A new Web site aims to assist students with picking their professors, based on the grades the instructors give out.
UCLA alumni Mike Moradi and Brandon Sos launched theCampusBuddy.com for UCSB this month to provide students with the grade distributions of college professors. The site joins the ranks of similar Web sites, such as RateMyProfessors.com and PickaProf.com, which aim to help students select professors and classes.
For UCSB, theCampusBuddy.com includes official grades from various professors in almost every department and course. Additionally, graphs illustrate the percentage and distribution of each course’s grades. Over 13 million grades from 42 California institutions are disclosed thus far on the Web site.
Pick-A-Prof won a lawsuit against University of California, Davis in 2006 that opened the gateway for the widespread publication of professors’ grades. The site sued the school claiming that professors’ grades were public record after the university had originally given out the grades but then refused to release them. In spite of the victory, Moradi said retrieving grade distribution information from universities and colleges was not an easy task.
“This is information that campuses aren’t exactly giving out,” Moradi said. “It was more of a student initiative to get it started. It was very hard to get the records … we spent months and months contacting campus officials to collect data.”
Moradi said his site is fundamentally different from any campus grade distribution program on the Internet.
“Our whole idea was to create something new, more accessible and comprehensive than any site out there,” Moradi said. “We set out on a task to have [theCampusBuddy’s data be] based on scientific data rather than someone just ranting about a professor they hate.”
First-year political science major Moonie Shin said she usually uses RateMyProfessor.com, but will check out the new site.
“If this Web site were a better version of [RateMyProfessor.com] and could better identify easy teachers, I would use this new site,” Shin said.
UCSB French instructor Kathryne Adair said she appreciated the Web site’s purpose, but that students should browse with caution.
“[TheCampusBuddy.com] can provide some useful information to students, but they need to remember to keep an objective outlook when using such Web sites,” Adair said.
However, third-year linguistics major Max Pinkerton said he is not interested in theCampusbuddy.com and would rather take risks when enrolling in a class.
“I wouldn’t use theCampusBuddy.com because sometimes the harder teachers are the better teachers,” Pinkerton said. “If I happen to chance upon easy teachers, that’s fine, but I don’t think that skating by with easy teachers is the way to go.”
At any rate, Moradi said he believes students who use the site will benefit from its service.
“I’m hoping that it will allow students to know what they are getting themselves into when getting into classes and to help them pick a class that best aligns with their interests,” Moradi said.