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2012-366 Day 62 – Feedback Incentives

I mentioned back when talking about my Internet presence that I have an entry on Rate my Professors which consists of three reviews from back when I was teaching a lab class while a graduate student. Those three reviews span the entire spectrum and none have left comments, effectively giving zero information about who I am as a teacher. Even had there been more concrete information, these reviews are from seven years ago in a class and style I no longer teach, so they are even less relevant now.

I have always found review sites like these to be of dubious utility due to the problem of feedback incentives. Simply put, there is no reason for a person to leave a review unless they are at either end of the satisfaction spectrum. Either they hated the experience and needed a place to vent, or they loved the experience and are willing to gloss over any problems to sing their praises. Not only that, but the reviewers have to know the site exists and be willing to use it as a resource. CSUN students as a whole do not appear to put much stock in Rate My Professor, as even the most reviewed Professors have only 226 reviews to their name. That may seem like a bit, but keep in mind that this is 200+ people over at least seven years, when the average full-time professor would have at least that many students per semester. There’s a pretty sharp drop off too, as the tenth most rated professor only has 126 ratings. How does a site encourage users from all aspects of the class to give their opinion? Sadly I don’t know the answer to that one, otherwise I’d be making a lot more money somewhere else.

Obviously a rating system is only as good as the incentives in place for accurate feedback in an area that many people agree to utilize. It is a little sad, as accurate professor ratings could be a helpful tool for students looking to get the most out of their college experience, but there does not seem to be a comprehensive, centralized place for them to find that information. Googling “professor ratings” brought up a page of sites, most of which were even more sparsely populated than Rate My Professor. Until someone solves the problem of feedback incentives, these sites will remain marginally useful at best.

Weight: 233.4 Max: 240 Min: 233.4 Body Fat %: 24.7
Yearly Mileage: 43.7 miles (+3 miles)
Current Belt: Purple – Next Belt: Orange – Next Test Date: 3/3/12
Fitocracy Level: 14 (21807 points, 2207/3250 to next level) – ID: disciplev1
Soccer – Last Game: L, 7-1 (Record: 0-1) Next Game: 3/4, 6:40 pm

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , .

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