Registering for classes can be a daunting task. When students find themselves unsure of which professor to choose, they may turn to CollegeSlate.com for answers.
CollegeSlate is a Web site that offers students the chance to read reviews about various professors and view a graph of grades those professors have given in the past. It was created by two CU students, sophomore computer science major Rafer Hazen and freshman chemistry major Justin McKay, when they realized that many Web sites offer professor ratings or grade data but none offer both and many charge for the service. McKay and Hazen wanted to combine both ideas and offer it for free.
Hazen and McKay wanted to give students a place to get an idea of what a professors style of teaching is like and what types of grades they’ve given in the past. The site allows students to browse or search by class or professor.
“We want to give (students) an idea of what they are getting into,” McKay said.
Any student can look at professor data and reviews; however, in order to write their own review a student must create an account with the site. The registering process is very simple and only has to be done once. There is never a fee to use the site.
CollegeSlate differs from sites like RateMyProfessors.com and PickAProf.com in many ways other than being free of charge.
“The fact that we don’t charge is a big one,” McKay said. “We also have more professional and informed reviews and it’s easier to use.”
The fact that students want to know what each professor is like before signing up for the class is a growing trend not only with sites like RateMyProfessors and PickAProf but also on social networking sites like MySpace.com, which also has student reviews of professors.
However, while the former two sites focus solely on professor data, it is not the sole basis of MySpace. Because of this, and the fact that students are solely responsible for reviewing professors and getting their names on the site, there are a lot of professors who aren’t mentioned at all.
A growing concern with these types of sites is whether or not students end up cheating themselves by taking classes they’ve researched and found to be easier than others.
“One thing to sort of think about is the issue about whether or not this enables students to escape through college,” Hazen said.
Both Hazen and McKay said their site is not creating a way for students to take the easy way but rather to inform them and help them avoid risking their education by taking classes without knowing the professors’ teaching or grading styles.
Thus far, they have gotten a lot of positive feedback from mainly students and have gotten lots of good ideas of other features to include. They encourage feedback and ideas and attempt to respond to their e-mails frequently. Their only concern is that someone might misinterpret what they are trying to do, which is bring the information to students.
While the site is currently only open to CU and University of Colorado at Denver students, Hazen and McKay are looking to expand the site. They presently have a few other students gather data from other schools and hope to feature every school as soon as possible.
“In 10 years, I want the site to have every school and have it be the place to go to view grade data for professors,” McKay said. “We want to dominate the market.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Amber Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org