Rate My Teachers and its predecessors have been around in one form or another since 2001, making it one of the one of the longest running educational websites on the Internet.
Over the years RMT has continued to grow, and in 2018 it was acquired by new owners who thought it was time for a fresh look and updated approach.
First, it was decided that the site needed to re-establish its mission, focusing on the answer to a single question — “what do I as a student need to know to maximize my chance of success in a given class?” From there, it was off to consult with professionals in education and psychology. Working with the pros, a short but powerful survey was developed to replace the former rating system.
Then it was time to see if the students agreed. Over 1,100 students took part in a review to determine if the new survey would provide them with more actionable, useful information, and the response was a resounding “yes.”
But what to do with all of the ratings collected over the years? It was decided that until we have sufficient new surveys collected, we will continue to share the legacy rating results.
The legacy comments are another story. Most were nice, and some were not, but as we looked over the comments what we found were that most were not actually helpful.
Say a student finishing a course writes, “the teacher is great!” While that’s lovely compliment, for the student about to enter the course there is nothing particularly useful about it. However, if the same student were to write, “focus on the textbook more than the worksheets or homework in studying for the tests,” the student coming in learns something actionable.
That is why in the new survey we have moved away from general comments and asked a specific question. By focusing the response we hope to generate results that prove more useful to others. Additionally, modifying the question helps keep the focus on the course, rather than the person.
With a fresh mission, updated survey, and fully re-built tech stack we thought a new coat of paint would be just the thing to tie it all together. As we were thinking about rebranding, we thought a mascot would be a fun way to communicate with users.
Owen, our resident owl and tour guide was created by Simon Oxley, a brilliant illustrator best known for creating the Twitter bird and GitHub’s Octocat. He was then brought to life by UK designer Adam Larkum who created the fun illustrations that appear throughout the site.
To top it all off we added a new Resources section where we will continue to add helpful information and links on studying techniques, subject help, and the occasional bit of humor. If you see something you think we should include, please let us know at [email protected]. If we use it on the site, we will send you some RMT swag as our way of saying thank you.
We hope students and teachers will find the new RMT provides a friendly, approachable, and most importantly useful experience. Thank you for your continued support.