Courses Taught

These are the main courses that I teach at MSU.

  • Avatar Use, Psychology and Significance 
    Theory and research on the psychological experience and effects of avatar use
    Example syllabus here
    (note: this course is undergoing significant changes to focus more on a game/VR design-student audience)
  • Science Fiction, Communication and Technology
    Examination of relationship between science fiction themes and our lives.
    MSU AT&T award for Best Blended Course, 2015.
    Example syllabus here
  • Media and Technology (PhD Seminar)
    PhD seminar on theories of media and technology use.
    Example syllabus here.
  • Understanding Media (large intro course for ~300 undergrads)
    Introduction to various topics of research and history of media
    Example syllabus here.
  • Video Game Impacts: Play with Meaning (Honors Research Seminar)
    Hand-on research course in which honors undergraduate students conduct video-game studies.
    Course only available for freshman/sophomores enrolled in the Honors College.

VOICES conference!

I am super excited about the Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Conferences on Educating with Song (VOICES) conference!

“VOICES will present the latest research, pedagogy, and practitioner perspectives on effectively communicating the ideas of STEM through song.”

…hey, I like using (rap) songs to communicate about STEM-related topics!  Maybe that’s why I was asked to help organize. 🙂

The timing is great (September 27-28, 2017).  Students who take my inaugural Hip-Hop, Communication & Society course will all be able (required) to attend the conference, which only costs $10 and will take place virtually.



I won a thing

I’m grateful to have won an MSU Teacher Scholar award – given to six tenure system faculty, “who early in their careers have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion to and skill in teaching.”

My dept chair, Johannes Bauer, has been extremely supportive and was kind enough to nominate me. The write-up here is overly flattering and exaggerates some of my contributions, so I hope nobody expects me to live up to them. 😉

Ratan recognized at All-University Awards

Professor uses skateboard to keep students’ attention

“Media and Information professor Rabindra Ratan knows that in a big lecture, students get distracted and fall asleep. To keep his students engaged and awake, he skateboards around the class. The potential that he could wipe out at any moment is what he says keeps the students’ attention. “It’s fun,” Ratan said. “It keeps their attention and it keeps me from getting bored too. The students watch me to make sure they don’t miss when I fall.”

(2nd) State News article about my skateboard/teaching antics

Professor “Robby” Ratan: the man behind the skateboard
Attending 8 a.m. lectures can be tough, especially if it’s a topic that you’re not very interested in. However, assistant professor Rabindra “Robby” Ratan, who teaches Intro to Media and Info Tech 101 in Wells Hall has changed the game when it comes to teaching his 8 a.m. lecture, simply by skateboarding.

“I started to stand on my board while I was teaching, probably in 2014,” assistant professor Ratan said. “I realized it made me have more fun while I was teaching.”

Ratan’s passion for skateboarding was sparked one evening while walking with his family on the Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles, where he was working on getting his doctorate degree.

Ratan Receives AT&T Instructional Technology Award

CAS News, May 19 2015

“Rabindra “Robby” Ratan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Information, is the recipient of the 2015 Michigan State University AT&T Award of Excellence for Best Blended Course for his Science Fiction, Communication & Technology course, TC 401, which examines the ways in which science fiction portrays the use of communication technologies…”

Read Full Article Here