Graduate behind Rate your Lecturer: students are consumers

The graduate who launched rateyourlecturer.co.uk, the website which allows students to mark their university tutors on their teaching abilities and then publishes the results online, has said that students are now consumers.

Michael Bulman, an ex-history student who graduated from Northumbria University in 2012, said that students had become conditioned to the fact that, if they were forced to pay upwards tens of thousand of pounds in maintenance loans and tution fees, they had to shop around to find the best deal for their money.

He said: “Students are, for all extents and purposes, consumers and ultimately they’re shopping around aren’t they? They want the best degree available and they want to know where the best teaching is.

“The difference between a 2:1 and a 2:2 is huge – that’s a career or unemployment these days.”

Rate your Lecturer allows students to mark out of ten tutors’ ability to teach in lectures; teach in seminars; the level of feedback they provide students with; the intranet support available to students and their policy on office hours or how approachable they are.

There are league tables which rank the top 50 courses, lecturers, cities and universities as well as a search function to allow users to find lecturers and rate them or reading their ratings.

The highest-scoring law lecturer is Jennifer Stephens, who teaches LLB law and environment at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle and has attracted scores of ten for every category.

One student commented: “She’s really sold the course to us. She’s super approachable and really engaging. She’s really good at building up your ideas and always on hand to lend some career advice. I honestly haven’t a bad word to say.”

The site has garnered criticism from lecturers, with one, Bill Cooke, a professor at Lancaster University Management School, protesting that lecturers were not “dancing bears”.