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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Pick-a-Prof revises reviews

In the past reviews were only available at the end of the semester. The organization has high hopes for this new addition to the program, said Karen Bragg, director of university relations for the website.

An unanticipated high level of professor use of the site is prompting the need for this new service, Bragg said.

“When we started Pick-a-Prof we thought it would just be used by students, but professors started using it too,” Bragg said. “But our goal is always to help students in their academic goals.”

Currently Bowling Green is one of 89 campuses associated with the website. The company expects to have 100 schools registered by the end of this semester, according to Bragg. Close to 10,000 students at the University are registered on the Pick a Prof website, according to Pick-a-Prof records.

The website, which was started by two seniors at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A’M more than four years ago, has been available to University students here for about two years, Bragg said.

“This can be used at mid-semester to make changes while students are still in class,” she said. “Students know this will apply to them while they’re still in class and professors will understand the dynamic of how the semester is going.”

The website posts grade tallies from instructors as well as reviews from anonymous students. Information is obtained directly from University records, Bragg said.

While the reviews may be entertaining they may not prove as useful as student evaluations performed by the University, according to Assistant Professor in Journalism Victoria Ekstrand, who first found out about Pick-a-Prof when students in one of her classes mentioned it.

“It’s not clear what class each review is for,” she said. “In terms of delivery, the site is not very effective.”

For Ekstrand, University administered evaluations are more effective.

“What’s more helpful to me are the student evaluations at the end of the semester,” she said. “You get a full account of what students thought on issues.”

The website is ambiguous and the comments students post to the site tend to be vague, Ekstrand said.

“The comments tend to be critical and not substantial, which doesn’t help me know what to change,” she said. “I think the website could be very helpful. The problem is they [reviews] don’t carry any statistical surveys. Not everyone in each course leaves data.”

Assistant Professor in Political Science David Jackson has looked at and used instructor rating websites, including Pick-a-Prof.

“It’s not a bad idea, but on the other hand I wouldn’t encourage students to put too much stock in it. There isn’t much on the website in terms of educational value,” he said.

Like Ekstrand, Jackson thinks that the University’s end-of-semester evaluations are more helpful to instructors.

“The system [at the University] is more regulated and designed very carefully to cover comprehensive areas of the course, more so than the website,” he said.

And according to Jackson, the new features of the website still won’t match what University evaluations offer.

“Only if professors look at it, it might be of some value,” he said. “But I don’t think most professors would dramatically alter their teaching methods because of it.”

Another fault of the website, Jackson said, is there is no way to prevent students from rating the same teacher multiple times.

Most students who are familiar with the site have used it to help them decide which instructors’ classes to take.

“I think it’s very helpful,” junior Katie McCool said. “I can find which teachers can benefit me and what other students think of them.”

Junior Chad Krukemyer echoed McCool’s views.

“I used the website to prepare for next semester, to see what others were saying,” he said.

While no data is available comparing the University’s usage with other campuses, they do keep records on student usage, Bragg said.

“Once a student registers they use the site about two to four times per semester for a 25- minute session,” she said.

Schools usually pay for the service through a student government or partner with a national advertiser, Bragg says.

“Either a student government subscribes to the service or students pay for it individually. Or schools partner with a company so the $5 membership fee for students is essentially free,” she said.

The cost varies between schools, Bragg said.

After contacting various departments on campus the BG News has not been able to find a direct relationship with the company.

The website also offers a schedule planner and online book swap for students. Other area schools registered with the website include the University of Toledo, Kent State University and Ohio University.

Editor’s Note: For more information visit

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