RateMyProfessors Preps for Fall Semester

It’s early in the school year, but according to RateMyProfessors.com, students are already weighing in on the brains (and beauty) of their teachers.

The site lets college students rate their professors on such traits as easiness, helpfulness, clarity and “hotness,” and its popularity has prompted a slew of news articles quoting teachers maligned or flattered by their anonymous reviews. Last month, the New York Times’s (NYT) Ethicist column addressed an unnamed instructor who asked whether it’s appropriate to suggest that satisfied students post a rating to improve his profile.

“Universities have always done professor evaluations, but that information was kept private,” said Carlo DiMarco, vice president of university relations at MTV Networks, whose MTVu division bought RateMyProfessors in 2007. The site helps students “seek the wisdom of a much larger group,” he said, when figuring out which classes they should be taking, a process that used to happen via word-of-mouth with a handful of classmates.

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