What do you do when someone posts something ‘bad’ about you online? Do you encourage others that have more positive things to say to post for you – is that playing the game or manipulating things?

For lecturers who pay attention to such websites, a poor rating denoted by an unhappy face next to their name on the US-based website can be both a professional and personal blow.

However, rather than dismissing the site, a new research paper has suggested a way to turn the frown upside down – by encouraging more students to use it.

The study, “ offers biased evaluations”, published in the journal Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, found that students who left ratings were a self-selecting group who were more likely to be negative than positive.

Thus, the ratings are “not representative of students who have taken a professor’s class”, the paper argues.

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