Failing teachers face online ratings from students

February 12, 1999

Students at Montreal's Concordia University will now be able to exchange stories about those professors who themselves deserve failing grades, thanks to a new website for evaluating professor competence.

Ben Mattes and Billy Klein, two computer science students, have developed a site called Teacher's Corner. The two second-year students came upon the idea after having completed one too many university-authorised teacher evaluations.

Those traditional ratings have always been kept confidential and never go beyond the professor, department and dean. "They go into these big brown envelopes that nobody sees," said Mr. Mattes, who wants fellow students from year to year to freely discuss a professor's performance - and the university's embarrassment be damned. In their manifesto to fellow frustrated students, they ask, "How many of your teachers appear as if they are teaching exactly the same way they have been teaching for the past 15 years?" Far from some angry site that implores students to boycott faculty deadwood, Teacher's Corner hopes to act as a gentle reminder to the few teachers who cannot or will not change. As polite and respectful as the authorised evaluations, Teacher's Corner allows students to rate professors in such areas as how well they prepare students for exams or how clearly and effectively material is presented.

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