CTECs Withstand Outside Competition

Michele Sweetwood

By Michelle SweetwoodContributing Writer

In the online teacher rating business, CTECs might have some competition.

From RateMyProfessors.com to ratingsonline.com to rateaprof.com, there are a handful of other sites have emerged that provide this same information to students who don’t use Northwestern’s system.

“I had no idea what CTECs were,” said Weinberg freshman Marissa SoloMonday, who checked out professors at RateMyProfessor.com at the beginning of the year.

Boasting listings for 365 Northwestern professors, the most of any of these sites, RateMyProfessors.com allows students to rate professors with smiley-face icons. As with CTECs, students can then rate their professors in categories such as easiness and helpfulness on a scale of one to five and write their own comments.

Katherine Coynor, the administrator program director, said in an e-mail that the site’s founding is a good example of its overall goal. It was started in 1999 when John Swapceinski had a torturous experience with a professor at San Jose State University, an experience he wanted to make sure all future students could avoid. Now, Coynor said, that professor’s ratings are “abysmal.”

But Hannah Wolfman, a Weinberg freshman who peeked on RateMyProfessor.com, said it didn’t seem as reliable or as extensive as CTECs.

“I felt like I was guessing,” she said when asked if she could believe the ratings.

Although the site does list many NU professors, most have about two ratings each. On RateMyProfessors.com, for example, sociology Prof. Albert Hunter received both a smiley- and a frown-face icon in his review.

On CTECs, the same professor’s rating contains six bar graphs that gave scores out of 6.0, a page of comments and information about the major and year of the students who left the ratings.

“CTECs work,” McCormick sophomore Kevin Greene said. But like some other students, Greene complained about teachers’ ability to delete class ratings.

And while the majority of NU students asked said they’ve never visited ratemyprofessor.com, even more have never heard of rateaprof.com or ratingsonline.com

Rateaprof.com goes by the motto “giving professors what they deserve,” but their site lists only two NU professors. Ratingsonline.com lists fewer than 10 NU professors, but also contains a note on the message boards that reads, “Sorry: At this time we have no messages on our board for this campus. Please post one!” Cornell University, in contrast, has a message board that has been in use since 2000.

“None of my profs were on it at all,” Solomon said.

CTECs began collecting evaluations online in 2004, and administrators encourage students to use the site by requiring students to fill out CTECs for their current professors in order to view evaluations for their prospective professors.

But some students, such as Weinberg sophomore Michelle Bejar, said they would post their ratings regardless.

“CTECs are what’s up,” she said.

Reach Michelle Sweetwood at [email protected]