College Students Grade Their Teachers Online - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/16/02-Tyler

College Students Grade Their Teachers Online

   A debate is brewing over new websites frequented by college students.

   The controversial sites allow students to grade the performance of their teachers online. With names like pickaprof.com and rateyourprofessor.com, the sites have won the praise of college kids across the country.

   Professors, however, have a slightly different opinion.

   "If anyone can log on and give feedback and there's no representativeness to the data, you don't really know what you're looking at," says Dr. Mark Lewis, Associate Dean of Education at UT-Tyler.

   UT-Tyler sophomore Matt Sullivan says pickaprof.com saved him during his freshman year at Texas A&M. By Matt's second semester, he was a regular user.

   "I made a decision on what psychology class to take, based on the grades a particular professor gave his students," says Matt. "I definitely made a decision not to take a class based on one teacher's grades and the reviews students gave him."

   Pickaprof.com partners with UT-Austin and uses official teacher evaluations on their site. Users can actually see a breakdown of what grades a professor gives.

   Matt says teachers with more A's and B's ended up being good professors. He avoided those with more C's and D's.

   None of the sites feature reviews for UT-Tyler professors.

   Matt says he hasn't used pickaprof.com since transferring to UT-Tyler. Dr. Lewis says at schools like UT-Tyler, students learn more about professors from other students.

   "In a large institution, it's very difficult for students to have an accurate feeling for what individual faculty members are all about," says Dr. Lewis. "At UT-Tyler, a smaller institution, that's not as much of an issue."

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