It’s almost the end of the semester, which means that the cat is out of the bag; and by cat I mean spring 2020 schedules, and by bag I mean the nothingness from which a computer algorithm produced said schedules. Now that the general Wesleyan public knows the vagaries of their class load for the next era of their academic life, those lucky bastards who got the exact classes they want can be seen frolicking around campus, basking in the glow of being #blessed by the scheduling program. However, the joy of getting into such apparently scintillating classes as “Bad Sex,” or whatever other class name piques your interest, is often premature. While many of the classes at Wesleyan seem to have fascinating concepts, their glitzy course description often belies the true experience of the class. Many a student has walked into the first class of the semester, excited to learn about, like, stars or something, only to be met with a professor who is very excited to do the least amount of work possible while still retaining their tenure status.
I have personally been subject to a number of said professors who don’t actually give a shit whether or not their pupils learn anything in their class. Picture me as a little frosh: pants still uncuffed, dreams still unshattered, and strawberry-banana smoothies with ice cream from Pi still unslurped. Now consider that fresh-faced, cherubic, individual walking right into the class that he had been so excited about during pre-reg only for his professor to walk in, not introduce himself or ask for anyone’s name, and begin droning directly from his notes without looking up once for the next 80 minutes. Heartbreaking, right? These tenured professors are the bane of an academically curious student, and it is the desire of all such students to avoid said professors. However, it can prove difficult to find other students in the ocean of Wesleyan who can provide feedback on the classes that you want to take. While the bold always have the option of making a post in WesAdmits202X, those of us who don’t bear the “conversation starter” badge would rather find an alternative way to suss out a professor’s skill.
The first option that comes to mind when desiring some sort of professor rating system is, shockingly, Ratemyprofessors.com. While this site can occasionally provide good advice on which professors to avoid and which to woo for access into their class, the platform comes with many flaws that make it less than ideal. The biggest problem with Ratemyprofessors is the fact that many of the site’s reviews are out of date, as nobody seems to actually use Ratemyprofessors anymore. Many time I have attempted to search up a professor whose class I am considering taking, only to be greeted with no results and left to float, clueless, in a sea of the unknown. It is at such times that I cry into the void: “If only there was some Wesleyan-specific professor rating system!”
Well, luckily for me (and you!), such a service recently came into existence, in the form of the OurCampus app. The app is essentially Ratemyprofessors but only for Wesleyan, with up-to-date class information for each professor here. Such a service completely fulfills my need for school-specific information and ensures that avid students such as you and I can avoid the mind-numbing drone of disaffected tenured professors. During pre-reg this semester OurCampus was my best friend, the confidant that I turned to in all of my times of need, helping me dodge many bullets by checking whether or not a professor had a 2/5 rating.
However, OurCampus is only able to function when the entire campus is on board. The app relies upon the aggregate reviews of the student body, and without such a large data source it fails to accomplish anything. Therefore, it is essential that everybody submits a review of their professors so the school can build up a knowledge base for us to draw from each semester. As the name of the app suggests, it’s meant to benefit our campus, but it can only do so if everyone acts together. Instead of thinking about how it doesn’t matter if you submit a review of your professor, since you are just one person, instead think about how the five minutes it takes to submit multiple reviews helps to serve the greater Wesleyan community. OurCampus isn’t unique in its function; it effectively serves the same purpose as Ratemyprofessors. However, OurCampus’s value comes from the fact that it is attempting to directly target the Wesleyan community in order to create just that: a Wesleyan community. OurCampus is the catalyst that I hope will finally motivate students here to think about their role in the larger Wesleyan community, and how their actions can serve not just themselves but also the other thousands of students at this college.
Daniel Knopf can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Daniel is a member of the class of 2022.