rate_my_profIt’s a few weeks into the semester and you’re probably thinking, ‘I should’ve listened to those negative reviews.’ The Add/Drop period is long gone, and you find yourself drudging over an obnoxious amount of work that could have easily been avoided. You realize if only you had listened to those reviews, you might be out partying instead.

Face it; there are good professors and bad professors out there. Perhaps back in the day, before the Internet, the word about the harsh professors would have spread by mouth, but nowadays the only use for that method of communication is to spread Mono. While issues that pertain to our personal lives are another story, academics should be our top priority.

However, with the globalization of academic information comes some negative side effects. If done right, a mature crowd of men and women can take advantage of the information age and have a lot of success despite the shortcomings of free information.

‘ RateMyProfessors.com offers students the chance to share information and opinions on the various instructors at most universities around America and in a few other countries. On this site, professors are judged on their easiness, helpfulness, clarity and the rater’s level of interest in the subject, or even the professor him or herself (wink wink); it might seem humorous, but there is a ‘hotness’ tag that one may add to their submission. A rater may also specify what class the professor taught and can add any personal comments he or she has.

While we would hope that the college crowd would have more maturity than the middle and high schoolers that flood RateMyTeachers.com with the immature commentary, there is still a very low level of comment-moderation on RateMyProfessors.com. The anonymity of the site allows any student to potentially defame the good name of any professor, even if they have never taken that professor’s class before.

The Web site becomes a burden for new instructors as well, for a page empty of reviews may lead inquisitive students into avoiding classes taught by ‘newbies’ to the University.’ Also, a page with nothing but one bad review has a higher chance of dissuading a student from looking deeper into that professor’s class rather than having little effect at all.

Despite its shortcomings, I have found RateMyProfessors.com to be an essential tool in choosing my courses for the coming semesters. Most teachers with established positions in educational institutions have a long list of reviews. Spend some time pursuing those reviews, and you will find yourself able to list the positive and negative aspects about that professor. It is also quite helpful in that some reviews delineate the requirements and difficulty levels of various courses. For instance, one professor I was reading up on gives multiple-choice tests in one of his classes and essay exams in another.

When I was touring Fairfield at an open house, I was told that this was a place where I would find competition not with others, but with myself. RateMyProfessors.com holds true to this idea; you can sort through instructors of various difficulties. This allows you to customize a schedule full of easy courses, difficult courses, or something in between.

It is up to you how you want to spend your education. The courses at Fairfield are a great privilege that can present both a challenge and a wealth of knowledge.

The wealth of information available on the Internet regarding professors allows one to receive what they put into the college process.

RateMyProfessors.com, despite its few negative traits, is another great tool on the life-long journey on the road to caring for the whole person.

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