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sheryl

How to "choose" professors (good vs. not rated profs)

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How reliable is "rate my professor" or whatever it's called?  DD is at cc this year and probably next before going to a college/university.   Her professor for a class this semester did not rank well on the rate professor site. 

This guy is way out in left field.  All of our concerns were validated by reading reviews from others on the rating site who voiced the same concerns!  DUH!  I wish I would have known this sooner to drop/add. 

HOW do you research/choose professors at cc and university level? 

As an aside, this guy should not be teaching OR change "some" of his techniques for teaching if that's what you call what he does!  SMIRK!

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I don't think it's very good, tbh.  Much like the doctor rating sites, people don't necessarily know what makes for a good doctor.  I've tried looking both at doctors and professors I knew were good or bad, and the results are all over the place.  

You can read them and get some sense of certain problems and the perceptions of the students.  If a lot of people are saying the person doesn't come prepared, that is pretty straight-forward.  Basically, if they are competent or better, and nice and not too weird, they will probably get a good rating.  Especially if the course is not too hard but aren't dumb.  If the person is more personally difficult, or the class is difficult, or they are odd, the ratings will be not as good or more varied, no matter how brilliant they are.

In my experience the best way to choose is to get to know the professors, ask students whose opinions you think are valuable, and maybe sit in some lectures by profs whose classes you are thinking of taking.

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I am a college professor and have taught about 7,000 students over the course of my teaching career. I have under 50 ratings on ratemyprofessor. That means that less than 1% of my students bother to leave a rating.

Students who rate fall into two categories. Students are most likely to rate a course they hated, and a little bit likely to rate a course they loved. If the course was OK, but neither hated nor loved, they won't bother leaving a rating.

So, an individual rating is meaningless. I would pay attention if multiple ratings show a pattern: professor is unprepared, tests are graded inconsistently, assignments are unrelated to exams. I would disregard any rating that just bashes the instructor without being factual.

The best way to choose a professor is word of mouth. the students will know who is a good instructor and who isn't. Also, in most courses, it is not possible to hand pick your instructor - you have to take whoever is teaching the course.

 

Edited by regentrude
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Sometimes rate-my-professor is reliable, other times it is not.  I would look to see if there are a large number of reviews across a number of semesters that are consistent.  When a professor has only a few reviews, you know you are dealing with a small sample of students and may not get a reliable picture.  I have known of situations where there is major problem in a semester (such as a big cheating issue) which the professor has to address and gets a ton of negative reviews during one semester.  There have also been documented cases of fake positive reviews posted by professors, their grad students, etc.  

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Also, sometimes the institution posts publicly a subset of the ratings for teaching evaluation questions. That is where I would start.

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Ask around.  Be specific. 

I found it better to ask someone who had similar study habits, classroom engagement, and literacy level.  The only bad experience our family had was a DE course..the person was unable to stick to his readings schedule, allowed the students to steer the discussion off topic, etc etc. and the tests weren't at the college level. 

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I think it's really hard to tell. It's helpful if there are quite a few detailed ratings. We've found it to be the least helpful for science & for upper level math courses b/c the student's perception of whether or not the professor is "good" is often dependent upon whether or not the student is naturally gifted in the subject. My kid has also found that some highly rated profs are actually just easy--doesn't really matter if it's some throw away gen ed class, but problematic if the course is foundational to one's major.

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

Also, sometimes the institution posts publicly a subset of the ratings for teaching evaluation questions. That is where I would start.

 

I'm not sure these are really more reliable.

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I found that when I was using it for myself, it wasn't a good indicator of who I was going to get. If there are consistent things that the raters, both good and bad, mention, such as: "Hated him! He was always late!" and "Best teacher EVAR! Sometimes comes in a few minutes late but will talk after class about whatever you need", you know the guy will probably come to a few classes late. But, individual taste it too big to determine if they are actually good. Also, if the student doesn't like the subject, chances are they won't like the teacher no matter how good/bad etc they are.

DH taught a little less than 3000 students, he had 12 ratings. On his last semester teaching, he pulled out ALL of the stops. He learned the new tech boards, made handouts, made *individualized* study guides, set up the online class site, made a reward system (finish xzy critera? entered to win gift cards to the campus bookstore or starbucks!) etc, besides the regular office hours and everything he had done in the past. Just, everything he could think of. In the internal reviews that are given anonymously by each student as part of the class (required by this college) he was rated highly by almost everyone. And... at the end of the semester, he received 2 ratings: one person saying DH wasn't invested in the class and the student got a D because it was boring. The other person who rated him said that it was the worst class he's had and mentioned the class by name and by course number -- DH has never taught that course.

So, I guess my TLDR opinion is that it can help you see large tendencies of the professor but won't really let you know if they are a good or bad fit for you personally. 

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Personal recommendations from good students are best, but that's sometimes impossible. My oldest is at a large regional 4-year, and there are so many professors and so many students that it's hard to get personal recommendations. I went to a small 4-year (i.e. around 1,000 undergraduates), and it was very easy to get personal recommendations there.

I'm a 20-year adjunct, and some of my ratings rant about me following college policies. Really? Other say that I assign a lot of work but that it was a good class. Obviously the later is a better indicator. Some say that I'm boring as toast and others say that I'm an engaging lecturer. Go figure.

So it isn't always the full story, but it can be a good indicator. Sometimes you'll get an indication of what the assignments are like. My oldest took a required class in his major where he had to write a short essay each week on current events related to a particular topic. It was good to know that was coming. 

I used to have a dean who used RMP as part of the evaluation of her adjuncts. A friend of mine wasn't brought back the next semester because one section collaborated and really ganged up on her. Her ratings on RMP were rock bottom, and they said that she assigned too much homework and gave hard tests. The irony is that she had received stellar ratings on every other front for a decade before that. I left over that and other issues, and later heard that the dean had been asked to retire or be fired over multiple issues. She retired.

Edited by G5052
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45 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

I'm not sure these are really more reliable.

That depends on the return rate. If I have 50% of students participate in evaluations, that is a much broader sample than the <1%. Even in the sections with the smallest response rate, I get 20% responses. Which for one course section are more than all my rmp ratings for the last 15 years combined.

Edited by regentrude

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13 minutes ago, regentrude said:

That depends on the return rate. If I have 50% of students participate in evaluations, that is a much broader sample than the <1%. Even in the sections with the smallest response rate, I get 20% responses. Which for one course section are more than all my rmp ratings for the last 15 years combined.

Sometimes high response rates do not add to the quality of the responses.  If a school makes a push to increase response rates but students just quickly go through the survey mindlessly (because their grade is not released unless they do or because they are entered into a bookstore gift certificate drawing), there are many more observation points, but the observation points are not meaningful.

I had a colleague who had a student fill out the evaluations after not attending a single class, take an exam, or complete an assignment (the university was providing a list of students who completed evaluations to faculty--not the individual responses--so that profs could give extra credit to encourage completion of evaluations).  She contacted the student, thinking he must have messed up his registration and must have been attending the wrong class all semester.  The student responded that no, he had not attended class, but knew there was some extra credit for filling in evaluations, so he decided he should at least get those points for the class.

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Right, thanks everyone.  Good points.  Surely, it is a foundation to glean from the website or any other the info about a prof.  I think some people have the "gift" to teach and others do not know "how" to teach.  Anyway, it is very true that each student is unique with his/her own temperament, personality, expectations, etc that will be shown on an eval.  Subjective.   But, then there are the reviews that do NOT attack character but specific to the course and reviews we read all corroborated one another and us as well.   

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I use it quite a bit in helping my kids pick classes, and I’ve found it to be useful. We look for patterns that are mentioned over several semesters by different students (sometimes you can tell it’s the same student writing a couple of reviews). So far my kids haven’t encountered any surprises either way. They try and get profs rated 4 or higher, and they have liked those and haven’t liked the two that were rated lower.

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rate my professor, talking to peers in the same major.

doesn't mean you'll get a choice.  2ds - has a reputation of registering the day before the quarter starts for a reason.  last may, he and most of his major colleagues - registered for a particular fall class.  their choices were ___teacher, or staff.  they all chose staff.  the unknown was a better option.   in the end - this teacher is still teaching them.

and 1ds, probably had the worst prof experience of any of my kids.  only prof teaching the class and new to the uni.  admin stepped in before the end of the quarter, the seniors were scheduled to have him for a class in the spring - and they banded together and demanded he be replaced.  these are all engineering majors - about an engineering prof!  among his failings . . . he was teaching advanced concepts in what was supposed to be an introductory class  of a series (the TA was "what"???) - and wanted to fail the entire class, and was caught plagiarizing from MIT.

Edited by gardenmom5
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1 hour ago, livetoread said:

I use it quite a bit in helping my kids pick classes, and I’ve found it to be useful. We look for patterns that are mentioned over several semesters by different students (sometimes you can tell it’s the same student writing a couple of reviews). So far my kids haven’t encountered any surprises either way. They try and get profs rated 4 or higher, and they have liked those and haven’t liked the two that were rated lower.

Exactly the same here. 

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3 hours ago, regentrude said:

That depends on the return rate. If I have 50% of students participate in evaluations, that is a much broader sample than the <1%. Even in the sections with the smallest response rate, I get 20% responses. Which for one course section are more than all my rmp ratings for the last 15 years combined.

 

Sure, a better return rate.  I'm just not convinced that students as a group are great judges of what is a great class.

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We use rate my professor. The numbers are not as helpful as reading the reviews. Some things that ds loves in a prof are things that other students hate, so he really has to read all the reviews. I find it is most helpful if you make sure to read the reviews for the class you are taking. The same prof might have vastly different reviews for 1001 intro bio and 3000-level genetics.  Also some classes are just hard and the profs ratings suffer. You are unlikely to see a 5.0 physics prof.

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We've had success using Rate My Professor, as long as we read the reviews, not just look at the ratings. As others have mentioned -- look at the reviews for the specific course (ex: when my oldest was looking at the Calculus teachers, and the reviews by the Algebra students were very different than the reviews from the higher level math courses). Look for what's actually stated about the class -- we've learned ahead of time which professors require a lot of writing and which don't; one of my boys does not do well writing in a short time frame, so we took that into consideration for him. 

Using it in this manner, we've had pretty good luck in choosing the professors with the better ratings and finding our sons' experiences have matched the ratings, or at least our expectations based on the ratings, if that makes sense. 

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4 hours ago, Bluegoat said:

Sure, a better return rate.  I'm just not convinced that students as a group are great judges of what is a great class.

Actually, it is my experience that students as a group are quite good at judging what is a good class and who is a good teacher. Contrary to popular belief, students actually appreciate if they are learning and are not just handed easy grades. The appreciate, and are able to discern, when a class is structured well, when the professor is engaged, knowledgeable, and caring. They notice when a prof is incompetent, unprepared, or doesn't care about the class.

The reputation a professor as teacher has among his colleagues usually matches the reputation the prof has among the students. They are good at identifying crummy teachers and outstanding teachers, and, averaged over large numbers, they are very consistent - and typically agree with the professional judgment of the instructor's colleagues. We all know who the extraordinary teachers are (and they are beloved by the students), and we know whose class students should avoid (and they do).  Students are not stupid.

The opinions expressed by less than 1% of students on ratemyprofessor often do not represent the average opinion of a large cohort.

Edited by regentrude
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59 minutes ago, regentrude said:

Actually, it is my experience that students as a group are quite good at judging what is a good class and who is a good teacher. Contrary to popular belief, students actually appreciate if they are learning and are not just handed easy grades. The appreciate, and are able to discern, when a class is structured well, when the professor is engaged, knowledgeable, and caring. They notice when a prof is incompetent, unprepared, or doesn't care about the class.

The reputation a professor as teacher has among his colleagues usually matches the reputation the prof has among the students. They are good at identifying crummy teachers and outstanding teachers, and, averaged over large numbers, they are very consistent - and typically agree with the professional judgment of the instructor's colleagues. We all know who the extraordinary teachers are (and they are beloved by the students), and we know whose class students should avoid (and they do).  Students are not stupid.

The opinions expressed by less than 1% of students on ratemyprofessor often do not represent the average opinion of a large cohort.

I think what's also a positive factor with the in-class evaluations is that they are usually done before the course is completed and the final grades handed out. I can see the "rate my prof" as an opportunity for students to bash a prof if they receive a poor grade (that may have nothing to do with the prof's teaching ability). 

Edited by wintermom
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 I have used rate my professor for myself, and my two boys have used it as well. If you had asked me this question before this semester I would’ve said it’s been amazing. They were always able to find good solid professors by using that website. This semester, two classes have been just awful, and the professor’s ratings were all fantastic. One professor speaks with such a heavy accent, that my son can hardly understand him. He’s terrible at actually explaining math and actually tells the students that he’s not sure if he solved problems correctly! My son was so surprised that no one had mentioned it in the ratings. In another class, there’s been 12+ hours of video lectures each week. Another thing we were surprised no one else had mentioned. So I keep telling them that for the sake of their fellow students they need to actually rate their professors as well lol! 

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9 hours ago, wintermom said:

I think what's also a positive factor with the in-class evaluations is that they are usually done before the course is completed and the final grades handed out. I can see the "rate my prof" as an opportunity for students to bash a prof if they receive a poor grade (that may have nothing to do with the prof's teaching ability). 

I don't think that makes a big difference, because the window for evaluations is usually towards the very end of the semester, and by that time, students have a pretty good idea whether they will be passing or not. 

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Not sure about how accurate rate my professor is but just wanted to say that we saw quite a few very positive ratings and comments when we were looking,  which doesn't fit in with only those who want to complain bothering to rate.

 

ETA - We also looked at the in house evaluations and they seemed much less specific and informative.

Edited by TCB
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My kids have used ratemyprofessor extensively. When there is a choice of which professor to sign up for, it is useful to read the reviews. Ignore the numbers and just read through the reviews. They have still gotten occasional awful teachers. In those cases, we have gone back and looked at the reviews again and actually saw signs of it in the reviews that we just overlooked because of the other positives. Many times what students are posting in their review as a negative are actually things that my kids look at as a positive.

Like a poster higher up in this thread, my kids have chosen "staff" before because the unknown probably wouldn't be worst than the other section with a known bad teacher. Sometimes that has worked out well with a different instructor and sometimes it turns out to be that bad teacher anyway.

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2 hours ago, regentrude said:

I don't think that makes a big difference, because the window for evaluations is usually towards the very end of the semester, and by that time, students have a pretty good idea whether they will be passing or not. 

I have found that it makes a difference in some classes.  I know one professor who intentionally gave a very easy exam right before evaluations would be done and then gave a very hard final exam after evaluations were completed.  I knew another professor, just because of the nature and sequencing of the material, had to teach and test on the most difficult topic right before evaluations were done.  I have often seen when students are concerned about their grade, they put things like "it is two weeks before the end of the semester and I have no idea what my grade is in the class", meaning that they cannot predict that they will do as well as they would like, not that the professor has not provided all of the information of grades up to that point.  I have also seen these types of comments when a large portion of the grade is a final project that can't be graded because it hasn't been turned in yet.

I have also seen a big difference in the usefulness of evaluations at different universities.  Some student populations take it much more seriously and are much better at providing critical evaluation than other student populations are.  

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My dc don't have access to info shared in departmental evaluations, but they love ratemyprofessors.com.  My dc have found great profs that way, even going into first semester without knowing anyone to ask.  The ratings matter less than the comments, where one can learn details about the prof's habits, types of assignments/tests, general class expectations, grading, etc.  When many students have the same complaints, you know those issues are likely to come up again - the question is if you consider those issues a problem or a benefit.  For example, my dc has taken courses from profs others complained about because exams were based on material shared in lectures, not the textbook, so they couldn't just read and skip class.  For dc, who never misses a class, those "unreasonable" profs were a terrific fit.   Sometimes it's necessary to take a course from someone who is a poor match for the particular student, but at least the student can have some advance notice instead of going in blind.  You do have to read every review - the numbers are mostly meaningless without the patterns in the comments.  

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Am I understanding here that you can read departmental reviews?  Perhaps I didn't read that right.  

RateMyProfessor, word of mouth - is there another review site?  DD has a few friends at her cc and is making new friends there.  She might not want to make that a topic of conversation with her friends.  Although I did mention that to her a week or so ago but she hasn't done that yet. 

Any other ideas welcome.  

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16 minutes ago, sheryl said:

Am I understanding here that you can read departmental reviews?  Perhaps I didn't read that right.  

The full teaching evaluation comments are usually not published, but at some colleges, students who are enrolling in a class are permitted to see student comments.

At least public colleges are required to publish a subset of the numerical answers to specific evaluation questions.

Edited by regentrude
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At that level you are expected to BA able work round teacher failings.  I had lecturers who barely spoke English, made genuine mistakes in maths problems in class and in one case a very senior professor who was starting to forget quite a lot (we respected that he had forgotten more than we were ever likely to learn and read the textbook more).  It rankles when you were paying for it but we had no choice about which classes to take so we just made do.

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1 hour ago, regentrude said:

The full teaching evaluation comments are usually not published, but at some colleges, students who are enrolling in a class are permitted to see student comments.

At least public colleges are required to publish a subset of the numerical answers to specific evaluation questions.

Got it, thanks!  That is very helpful to know.  Is this true at the cc level?  Or, 4-year only? 

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We have used it for my oldest son.  As you know, he struggles academically with classes that aren't in his major or aren't of interest to him.  (Aspergers and if it is irrelevant, it is just a waste of time!)  So I look at RMP with a careful eye to things on these types of classes.  "Doesn't explain clearly" written by multiple students......won't pick that professor since he needs clarity.  "Tests on things not covered in class" nope.   "Thinks Art History is the only class you have!"  Nope.

However, on his core classes, the ones he really wants to learn and engage, we look for things like, "Tough but knows his stuff!"  or, "Work hard and you will really learn." and we pick those.  Thankfully, he has been there long enough that he is starting to know the professors' names in his major, and knows their reputation, and next quarter he is very excited to have "the legend!"  Tough, tough guy, but possibly the best professor at the school in his field.

But disclaimer:  He had a professor that he really liked, but who had lower reviews.  He loves him.  In fact, so much so, that when he found out he was teaching another class he needs, he chose to take him again, even though some students don't care for him.  

So, some of it can be subjective.  Personality differences, etc.....

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7 hours ago, DawnM said:

We have used it for my oldest son.  As you know, he struggles academically with classes that aren't in his major or aren't of interest to him.  (Aspergers and if it is irrelevant, it is just a waste of time!)  So I look at RMP with a careful eye to things on these types of classes.  "Doesn't explain clearly" written by multiple students......won't pick that professor since he needs clarity.  "Tests on things not covered in class" nope.   "Thinks Art History is the only class you have!"  Nope.

However, on his core classes, the ones he really wants to learn and engage, we look for things like, "Tough but knows his stuff!"  or, "Work hard and you will really learn." and we pick those.  Thankfully, he has been there long enough that he is starting to know the professors' names in his major, and knows their reputation, and next quarter he is very excited to have "the legend!"  Tough, tough guy, but possibly the best professor at the school in his field.

But disclaimer:  He had a professor that he really liked, but who had lower reviews.  He loves him.  In fact, so much so, that when he found out he was teaching another class he needs, he chose to take him again, even though some students don't care for him.  

So, some of it can be subjective.  Personality differences, etc.....

Do you know anyone locally that has had their child/ren at our local cc?  I'd love to contact them to find out if they have any recs.  I can not post to our local group b/c dd went a little longer to finish and the stigma she might receive from people with whom we are friends irl.  

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2 minutes ago, sheryl said:

Do you know anyone locally that has had their child/ren at our local cc?  I'd love to contact them to find out if they have any recs.  I can not post to our local group b/c dd went a little longer to finish and the stigma she might receive from people with whom we are friends irl.  

 

Well, my oldest went for 2 years, she is going to the downtown CC?  Most of the people I know go to the 2 CCs to the South of you.  

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On 11/9/2018 at 8:25 PM, wintermom said:

I think what's also a positive factor with the in-class evaluations is that they are usually done before the course is completed and the final grades handed out. I can see the "rate my prof" as an opportunity for students to bash a prof if they receive a poor grade (that may have nothing to do with the prof's teaching ability). 

 

On 11/10/2018 at 5:48 AM, regentrude said:

I don't think that makes a big difference, because the window for evaluations is usually towards the very end of the semester, and by that time, students have a pretty good idea whether they will be passing or not. 

 

Do professors see the evaluation forms before final grades are submitted? Just wondering if some students may worry that a negative review will be held against them. (I know they are theoretically anonymous, but when I was a TA I could often tell which students wrote which reviews.)

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

 

Well, my oldest went for 2 years, she is going to the downtown CC?  Most of the people I know go to the 2 CCs to the South of you.  

Hi Dawn,  Not d.t., but L.  

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23 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

 

 

Do professors see the evaluation forms before final grades are submitted? Just wondering if some students may worry that a negative review will be held against them. (I know they are theoretically anonymous, but when I was a TA I could often tell which students wrote which reviews.)

I would be astonished if it were the practice anywhere to reveal them before grades were submitted. However, a student who needs to take future classes with the same instructor could be intimidated. 

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20 minutes ago, sheryl said:

Hi Dawn,  Not d.t., but L.  

 

Oh, yes, I have a few friends whose kids have gone there.  I honestly haven't heard them talk about choosing professors though. Most of them have chosen by time slot needed, etc....but I will ask a friend of mine whose son goes there now.  

 

Honestly, for T, we didn't use Rate My Professor.   Many of the professors aren't even on there, and those that are have very few ratings.  I don't think CC uses them as much as 4 year colleges.

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1 hour ago, Corraleno said:

 

 

Do professors see the evaluation forms before final grades are submitted? Just wondering if some students may worry that a negative review will be held against them. (I know they are theoretically anonymous, but when I was a TA I could often tell which students wrote which reviews.)

When I took college classes, TA'd, and taught at a CC, the prof never saw the evals until midway through the next semester.  A student would put them in the envelope and drop them at the office.  There were no names associated, so unless you recognized the writing, you didn't know who said what.  

Just for kicks, I'll share 2 comments that I got on evals and we can speculate on what numbers the students filled in and what they would have rated on RMP.  ?  

A favorite:  (Teacher) did everything that she could to help.  I really should have come to class more and studied more.

My most mind-boggling:  When I came to turn in my lab report late, (teacher) wasn't at her desk, making me turn it in even later and get a lower grade.  {Explanation: when student stopped by my lab, I wasn't at my desk.  Instead of asking co-workers which desk was mine and leaving it, student just left.  Apparently I should have been sitting at my desk any time the building was open in case somebody dropped by with late work.}

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

 

Oh, yes, I have a few friends whose kids have gone there.  I honestly haven't heard them talk about choosing professors though. Most of them have chosen by time slot needed, etc....but I will ask a friend of mine whose son goes there now.  

 

Honestly, for T, we didn't use Rate My Professor.   Many of the professors aren't even on there, and those that are have very few ratings.  I don't think CC uses them as much as 4 year colleges.

Right, dd chose class based on days/time.  I don't know if that's really in anyone's best interest unless that student has a heavy class/work, etc load then perhaps something needs to go.  For dd, she'll need to choose on recommendation and not days/times.   If you could ask that would be great.  We know a lot of homeschoolers and, as you know, the homeschooling community is tight knit here - we all seem to know many of the same people.  LOL!  If you find out anything, plmk.  Thanks! 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, ClemsonDana said:

When I took college classes, TA'd, and taught at a CC, the prof never saw the evals until midway through the next semester.  A student would put them in the envelope and drop them at the office.  There were no names associated, so unless you recognized the writing, you didn't know who said what.  

Just for kicks, I'll share 2 comments that I got on evals and we can speculate on what numbers the students filled in and what they would have rated on RMP.  ?  

A favorite:  (Teacher) did everything that she could to help.  I really should have come to class more and studied more.

My most mind-boggling:  When I came to turn in my lab report late, (teacher) wasn't at her desk, making me turn it in even later and get a lower grade.  {Explanation: when student stopped by my lab, I wasn't at my desk.  Instead of asking co-workers which desk was mine and leaving it, student just left.  Apparently I should have been sitting at my desk any time the building was open in case somebody dropped by with late work.}

Well, I don't get that kid.  I agree with you.  It sounds like s/he wanted his hand held.  I do that it's nice for profs to remind etc to students are green behind the ears such as my dd.  The first year/first semester student can be intimidating, especially coming from homeschooling.   But, the student needs to be responsible as well.  I know profs have office hours.  That is when the prof can be easily found.  

And, to everyone, I get that one prof may be liked and disliked for different reasons.  But, I'm not even talking about personality necessarily (although dd and many people in her class don't care for this guy), but it's more about relaying his scope/sequence for the class. He offered a syllabus but each assignment, as we've come to find out over time, is written in vague terms.  Some points are vague.  So, dd writes her papers and they are NEVER up to par with what he wants.  This is just not a good mix.  

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3 hours ago, Corraleno said:

Do professors see the evaluation forms before final grades are submitted? Just wondering if some students may worry that a negative review will be held against them. (I know they are theoretically anonymous, but when I was a TA I could often tell which students wrote which reviews.)

No. We do not see the evaluations until final grades are submitted.

Edited by regentrude
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1 hour ago, ClemsonDana said:

My most mind-boggling:  When I came to turn in my lab report late, (teacher) wasn't at her desk, making me turn it in even later and get a lower grade.  {Explanation: when student stopped by my lab, I wasn't at my desk.  Instead of asking co-workers which desk was mine and leaving it, student just left.  Apparently I should have been sitting at my desk any time the building was open in case somebody dropped by with late work.}

I got an angry comment that I was helping students only for three hours with their homework that was due the next day.

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Uniformly high and low ratings generally are indicative of reality.  Also, pay attention to uniquely descriptive comments as these too are generally accurate.

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We’ve used it for de course selection and for the first semester registration at their chosen universities. Once they are on campus they can do better through word of mouth. Also by the time they are on campus with a few semesters under their belts everyone is more comfortable taking chances. I do go to a greater length to make sure the first college classes they take as high school students are ones they stand a good chance to be successful.

We have found it to be reasonably accurate. Enough so that we continue to use it. Sometimes it just reveals info about the course that is good to know such as “attendance not taken but unannounced extra credit given in class”, or “expect pop quizzes” or “the first test is really hard but it gets better” or “tests are hard but teacher curves final grades” etc etc. You can often get info that helps you decide if the course is a good fit (some will mention big group projects which can be a negative to some students). So between reviews of the actual prof and info about the course or grading it has been a useful piece of research.

We have opted for teachers with zero reviews over those with consistent bad reviews.

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4 hours ago, sheryl said:

Right, dd chose class based on days/time.  I don't know if that's really in anyone's best interest unless that student has a heavy class/work, etc load then perhaps something needs to go.  For dd, she'll need to choose on recommendation and not days/times.   If you could ask that would be great.  We know a lot of homeschoolers and, as you know, the homeschooling community is tight knit here - we all seem to know many of the same people.  LOL!  If you find out anything, plmk.  Thanks! 

 

 

 

 

I have asked 3 people this evening and they just do what we have done, pick classes by day/time convenience, not by ratings.  Sorry.  

Like I mentioned, we never thought to do it for CC.

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On 11/9/2018 at 6:44 PM, Joules said:

We use rate my professor. The numbers are not as helpful as reading the reviews. Some things that ds loves in a prof are things that other students hate, so he really has to read all the reviews. I find it is most helpful if you make sure to read the reviews for the class you are taking. The same prof might have vastly different reviews for 1001 intro bio and 3000-level genetics.  Also some classes are just hard and the profs ratings suffer. You are unlikely to see a 5.0 physics prof.

 

On 11/9/2018 at 8:26 PM, TheReader said:

We've had success using Rate My Professor, as long as we read the reviews, not just look at the ratings. As others have mentioned -- look at the reviews for the specific course (ex: when my oldest was looking at the Calculus teachers, and the reviews by the Algebra students were very different than the reviews from the higher level math courses). Look for what's actually stated about the class -- we've learned ahead of time which professors require a lot of writing and which don't; one of my boys does not do well writing in a short time frame, so we took that into consideration for him. 

Using it in this manner, we've had pretty good luck in choosing the professors with the better ratings and finding our sons' experiences have matched the ratings, or at least our expectations based on the ratings, if that makes sense. 

 

My kids have also relied on RateMyProfessor, one child quite a bit more than the other. He reads all of the reviews, paying attention to the courses. He's a good writer, for example, so he doesn't pay as much attention to the reviews that complain about a lot of writing. He's also been good about writing his own reviews when the class is over.

When he's been on the fence about a class (not necessarily based on reviews), he's had great luck just emailing the prof for a class syllabus or even asking specific questions about the course descriptions. That's helped him make decisions about several classes.

 

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1 hour ago, DawnM said:

 

I have asked 3 people this evening and they just do what we have done, pick classes by day/time convenience, not by ratings.  Sorry.  

Like I mentioned, we never thought to do it for CC.

It's ok.  I appreciate your trying!  Maybe I will post  on local group.  ?

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1 hour ago, ThisIsTheDay said:

That's a great idea! Thanks for your input!  Glad that technique has worked successfully for him and I'll mention that to dd.  

 

My kids have also relied on RateMyProfessor, one child quite a bit more than the other. He reads all of the reviews, paying attention to the courses. He's a good writer, for example, so he doesn't pay as much attention to the reviews that complain about a lot of writing. He's also been good about writing his own reviews when the class is over.

When he's been on the fence about a class (not necessarily based on reviews), he's had great luck just emailing the prof for a class syllabus or even asking specific questions about the course descriptions. That's helped him make decisions about several classes.

 

 

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