Rate My Professors Has Some Academics Up in Arms

But how meaningful are its numbers?

That performance is still featured on the website under the title, "Preaches self-control; drops F-bombs like they're party favors." Tomasello accepts the negative comments: "I like the site, and I liked that a lot of students would rebuff the others: 'He gives you the questions in advance. How could you be so lazy?' If you're getting a number of students saying the same things about you, it's probably true. I don't take no for an answer, but over the years, I've softened. If they had Rate My Professors back in the '80s when I began, I'm sure I would have a lot lower ratings."

NYU chemistry professor John Halpin also appears on a "Strikes Back" segment. His biography lists 10 teaching awards over the past 20 years, and his Rate My Professors rating is 4.5 out of 5, though he gets a 2.8 for easiness. "I teach chemistry," he explains. "Chemistry is never easy." His daughter encouraged him to appear on camera after she learned it was for mtvU, but Halpin viewed the segment as an extension of the classroom.

"You've got to know what students are thinking, even if it seems biased," he says. "You can't just go out there every day and talk and not listen. I look for all the feedback I can get."

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