Department of Media and Information
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 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. His approach to keeping his students’ attention was covered in this State News article. More substantively, he regularly experiments with new technologies and teaching approaches. He recently won the MSU AT&T Instructional Technology Award for the design of a synchronous online class (about science fiction and communication technology). Also, as part of the MSU Lilly Teaching Fellows program, he spent the 2014-15 academic year with a cohort of five other junior faculty studying pedagogical and other teaching-related practices under the direction of the assistant provost of faculty development, Deb DeZure.