It’s not just students who are obsessed with web sites such as RateMyProfessors.com, reports the New York Times: Many instructors are, too. Like many online services, the engrossing professor-ranking site seems at first to be a companion to offline life. Real-life students take real-life classes and hand down judgments of real-life professors in a virtual forum. The site invites reviewers—whose identities as students are never given or verified—to give numerical rankings, from 1 to 5, in four categories: easiness, helpfulness, clarity, and the reviewers’ interest in the subject matter before they took the class. You can also assign professors chili-pepper icons if you think they’re good-looking. Even the losers have a place: Professors can rebut bad reviews and upload protest videos under the rubric “Professors Strike Back.” Many students pore over these ratings when choosing courses and colleges. But the vulnerable professors themselves might be even more obsessed. They’re rattled by, but also beholden to, what Mark Edmundson of the University of Virginia once called the “attitude of calm-consumer expertise” in contemporary students, who regularly rate everything from purchases to people…

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About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.


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