Sunday, May 2, 2010

Rate My Professor as a Valid Research Tool: Planning Your Successful Future


Do not let your experiences at school define you, not solely, anyhow. Maybe not at all. You can be who you create, not what others paint you as.

Some of the specific information herein, such as recommendations for other instructors applies specifically to students at Tidewater Community College and generally the Virginia Beach campus.

(Image borrowed from Post Secret's 2 May 2010 post).

I hope everyone finds what they're looking for, whether it means continuing your higher education, or traveling the world, or both. Check out the site for the author of Delaying the Real World, Colleen Kinder. Or look for other sites and people who can tell you the best ways to experience life and adventure without going broke before you are ushered into "the real world" or as you perhaps you're escaping it after years of servitude to wives, husbands, children, students and/or other obligations who may or may not be human, or even people.

Regardless of how and when, travel if possible. For as long as possible. Discover what the world is and who you truly are. If you can earn college credit while do so, go, go, go, go, go.

Rate My Professor as a Valid Research Tool: Planning Your Successful Future
If you use the site well, it can be very helpful. Noticed this section title says "as" and not "is". What does that mean?

Access the site here: ratemyprofessors

Weighing Comments: Where Numbers May Be Vague, Words Can Paint Pictures
First, if the student posted a rating before the semester ended, they probably formed their opinion too early. It's like watching half a movie and saying it sucks before it ends. Do you trust that integrity of that review?

Consider if the positive comments outweigh the negative and also read the comments. The comments are often going to be more educational than the number ratings. My mom used to look at the comments before the grades when I was in elementary school. Now I know why.

Also consider who submits the ratings: serious students who care about their education, or vapid boys and girls who get excited and hope class is canceled five or seven times a semester. Whose opinion matters more to you?

Who Fits Your Needs: Designing a Schedule Based on Your Learning Strengths
Decide what you want in a professor. Is it one who let’s you out early? Is it one who is hotttt! like me? Is it one who is sarcastic and doesn’t have patience for people with little common sense? Is it someone who is loose with due dates or is it someone who’ll keep on top of you or someone who expects you to be an active and independent learner? Is it someone who’ll rip apart every sentence or who has time to praise while criticizing? You can do a decent job of planning and choosing what kind of experience you’ll have based on these reviews and the knowledge you have about what kind of student you are, but don’t hold me to that; this is just my theory.

If the catalog says "staff" or "TBA", especially a week or two before the course begins, your instructor may have been hired last minute and may not have had much time to prepare properly. Consider how this may impact your learning and outlook on the course instruction.

Find out if the instructor has experience teaching each and every method of course delivery and if the school has asked them to teach the course at the last minute as often happens. This can mean a lot when it comes to the start of the semester and your instructor might have been caught unawares.

What Course Delivery Fits Your Needs?

Classroom Type: Like Pizza, You Can Get it Many Ways
Do you need (not want) Traditional with Blackboard supplement, Hybrid, or Online courses?
  • If you're not very motivated, proficient at reading retention, need that structured classroom environment, stay with traditional, face-to-face delivery.
  • If you can be a self-starter, follow directions, and have common sense, organized, but like some interpersonal class time, consider a hybrid.
  • If you're those last few things but can do without the verbal/face time, maybe consider an online course.
  • And of course, if you're not strong with a certain subject, it's probably wisest not to take that course as hybrid or online. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Use them to your advantage.
  • Online/hybrid courses do have the highest attrition (see entry #4) rates as many students who take them are not prepared/motivated and even the instructor can have these same failings.

How Long Do You Want Your Semester?Also, consider the 8 and 12-week courses. Eight weeks if you can handle a lot of reading, thinking, and writing all at once, or 12 weeks, if you found 16 weeks to be too drawn out.

I've taught eight and sixteen and really like the eight week-semesters, though I think 12-weeks might be ideal. Not too long, not too short, but possibly just right.

The List: Who's Who at School?
The following list is based both on my personal knowledge and what you can find on ratemyprofessors, where I conducted further research.

There are other greats; I just don’t know anything about them, but here’s who I have met. Hopefully these folks’ll teach 112 in the coming semesters:

O Kim Bovee

O Robin Browder

O Maureen Cahill

O Marshall Ellis

O Rob House

O Tariq Jawhar

O Doris Jellig

O Cecilia Petretto

English 125 - Introduction to Literature
For those going for a Bachelor's Degree, you will most likely need to take this course after English 112. I'm not sure who teaches it well, but you know where to look and who to ask.

SDV and ITE-115:
Most degree paths at TCC require and SDV course and ITE-115 to graduate and it is highly recommended you take these as soon as possible.

SDV-100 (or related) I also recommend you sign up for one of the required SDV courses to help you get situated with college expectations for the next semester as well. Do your research first to find out who might make these courses worthwhile for you considering we heard a lot of negative things at the start of the semester.

ITE-115 about computing and using Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, etc.

If look in the Course Catalog or you go to the TCC website (or Google, etc.) you can do a search for ITE 115 and learn more about it, who teaches it, and maybe find some sample syllabi.

Returning to General Information:
There are probably a handful of new instructors since last semester when I originally compiled this list, so do some research and you might find some additional brilliant Composition II instructors.

To learn about who might be the best instructor for you do some research or email each of the instructors now, before signing up and see what they are willing to tell you about their expectations in the course and their teaching styles. Maybe they’ll share their tentative syllabus with you now to help you decide.

Remember, you can search ratemyprofessors by campus and department in case you use the site for choosing other professors.

Rating Your Professors: Your Option To Help Students or Attempt to Hurt
When using the site as a rater, be fair, honest, and accurate.

If you think you're going to have your revenge, good luck being immature. Consider if the instructor made him or herself available and if you took advantage of this. Consider the resources your instructor put together that you may or may not have used.

And make sure you know which campus you're taking the course at, or you may look foolish if say, the prof has never taught there.

The Future
Best of luck planning your futures. You (select one or two words that are appropriate for you) hopefully/probably/maybe/haven't/have done your best, or close to it, to overcome the obstacles before you this semester. If not, you have more chances. Own your education. Be your own leader. Work with your tragedies, celebrate each and every triumph.

I soon bid you farewell, though it doesn't have to mean forever.

Any questions? Email your future profs.

PS: For those who consider majoring in English and perhaps one day teaching college, especially college-level English, feel free to contact me about my experiences. I can also recommend a few hilarious blogs written by fellow adjuncts and professors.