Students are heading back to school for fall semester. Besides the hustle and bustle of registering for classes, buying books and coordinating class schedules, students have to mentally prepare for the stress and workload that lies ahead.
Online resources are helping students determine in which classes to enroll by allowing students to find out information about professors. These websites are student-driven, where students can openly rate their experience with their past professors and courses.
“For higher-level and core classes you take while you are working toward your major, you want to make sure you have good teachers” says Kade Heales, a Salt Lake Community College Mechanical Engineering student. “I look to see if they are good teachers, fair graders and if they explain the material well.”
Ratemyprofessor.com claims to be the largest online destination for students to look at professor ratings and offers a wide range of information about professors, classes and schools.
The website also includes an open forum for students to write about their experiences and opinions.
“I think that every student I know has checked out the professor first before they register for the class,” said Rachel Prawitt, SLCC engineering student. She also thinks that SLCC should look at the ratings so that the school is aware of how well the professors are teaching.
Other top-rated professor-rating websites include www.koofers.com, which provides student star ratings and the overall GPA for the class, and www.myedu.com, which claims to work directly with universities to post actual end-of-semester course and professor evaluations for higher accuracy feedback.
Most professor-rating websites are not regulated by the different colleges and universities. Therefore, student feedback may not always be completely accurate.
“It is pretty easy to tell if it is a disgruntled student commenting because all the reviews will be consistent and then there will be one that is not,” says Prawitt.
Since these websites are student-opinion-based, students should check other sources, whether it be multiple professor-rating websites, the school website, an academic advisor or word-of-mouth around campus. Multiple sources will give a big picture opinion about professor options.
“Even when you are taking a class that seems like it would be boring, if a great professor is teaching it then the class becomes fun and interesting,” says Whitnee Stebbins, a University of Utah student and former SLCC student.
The bottom line is that students are in school to learn. With online tools available to gather information about specific professors, students will benefit from gaining an inside perspective, allowing them to make an informed decision about a class. An effective professor can make all the difference when it comes to academics, motivation, interest level and ultimately, the grade in the class.