Bricks on the Brain

UM Law

Saturday, January 08, 2005

UM Law Complaint Blog Found - "Anonymous" Unwelcome

A fellow student brought this blog: to my attention. So far there are only two comments. My suggestion is that posters use a consistent alias, and not use blogspot's "Anonymous". Otherwise, the blog will be useless.

I have become highly skeptical of UM's anonymous student reviews and opinions of professors. The library maintains records of all the student reviews for each professors, and some students actually peruse these before scheduling their classes. The sources of my skepticism can perhaps be overcome by the blog, but only if students give more information than they currently do under the UM system of student reviews.

One problem the blog might overcome is reviews that do not identify other professors that the student liked or disliked. Obviously the reviews must be anonymous, but it is useful to know if the reviewer and the reader agree or disagree about other professors. If the reviewer and I agree on five other professors, I will be more likely to give weight to her opinion on the sixth. If however she hates every professor I liked, then her opinions aren't going to be valuable to me. If posters to the blog use consistent aliases, or include a line naming other professors they liked/disliked, this problem can be overcome.

The other major flaw with UM's student reviews is that they are filled out before the students have received their exam grades in the class, or even taken the final. Student opinions have the potential for a complete 180 once grades are released, so the reviews tell only half the story. Reviews on the blog need not suffer this deficiency, and posters might even reveal their grade in the class and overall GPA so as to allow readers to get a better feel for the reviewer.

Theoretically the UM administration could create a short list of suspects by simply cross referencing the comments an alias has made against the historical records of student schedules, but I doubt they would do this, even for the most profane and defamatory reviews.

In any case, I'll probably just rely on the review method that has served me well thus far: word of mouth.


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