Students struggling with selecting classes for the upcoming spring semester may want to access a social networking website that can at least help determine which professors might be best.
RateMyProfessors.com allows students to post opinions on professors’ teaching styles and course difficulty.
The website, founded in 2001, includes more than 707 OCCC professors. It allows students to post an anonymous review of any professor on the website or with a registered account.
The website does not take into account whether the professor is currently employed by the college.
For a review to be posted, it must be 350 characters or less. A student must rate the professor’s course based on a scale of 1 to 5 based on “clarity,” “easiness,” “helpfulness,” and the user’s “interest” in the class prior to taking it. In addition, students may also rate the professor’s appearance as “hot” or “not.”
The professor’s overall quality rating is determined by a smiley emoticon which is given next to his or her name.
A yellow smiley emoticon is given for professors who rate above a 4.
A green blank expression emoticon is given to professors receiving a ranking between 3 and 4, and a blue sad expression emoticon represents any rating that falls below a 3.
A professor’s name is accompanied by a chili pepper icon if his or her appearance rating is “hot.”
OCCC rated 3.48 overall for professors compared to sister commuter colleges Rose State College which rated 3.43 overall and a 3.27 overall average posted by OSU-OKC.
Students have mixed opinions about using the website.
Shara Reasor, 28, nursing major, said the site is “kind of silly.”
“Because it is subjective, if a student has a bad experience, the student is not going to enjoy the class or professor. The same with a good experience.”
Vanessa Salas, 18, liberal studies major, said she has used the website to find easier classes and professors. However, Salas said, she thinks the website should do away with less relevant professors that are not currently employed by OCCC.
Chelsye Bacon, 20, digital photography major, said she will use the website more in the future because of a negative experience she is currently experiencing in an online class. Bacon said she believes if she had done more research, she might have avoided the class altogether.
Will Cribbet, 27, political science major, said he hasn’t used the website, but thinks he should have when selecting past courses.
Cribbet said he has had positive experiences with professors at OCCC citing a College Writing II professor who offered to take him into his home when Cribbet was going through a difficult time in his life.
Cribbet said that particular professor’s score on RateMyProfessors.com should have been higher.
Students are not the only one with mixed opinions about the website.
Biology and Zoology professor Anthony Stancampiano considers the website “qualitative non-sampling.
“Mostly, it is a beacon for bitching,” he said.
Stancampino currently has a rating of 2.7.
Stancampiano said he believes the website mainly consists of students logging in and commenting when they have not performed well in a particular class.
“If it were truly a quantitative source, before you would have entered anything you would have to say how long were you in the course, how often you studied, if you missed class, what is your background … ,” he said. “So to make it a valid form you would have to lay down your background to truly rate things.”
Political science professor Dana Glencross said she mentions RateMyProfessors.com in her class to alert her students about what they are getting into. She currently has a user rating of 3.1.
Glencross said although her rating is a 3.1, she feels it is a fairly accurate assessment of who she is.
“I know a lot of professors think it is a bogus popularity contest, even the bad comments,” she said. “While I do not review it a lot, I do look at the negative comments to see if I could be doing what I am doing in a better way.
“It’s not necessarily constructive criticism whatever they are saying, but if I could do something better it might give me a hint as to what it might be.”
One professor encourages students to use discretion when reading about a professor listed on RateMyProfessors.com.
English professor Jon Inglett, who has a rating of 4.4, encourages students to review multiple data points before they select a course.
“RateMyProfessors.com is one useful data point, but if used exclusively to make a decision, a student may miss out on a great professor,” Inglett said.
Psychology professor Stephanie Hayes offers this simple assessment: “You do not have to like a professor to learn from a professor.”