faculty–I’ve taught at a number of places: University of Arizona, Pima College, and this is a good, good faculty here. So it should rank higher.

Q: Overall, do you think the site is a benefit to students, or could be detrimental?

A: I think it could be used well. I don’t think it’s going to be detrimental to students, because they’re going to have the choice to do something, or not. They can extoll some people, and say “yeah, take this person” for whatever reason, because he’s easier, because you’re going to learn a lot, or some other factor. They can also say “don’t take this one, because that character is really boring in class, or is unfair in his grading.” And that’s where I think everyone has to use some common sense. If this person is saying that (the professor) is boring, was it because they slept through the class? In which case, it may not have mattered about the professor.

 

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