"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."


Glenn Reynolds:

Barack Obama:
"Impossible to transcend."

Albert A. Gore, Jr.:
"An incontinent brute."

Rev. Jeremiah Wright:
"God damn the Gentleman Farmer."

Friends of GF's Sons:
"Is that really your dad?"

Kickball Girl:
"Keeping 'em alive until 7:45."

Hired Hand:
"I think . . . we forgot the pheasant."

I'm an
Alcoholic Yeti
in the
TTLB Ecosystem

Monday, May 08, 2006

But You Wouldn't Want to Marry One

Inside Higher Ed ("the online source for news, opinion and career advice and services for all of higher education") reports today on the results from a study of "Ratemyprofessor.com." If you don't know what that is, here's how they describe themselves:
Students have turned the tables on their professors at RateMyProfessors.com (http://www.ratemyprofessors.com), the Internet's largest listing of college professor ratings. The free website offers a public review (and sometimes a public flogging) of university professors from across the United States, Canada and Ireland. Online since 1999, RateMyProfessors now contains over 4,200,000 ratings for professors from 5242 schools, with thousands of new ratings added each day.

"Every semester, millions of students use the site to help plan their class schedules, and improve the quality of their educations," says the site's president and founder, John Swapceinski. "When word of the website gets out at a university, the ratings grow like wildfire and students really begin to benefit from the information."

RateMyProfessors allows students to anonymously rate their professors in each of three categories: Helpfulness, Clarity, and Easiness. Now, students can see who the hottest professors are at their school, as well as read the top 15 funniest ratings, like rating number 5: "He will destroy you like an academic ninja."
Making lots of statistical information available simply begs for analysis of the data. Inside Higher Ed reports, in an article titled "'Hotness' and Quality":
James Felton, a professor of finance and law at Central Michigan University, and colleagues looked at ratings for nearly 7,000 faculty members from 370 institutions in the United States and Canada, and his verdict is: the hotter and easier professors are, the more likely they’ll get rated as a good teacher.

As far as students — or whoever is rating professors on the open Rate My Professor site — are concerned, nothing predicts a quality instructor like hotness.
In fact, while one might have thought that being an easy grader would be determinative (that is what they mean by "easy," isn't it? Please tell me it is.), it seems that "hotness" is more important.

And you thought your son was sleeping through his classes.

Via TaxProfBlog.

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