The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN students among top 10 to rate professors

At the end of every semester, once final grades have been turned in, CSUN students turn the tables on their professors with online evaluations based on their personal classroom experience. is one of the most popular rating Web sites with more than 5 million subscribers from nearly 6,000 universities worldwide. Using zero to five rubric scales, students rate professors in areas such as the ease of a course and the overall quality of the teaching. Students are also allowed to post comments explaining their ratings.

CSUN ranks among the top 10 universities that utilize the Web site, with more than 26,000 ratings. More than 2,000 CSUN professors in virtually all subject areas have been rated with the numbers steadily increasing.

Choosing a professor can be an overwhelming experience for any CSUN student. Finding “the right” professor, however, is subjectively defined by students, said Jeffery Henderson, freshman political science major.

“Students can give professors a bad reputation with biased opinions,” said Henderson. “It’s not fair to the student who might actually benefit from taking that professor.”

Jessica Alvarez, senior sociology major, said the opinions expressed on the Web site do not represent all students.

“The students who do the evaluating are the ones who feel passionately about the professor,” Alvarez said. “They either had a really bad or a really good experience.”

Alvarez particularly dislikes the Web site because the sources are anonymous.

“With word of mouth, I know the source,” Alvarez said. “If the person is a slacker, then I know why they didn’t like the professor.”

Although Alvarez has viewed the Web site, she has never rated a professor because she’s never had an experience that she wanted to share.

Alvarez prefers to ask students within her major who make similar grades and share the same study habits about a particular professor.

Breanne Butler, sophomore Deaf Studies major, consistently uses before registering for classes, she said. She looks for professors who care about students and are helpful in class.

“It’s important for students to use the site rather than waste their time and money on professors who aren’t helpful,” Butler said.

Butler rated her computer science professor because she had a horrible experience in the class.

“The professor had a split personality,” Butler said. “It was a 100 level class, but he taught like it was a 300 or 400 level class. He wouldn’t explain homework.”

Butler’s comment posted on the Web site said, “Do not take this professor. His instructions aren’t clear and if you try to seek help, he’ll only belittle you.”

“I think it’s a good site,” Butler said. “If professors want to continue to educate, they should read and listen to the comments.”

There is a fine line, however, between constructive criticism and professor bashing that many students cross, said Sony Trieu, family and consumer sciences professor.

“ is fun, but it’s not a good tool,” Trieu said. “The students who didn’t like their grades get a chance to bitch.”

Trieu received 10 ratings for FCS 340 “Marriage and Family Counseling.” She received a score of 3.2 for average ease and a 2.7 for average helpfulness.

“The questions on the test were lame,” a comment read of Trieu’s class. “Percentages of ethnicities that have abortions?just lame.”

“I didn’t create the material,” Trieu said in response to the post. “My job is to present the information researched. I used the book and if you didn’t study, you didn’t do well in the class. The people who complained are the ones who didn’t study.”

A student in professor Richard Mitchell’s English 208 class said he was “high strung” while another student said his class was like “being with one of your friends at a bar.” Mitchell’s overall quality was a 2.9.

“It just seems rather extreme,” Mitchell said of “Students either like you or they don’t.”

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