Subversion or Perversion?

I was looking up a friend’s home page on the web via  google.  The third entry gave me  her “RateMyProfessors” page.  And I  could rate her.  I would need to enter a class name or number, which would be pretty easy to get. 

Given women are typically given less good ratings, should we become more pro-active on these public forums?  And how about leaving something useful in the comments section, such as “most rewarding for those who work at it”?

(I do hear that some schools take the ratings seriously, by the way.  It is the sort of thing Boards of Regents can find significant.)

Note:  I was going to put up a poll asking about readers about whether they had rated themselves or others (not their professors).  Given how the results might be variably interpreted, that seems now a  bad idea.

2 thoughts on “Subversion or Perversion?

  1. I think you have a very valid point here, jj.
    I wonder if any research has been done yet about how well the voters represent the student population.
    What worries me is the weight that is given to these ratings without any data on the correlation with actual quality of teaching.
    I had a few teachers whom I really liked in high school and in university, they were so popular, witty, funny, but not so good as teachers, and there were some that were quite boring, but very consistent and systematical and they actually taught me stuff.
    I wonder very much about the average student being able to distinguish between popularity and educational qualities. More so with high school students than with university students, but still.

  2. Thanks, Hippocampa. When I removed the poll, I erased a slightly more nuanced discussion of pros and cons. But the point remains that these can be taken very seriously.

    I remember a nice story from James Ward Smith, who used to give quite popular courses in philosophy at Princeton. Someone in the English dept, he maintained, was teaching a course in which he, the professor, got the highest marks from the students, while the subject of the course, Shakespeare, got low ones.

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