Rabindra (“Robby”) Ratan is an Assistant Professor and AT&T Scholar at Michigan State University’s Department of Media and Information. He is also an affiliated faculty member of the MSU Center for Gender in a Global Context, the MSU Department of Psychology, and the MSU College of Education’s program in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology. Ratan received his Ph.D. from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, his M.A. in Communication from Stanford University, and his B.A. in Science, Technology and Society, also from Stanford University.
Dr. Ratan’s research focuses primarily on the psychological experience of media use, with an emphasis on video games and other interactive environments (e.g., virtual worlds, the road) that include mediated self-representations (e.g., avatars, automobiles). He is particularly interested in how different facets of mediated self-representations (e.g., gender, self-concept) influence the psychological experience of media use, and how different facets of this psychological experience (e.g., embodiment, identification) affect a variety of outcomes, including cognitive performance, learning, health-related behaviors (e.g., food choice, driving aggression), and prejudicial/prosocial attitudes. His work also emphasizes the social implications of video games, especially with respect to gender and race-related disparities in meaningful contexts outside of the gaming environment (e.g., STEM fields).
Dr. Ratan loves teaching, especially large classes, where tries to make the discussion engaging and interactive for as many students as possible. He has received multiple teaching awards, including the 2017 MSU Teacher Scholar Award and 2015 MSU AT&T Instructional Technology Award, and he was also a 2014-2015 MSU Lilly Teaching Fellow. He experiments with new technologies and teaching approaches, including rapping and riding a skateboard in class to keep students' attention. A description of his larger teaching philosophy is here.
MI101: Understanding Media (undergraduate)
MI401: Science Fiction and Technology (undergraduate)
MI960: Media & Technology (Ph.D.)
UGS200H: Video Game Impacts: Play with Meaning (honors undergraduate)
CAS 496: Hip-Hop, Communication & Society