Company: Gator Ratings
Name: Freddy Vazquez
Education: Junior at University of Florida. Major: Business, Minor: Computer Science.
Number one tip: “If you feel that you have a winning idea, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t succeed. There are plenty of people out there who will put you down (especially as a student), but an entrepreneur has to know how to brush off the nay-sayers and not get discouraged.”
As any college student will tell you, professor rating websites are in high demand, providing a much needed service across college campuses. Freddy Vazquez found himself in need of the information provided by these websites, yet was dissatisfied with what was available. After analyzing the major players, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and collecting input from his friends and fellow students, he was able to design a professor rating website that he feels “boasts the strongest features and best usability.”
Freddy believes that one major drawback of other professor rating sites is their broad scope. He designed and implemented his project strictly for the University of Florida, the school which he currently attends. By mixing the traditional elements of a professor rating website (numerical ratings, comments) with key user interaction features (the ability to reply to comments or give them a thumbs up / thumbs down) he has created a dynamic and useful solution for gauging professor quality.
He’s currently setting his sights on other large universities like Arizona State University and Ohio State University. Freddy says that “each of these schools would have their own individual website; I feel that specialization and customization are key to success.”
One of Freddy’s favorite features is something he has dubbed the “Comment Cloud.” If you are familiar with what a tag cloud is, then the concept of the “Comment Cloud” is very similar; By clicking on a small cloud icon at the top right of a professor’s page a student will see the top 50 words used to describe that professor. The more a word is used to describe the professor, the bigger it appears in the comment cloud. This feature allows students to quickly gauge the quality and/or attitude of a professor without having to read every individual rating. Clicking on any word in the comment cloud will show you all the professor’s ratings that include that word.
Gator Ratings launched at the end of July, 2008. Since then the site has been receiving thousands of visits every week. Freddy is truly a one-man show: He promotes Gator Ratings through on-campus advertising (that he does himself) and flyers that he posts all over campus to spread the word about the service.
This student entrepreneur has big plans. Before you know it, he’ll be rating professors at a college near you.