Michael Bulman, founder of Rate Your Lecturer, has defended the site against criticisms, saying that too many institutions hold research in higher regard than teaching – to the detriment of student customers (“Rate Your Lecturer website scores poorly with lecturers”, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, 13 June).
I don’t view students as customers, and never will. A customer implies a passive relationship of being given a product in direct exchange for a cash payment; a good degree requires that the student actually does the work stipulated by their lecturers, regardless of how much they are paying. You do not get a degree automatically in return for paying £9,000 a year, even if ministers are encouraging this dangerous mentality among students. Therein lies the fatal flaw in this out of control, neoliberal consumerist nonsense.
Imagine, too, the blackmail that lecturers are likely to be subject to: “Give me an A+ or a first, or I’ll say lots of nasty and malicious things about you on Rate Your Lecturer.”
A lecturer could get 99 excellent ratings from happy students and then receive just one negative rating from a weak student who rightly got a low grade or degree. Guess which of these student ratings university managers and ministers will leap on.
Incidentally, as the government thinks that university is simply about preparing students for the world of work, will graduates be encouraged to Rate Their Employer in future?