A Netscape News article for today caught my eye. The article concerned the pros and cons of a new online service – rate your professor (or teachers for the high school crowd). My own institution has been in an uproar over just such a service (Pick a Prof). The student body voted to spend some of the money they pay to support technology on campus to fund this program. The faculty objected (at least collectively). Among some of the specific issues raised by the faculty was the lack of accountability on the part of students in submitting ratings/comments. Unlike the evaluation forms handed out in class, the online service does not offer a way to assure that those providing the ratings are actually in the class being evaluated. Examples of ratings found on the site were also offered as evidence that the process is not entirely constructive and some inappropriate comments seem to be ignored by the individuals who are supposed to assure meaningless and spiteful comments are not included.
The Netscape News article offers comments on Rate My Prof (a related site called Rate My Teacher also exists). The opportunity to rate faculty members on physical attractiveness (how many chili peppers if I remember the comment from the article correctly) is the kind of thing that does annoy faculty members. I suppose some consider this good clean fun, free speech, a way to inform class selection, etc.
Your 5 chili pepper ed psych prof signing off for the day.