Giancarlo Di Peco
Among the plethora of rating websites flooding online search engines, there is one particular website that promises to be a platform for students to constructively rate the work ethics of their peers.
TWORP (Team Work Problems) is a website designed to provide a soundboard for college and university students to rate their experiences working with their fellow students. The site allows students to rate their group members anonymously on a five-star scale.
Stefano Cerone who got his MBA at York University, created TWORP about a year ago saying, “Over the course of my academic career I noticed a lot of inefficiencies in teamwork, in particular I couldn’t physically see how well others worked,”
He felt that too often certain students would end up pulling most of the weight while others would fail to contribute. With that in mind, he said, he decided there had to be a way to search what people are good at and “have an additional motivator for students to really pull their weight with constructive criticism.”
Cerone said that some of the comments students have tried to post were both racist and derogatory and promises that these types of comments will not be on the site.
“Ratings and comments don’t get posted until approved, so we make sure the comments allowed on the site are constructive criticism only,” said Cerone.
Since he launched the website, Cerone has been interviewed by the Toronto Star and Global News, and has been contacted by schools and newspapers across the country and in the United States. He said the attention has helped boost the website’s popularity.
“The Star article kind of got the discussion started and it has just spiralled out of control from there,” Cerone said. “From there we’ve had a lot of newspapers asking for interviews, as well as some American students requesting their schools be added to the website.”
There are currently 12 Canadian schools on the website, including Humber College. There have been only 10 students who have been rated at Humber but some believe that this website can help.
“For sure I’d like to see how my friends or group partners have worked before. I would be nervous to see how other students have rated me, but maybe it’s a good thing,” said Multimedia Design and Development student Daniel Di Felice, 19.
Electrical Engineering student Jermaine Francis, 20, said he would like to see how other students view him and his work ethic. “I’d like to know how others see how I am in a group environment, working among others.”
Cerone said he has received some negative remarks from those who believe the website may be encroaching students privacy or that TWORP is just another way for students to bully others.
“I’ve always concluded that those who have negative thoughts or remarks are most likely to speak out, so those are the things you hear the most,” Cerone said. “But I’ve received some promising feedback from students and from professors, some of those who have told me they encourage their students to use the website.”
“It really depends what kind of student you are. If you know you’re a bad student it can be pretty offensive,” said Connor Neckland, 18, Justice Studies student.“It be a privacy issue with your name online, maybe even bullying, but it depends on how you feel being rated by others.”
As Cerone meets the criticism head on, he said his team will work around the clock in order to improve the website so that it lasts.“In the future we may want to provide data based on what students are worried about most, attributes that students are looking for in others.”