Rate my professor: the inside scoop that leads students into the right seat

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It’s that time of year again, Cosumnes River College students glue themselves to their laptops and smart-phones as they strategically plan next semester’s schedule. It isn’t just a matter of choosing classes, it’s choosing ones destiny.

Luckily, between tomorrow’s technology and today’s cyberspace-addicted generation, students have the luxury to sample any class they wish before nailing the coffin shut with enrolling.

The website Ratemyprofessor.com provides an inside look at professors and their courses through anonymous student based reviews.

Simply type in a professor’s name and a novel’s worth of comments appear at the tip of your fingers.

“Really great professor,” wrote one of the reviewers for  CRC film and media Professor Rick Boeck. “Lectures that would have been boring, he made hilarious and interesting.”

Another student shared advice after taking English Professor Norman Hom’s class, “P.S. Don’t walk in front of him while he’s talking…eek.”

Before committing to 16 weeks of unfamiliar territory, liberal studies major Grace Bramlett is just one of many students who check the site before choosing next semester courses.

“I like how you can rate and discuss their [professors] strengths and weaknesses,” Bramlett said.

With a click of a mouse, students can rate a professor’s overall teaching quality with either a blue sad face or a yellow smiley face. For those seeking eye-candy along with education, there’s even a “hot” chili pepper icon to rate the professor’s overall attractiveness.

For many students, the professor ratings can either make or break enrolling in a course.

Last semester, reviewers warned administration justice major Maranda Dean, 19, of a professor’s heavy accent and disorganized teaching style.

To Dean’s dismay, the comments turned out to be completely accurate. “I ended up switching to an evening class and she turned out to be my favorite professor,” Dean said.

Engineering major Berenice Cervantes, 24, also used the website for insight on a public speaking course she signed up for.

“I was able to see that people thought my teacher was an easy grader and the exams were helpful,” Cervantes said.

Cervantes emphasized the site’s credibility when her personal experience matched the comments she read beforehand.

“What the students say is true,” Cervantes said enthusiastically.

Although the site can provide keen information on courses, comments can also leave viewers torn and conflicted.

Since students use the site to voice their admirations and vent their frustrations, it’s no surprise comments can range from happy to hurtful.

After referencing the websites comments “I found out some of the professors weren’t up to social standards of politeness” said 19-year-old psychology major Scott Miller.

With over 200 comments to his name, sociology Professor Paul Zisk chuckled at the mention of the student-led website.

“I think it’s hilarious,” Zisk said. “Some of the comments are really creative.”

One Zisk reviewer wrote,“Quite a character! This guy pushes the limits each class. Crazy stories and many jokes.”

However, Zisk mentioned the website’s potential danger when students biased opinions determine their future courses.

“Usually students with good grades leave good comments and students with bad grades leave bad comments,” Zisk said.

Students must navigate the site like a ship when it comes to judging credibility.

“Everyone has their own opinion,” said 19-year-old social work major Kayalne Pearson.

But at least with ratemyprofessors.com, “I know what I’m getting myself into,” said Cervantes.
From praise to patrony, chili pepper to blue sad face, any comment is fair game with a website “led by students, focused on students,” Dean said.

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