OU grads create rating app to discreetly trash-talk professors

College students have a unique way of helping one another. They develop a communal sense because they know that semester survival thrives in packs. One of the better tools in a student’s arsenal is a professor ranking system. This filters which teachers are worth the time and which ones aren’t. Normally, websites like ratemyprofessor.com facilitated this need; however, universities caught on and created “anonymous evaluation surveys.”

These teacher surveys are about as effective as writing a strongly worded email your congressperson.

Even then, ratemyprofessor.com is being monitored by teachers. So where are students to go to give honest, unfiltered feedback?

Via OU Daily:

RateMyProfessors is out, STEV @ OU is in.

STEV, which stands for Student-Teacher Evaluation Visualizations, is a new app created by three OU graduates that allows students to visualize data from course and instructor evaluations. With STEV, students are able to search for a specific course and instructor and compare the results of past instructor evaluations in color-coded charts and graphs.

Sam Jett, a 2019 mechanical engineering graduate, built the app alongside two other 2019 OU graduate students: Zach Schuermann, a computer engineering and mechanical engineering graduate, and Joseph Lovoi, a finance, entrepreneurship and venture management graduate. 

“To be completely honest, we felt that some of the professors inside of our department were not good professors, and yet they teach the same course year in and year out,” Jett said. 

I think this app is brilliant. That said, STEV sounds like an Austrian club bouncer. Then again, you couldn’t call this app “Trash-Talker Anonymous.”

It’s not like professors aren’t privy to what their students think about them. Despite these evaluations, most professors don’t change how they teach. Those evaluations are just there so that your inner-Karen can speak to the manager.

Here’s more:

Cross said some professors offer extra credit to students for completing the evaluations, which could potentially make the reviews biased or “higher than they should be realistically.”

“Students should have access to the written components of the evaluation program,” Cross said. “Professors should be further discouraged from offering extra credit for filling them out. I wonder if OU can experiment with making course and instructor evaluations a mandatory course component in order to improve the experience of everyone.”

Essentially, STEV wants to do what RateMyProfessors started as.

RateMyProfessors started as a good idea but has slowly formed into an extension of the university’s reach. The website became an emotional parody of its former self. For example, it used to use chili peppers for the longest time to rank professors attractiveness. It wasn’t until last year that the website dropped this feature because it was objectifying educators.

Personally, I believe STEV could work so long as the professors aren’t part of the process. Perhaps this could filter out those who are detrimental drones in the collegiate system and give teachers willing to teach a chance.

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14 Responses

  1. During my long-ago college days, most of the faculty was strongly opposed to any system of student evaluation of their work. They were much like the police today (and back then) who don’t want to be evaluated… by anyone. Especially anyone critical of them.

    But I digress. Those college days were long before the internet took over everything. Students today who are unknown to each other can exchange information about their professors without any need for help or permission from their school. All they need is a website for doing so.

    Which puts the schools in the position of “if we can’t beat ’em, let’s join ’em and maybe we can keep a lid on this thing.”

  2. Effective teaching is really subjective. I’ve had 1st class teachers because they taught in a manner that I was receptive to. I remember some instructors who were really top notch but for whatever reason couldn’t easily reach me. No one’s fault just their method of teaching and my method of learning. Then again there were some world class assholes who thought tenure meant never having to give a shit.

  3. do they get extra points for endorsing black face? Just asking, since that seems to be a thing down there.

    1. Huh?

  4. What happened to ratemyprofessor? My son started at OU this year, and I’m telling him to use the site. Subjective ratings aside, does the site no longer “rate” the professors?

    1. The site still rates professors just fine. I’m not sure what the big deal is about this app other than it compiles official eval data rather than unofficial data.

  5. My last semester in grad school, I gave an honest assessment of a lazy-ass prof who opened one class asking for a brief synopsis of the novel in question because he hadn’t read it in years. You might say he was so mad he couldn’t see straight because he attributed the anonymous missive to another student and gave her hell all the next year.

  6. Teaching assistants do most of the classroom instruction while the actual professors are off appearing on tv shows like CNN or FOX

  7. Bring David L back in blue dress and red high heels, make him Prez for life, just do it.

    1. There he goes again. Boren derangement syndrome.

  8. Ratemyprofessor hasn’t been invaded by universities and professors. I guess if you really gave a shit you could write a bunch of different positive evaluations about yourself, but – and trust me on this – none of us give enough of a shit. At all. RMP does not factor into promotions, awards, tenure, etc.

    At all.

    RMP is an interesting thing to check every once in a while but what’s reflected there is usually reflected on my evals anyway. If they’re the kind of prof that reads evals and makes changes every semester, they’re gonna base it off evals that they already have access to.

    Also, please explain how offering extra credit on ANONYMOUS evaluations could make them biased? I don’t know what my students write on the evals. I just know that they submitted one because the screenshot they show me of the “thank you for submitting this eval” says so, along with 10-20 other students in that class. So unless they put their name on it, I’d have no clue.

    All these kids have really done is take some data that is available to the public in most states anyway and make it more widely accessible. Which is cool, but not game-changing.

    1. You seem like a cool prof. Maybe you could give me some inside information on which ones my son should avoid. 😂😂😂 He wants to get into premed, and he is super smart; but unfortunately I don’t think his attitude will get him there. Couple his attitude with a bad professor or two, and I’m just hoping that he make it 4 years.

    2. Wow you actually totally understand what we made. Not an app for students to trash talk professors but an app to make nominally “public” data actually accessible. Our hope is that this could provide basis and quantitative support for students protesting why certain departments continually let horrible teachers teach. We have data as far back as 2010, and if a professor is consistently getting a 2/5 rating, they shouldn’t be teaching that class. Now, if there are students who care enough to hold their departments accountable, they can do that.

      1. We also think the information could be valuable for students looking for what professor to enroll in or what course to take – In many cases, RMP will have no ratings for certain classes where students may not take the time to fill out ratings.

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