Students, faculty divided over

Maria D'Amato

For many University students, has become as important to the registration process as course catalogs and pin numbers. However, the evolution of the website has evoked mixed feelings from members of the University community. began last year in Caughlin Hall when freshmen John Fiedler and Nick Weber were inspired by a friend to create a website which would aid in choosing professors and classes.

“Everyone knows about the writing on the wall and hears things by word of mouth but we decided it would be a good idea to use the internet to make it more efficient,” Weber said.

The pair then e-mailed their fellow residents, friends and classmates to request reviews of University teachers. was created from the compilation of these reviews. After the birth of the site, Fiedler and Weber presented their creation to Student Government Association President Maureen Holland.

Under the direction of SGA, replaced the V.O.I.C.E. surveys, which had previously been administered by SGA in classes.

The collaboration of Nick Weber, John Fiedler and SGA resulted in a website which allows students to access and write reviews of their teachers and courses, using a system of letter grades to rate various aspects of professors as well as space for individual comments. According to its founders, there are currently 5,000 users and between 3,000 and 4,000 reviews. They noted a direct correlation between the content of the reviews and the manner in which courses are filled.

Despite its growing popularity, there are a few concerns surrounding

Many of these concerns stem from the fact that the reviews are created by students who choose to comment.

Unlike CAT surveys, does not receive reviews from every student in a particular class.

According to Rev. Daniel Doyle, O.S.A., a professor in the department of Theology and Religious Studies, the reviews on are not necessarily an accurate cross-section of student opinion.

“You only really write a report about a professor if you have strong feelings for or against them,” sophomore Jennifer Lee said.

“The information is mixed,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. John Immerwahr said. “Some is valuable, some is not valuable and some is absolutely harmful.”

He added that some classes and teachers are avoided because they are perceived as challenging.

However, “Villanova students respond well to challenging courses,” he said.

Many members of the University recognize the website’s potential and acknowledge the areas in need of improvement.

Fiedler and Weber said it is not intended to be a forum for personal jabs.

Doyle suggested changes to help users evaluate the validity of reviews.

“Students should include the grade they received, the degree of challenge of the class, the amount of work assigned and their current GPA,” he said.

Immerwahr encouraged the use of the CAT surveys as a supplement to and supports the ongoing discussions surrounding the website and its improvement.

“As long as students are critical of the reviews, I think that can continue to serve as a valuable resource,” sophomore Ashley Warner said.