Rather than flipping back and forth between RateMyProfessors.com and the LSA Course Guide, LSA senior Mitchell Gildenberg created a Google Chrome plug-in that displays the site’s teacher ratings on the course guide.
The application is called “University of Michigan Courseguide+,” and students can download it from the Chrome Web Store. Once students download the plug-in, they will see the professors’ ratings listed under their names upon opening the LSA Course Guide. Rating categories include overall rating, average grade, helpfulness, clarity and easiness.
Gildenberg said when scheduling last year, he noticed how much time he wasted trying to figure out which teachers were the best. He said he ended up completing the app in one and a half days at the 2015 MHacks competition.
“I spent like two hours going back and forth through like eight tabs trying to find the best teacher, so I thought, ‘What if I just made it automated?’ ” Gildenberg said. “I didn’t really do anything with the idea for a while, but then I went to one of the Michigan hackathons and I thought, ‘I need an idea to work on, why not do that?’ ”
In the weeks since publishing the extension, Courseguide+ has gained about 1,000 users, mostly in the last week. Gildenberg said he was surprised by the number of downloads.
“I wasn’t even sure how it would turn out in the beginning, and it was really anyone’s guess as to how people would receive it, but it was something that I really wanted, so I figured other students would want it as well,” Gildenberg said. “The friends I showed went, ‘Mitchell this is amazing.’ They wanted it very much, so I figured I would release it.”
Gildenberg said he believes the extension will help speed up the process of backpacking for classes.
“I think it’s going to help them speed up their decisions — having all the information they need on a teacher and helping them choose the best professor they could get,” Gildenberg said.
Though he thinks the extension and the site will help students, Gildenberg recognizes the flaws associated with students trusting ratings based on little feedback, as some of the professors only have one or two ratings.
Though this extension is geared toward students, some professors say they have mixed feelings about RateMyProfessors.com, in general.
Physics Lecturer David Winn said he would neither discourage nor encourage students to use the website. Winn is listed as one of the more popular professors on the site, but he said this does not change his opinions. He pointed out that students should not solely use the site when deciding whether or not to take a class.
“These criteria make it useful as a tie-breaker, but students should really pick their classes based on what subjects are interesting and useful to them,” Winn said.