Rabindra (Robby) Ratan is an Associate 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.
Generally, Dr. Ratan conducts research within the field of media psychology, examining how interactive media environments (e.g., video games) and factors within them (e.g., avatars) influence meaningful outcomes (e.g., education, health).
More specifically, Dr. Ratan studies the psychological experience and effects of interactive mediated environments, broadly defined (e.g., virtual worlds, online courses, the road). He is particularly interested in how avatars -- also broadly defined (e.g., game characters, automobiles) -- 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 education behaviors (e.g., classroom performance), health-related behaviors (e.g., food choice), and prejudicial/prosocial attitudes (e.g., gender/race bias). His work also emphasizes the social implications of media use with respect to gender and race-related disparities in meaningful contexts (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