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Author Topic: More rate-my-professor bother  (Read 11030 times)
monocle
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« on: March 20, 2008, 2:52:23 pm »

I've just recently been nominated for fame and mis-fortune by my students on rate-my-professor. Of course my first reaction was to look for the chili rating, followed swiftly by blood loss and cold sweats from realizing I'd been cyber-bashed by one irate student in particular. I am generally at peace with RMP and accept that posts there are frequently referred to more affectionately by some of my colleagues as "hate-my-professor".

My main issue though is not so much the post, but it's nature and visibility. A disgruntled student decided that they would post twice (the date stamp makes this obvious), giving me the lowest possible score, but to further do it in such a way that was highly personal. For one thing, among others, they denigrate my nationality (I'm was born in the UK but have worked in the US for several years), demand that I be 'sent home' by my university because I am so apparently awful and then call me a racist. I found this extremely upsetting especially since I've only recently started a new TT job in a new town and am still trying to fit in and feel welcome (which is always tough). I'm confident that I'm still a good teacher as evidenced by my past official evaluations and the kind words my other students pass on. To make matters worse however it now appears that whenever someone googles me, the RMP pages are the first to be listed! Lets face it, people google us, at the very least to find out how to contact us. But I would hope that all my other less notorious and legitimate achievements would be the first to appear! Anyone got any advice for me?
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jrscholar
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Posts: 376


« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2008, 3:00:53 pm »

You can challenge the rating.  There is some sort of moderator that has control over postings.  That being said, I think most people take these with a grain of salt.  Too bad you can't out yourself here; I'm sure we'd all be happy to publish favorable reviews for you.
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atalanta
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Posts: 768


« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2008, 3:02:47 pm »

This advice is not original; it's been given many times by others before me.

1. Post a bunch of positive reviews on RMP for yourself. Not all at once, that would be suspicious (as you already pointed out). But log on every now and then, create a new hotmail address for each fake persona if you have to (although I'm not sure it's necessary) and post away!

2. You can selectively raise the Google-priority of the sites you prefer (e.g., your professional web page, published articles, etc.). All you have to do is Google yourself and keep clicking on the pages that you want to appear first. Enlist the help of your SO, friends, and family. Those pages will slowly crawl up until they appear above your RMP entry. Every little click helps.

3. Above all, never navigate to your own RMP page by Googling.

4. After that, try, please try to forget about RMP. It's not worth it.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2008, 3:04:06 pm by atalanta » Logged

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svenc
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2008, 4:19:33 pm »

If the post against you is overtly xenophobic, it will likely be removed if reviewed by the RMP moderators.  Click on the little exclamation point ("flag this rating") next to the comment.

And then forget about it!
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scheherazade
1/3 of the Triumvirate of Evil and the Most Delicious
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Running feminist prostitution rings since 1998


« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2008, 4:35:55 pm »

It will likely be automatically flagged as a duplicate, anyway.  But do flag it to have it looked at by the moderators.

And then, yes, never look at RMP again.
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spectacle
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Posts: 3,897


« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2008, 4:37:00 pm »

This advice is not original; it's been given many times by others before me.

1. Post a bunch of positive reviews on RMP for yourself. Not all at once, that would be suspicious (as you already pointed out). But log on every now and then, create a new hotmail address for each fake persona if you have to (although I'm not sure it's necessary) and post away!

My friends and I all do this for each other, and we're very generous with the chili peppers and go into elaborate, detailed compliments on hairstyles and fashion sense.  I recommend it.  
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monocle
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2008, 4:39:43 pm »

Too bad you can't out yourself here; I'm sure we'd all be happy to publish favorable reviews for you.
Thanks jrscholar - I'd take you up on this offer but I suppose it would then just elevate the page even more with multiple views. Sigh. Following everyone's advice, I've flagged the comments to the RMP moderators and will report back as to whether or not they heed my plea.
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yemaya
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2008, 4:44:19 pm »

Too bad you can't out yourself here; I'm sure we'd all be happy to publish favorable reviews for you.
Thanks jrscholar - I'd take you up on this offer but I suppose it would then just elevate the page even more with multiple views. Sigh. Following everyone's advice, I've flagged the comments to the RMP moderators and will report back as to whether or not they heed my plea.

On the upside, Monocle, if the student wrote a bunch of stuff denigrating your nationality, etc, anyone who reads it will know that the writer is nothing more than an obnoxious twit.  In fact, you might score points from students who happen to read your RMP page as most students dislike having to share a classroom with losers like that.
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neutralname
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2008, 5:18:24 pm »

If you do decide to post positive reviews about yourself, make sure to do so from a campus computer that could be used by a student.  Preferably use a computer that some student has forgotten to log off from, so you don't have to log in to the computer under your own ID. Don't do it from your office computer or from home.
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"My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music." Vladimir Nabokov
balancing_act
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I come to the Fora to learn snark.


« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2008, 5:41:26 pm »

If you do decide to post positive reviews about yourself, make sure to do so from a campus computer that could be used by a student.  Preferably use a computer that some student has forgotten to log off from, so you don't have to log in to the computer under your own ID. Don't do it from your office computer or from home.

This is just silly. The site should be ignored. It doesn't get the fanfare it used to; students don't take it seriously anymore. Most of them anyway. It's really not important. Forget it and move on. Don't post reviews about yourself; ignore the whole darn thing and move on.

You should know that students turn to one another to inquire about a professor before they go to an unreliable site. Let your reputation in the classroom stand for itself. Students will take your course anyway.

Ignore RMP.
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neutralname
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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2008, 5:55:14 pm »

...The site should be ignored. It doesn't get the fanfare it used to; students don't take it seriously anymore. Most of them anyway. It's really not important. Forget it and move on. Don't post reviews about yourself; ignore the whole darn thing and move on.

Students do check the RMP site and use it to decide which courses to take.  At many schools, especially where the students are mostly commuters, the students don't talk to each other much, and so RMP is one of their only sources of information.  Furthermore, as I've argued before on other RMP threads, RMP can provide useful information about some professors, when the feedback is interpreted intelligently.  When I look over the feedback for colleagues, it fits with what I hear about them from other sources.  If I were a student, I would definitely consult RMP about which professors to take. 
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"My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music." Vladimir Nabokov
balancing_act
Irritable, cranky, and non-smoking
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I come to the Fora to learn snark.


« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2008, 6:04:56 pm »

...The site should be ignored. It doesn't get the fanfare it used to; students don't take it seriously anymore. Most of them anyway. It's really not important. Forget it and move on. Don't post reviews about yourself; ignore the whole darn thing and move on.

Students do check the RMP site and use it to decide which courses to take.  At many schools, especially where the students are mostly commuters, the students don't talk to each other much, and so RMP is one of their only sources of information.  Furthermore, as I've argued before on other RMP threads, RMP can provide useful information about some professors, when the feedback is interpreted intelligently.  When I look over the feedback for colleagues, it fits with what I hear about them from other sources.  If I were a student, I would definitely consult RMP about which professors to take. 

I definitely would not. I looked up an old prof of mine who had a tough reputation and he was lambasted on the site, badly, because he was so haaaard. *whine* He was my favorite professor, influenced my decision to major in my field, and I took all the courses I could with him.

There have been other professors who get fabulous ratings on sites like RMP and I've thought the course was a waste of time.

I mean, does it really matter? So, you don't get a couple of students who won't take the class because of some snarky comments on a poorly run website. So what? How many professors' classes have been dropped due to RMP and lack of enrollment?

The key is your words, "when interpreted intelligently."
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neutralname
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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2008, 6:24:34 pm »

The issue is how to interpret the ratings.  If everyone raves about how easy the course is, then good students will know to avoid that professor.  If people complain about how the professor has standards and makes them work too hard, then good students will be more interested in the course.  If people complain that the professor never turns up to class on time, makes fun of students, and talks about his ex-wife regularly, then it is definitely a class for everyone to avoid.
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"My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music." Vladimir Nabokov
mountainguy
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Posts: 18,378


« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2008, 6:26:02 pm »

Students do check the RMP site and use it to decide which courses to take.  At many schools, especially where the students are mostly commuters, the students don't talk to each other much, and so RMP is one of their only sources of information.  Furthermore, as I've argued before on other RMP threads, RMP can provide useful information about some professors, when the feedback is interpreted intelligently.  When I look over the feedback for colleagues, it fits with what I hear about them from other sources.  If I were a student, I would definitely consult RMP about which professors to take. 

I disagree. RMP ratings can be easily manipulated and is not even remotely close to being a valid measurement of anything. It can sometimes identify outliers (i.e., the very best instructors might get good ratings and the very worst might get bad ones), but it provides no adequate measure of why. I see no reason whatsoever to rely on RMP as a diagnostic or predictive tool.

Some of my better students have privately admitted to me that they've been burned by inaccurate information from RMP. One particular student told me that hu chose a foreign language class based on the instructor's RMP rating. It turned out that although the class was "easy," the instructor did not adequately cover material, and the student found huself unprepared for the next required class in that language.
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mountainguy
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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2008, 6:33:52 pm »

The issue is how to interpret the ratings.  If everyone raves about how easy the course is, then good students will know to avoid that professor.  If people complain about how the professor has standards and makes them work too hard, then good students will be more interested in the course.  If people complain that the professor never turns up to class on time, makes fun of students, and talks about his ex-wife regularly, then it is definitely a class for everyone to avoid.

With all due respect, neutral, your argument presumes on a priori level that students will honestly self-report what happened in the class. That's not the case. Angry students will make stories up that never happened.
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