Gender Performance Gap – JCMC Article

A journal article I wrote with some colleagues, “Do Men Advance Faster Than Women? Debunking the Gender Performance Gap in Two Massively Multiplayer Online Games”, was published in the Journal of Mediated-Computer Communication and has received more press than anything I’ve written previously (which was not hard to beat).  This is likely because we put out a piece about the journal article on TheConversation, a site where researchers try to make their work more publicly accessible. That article was picked up a few other sites, including ifuckinglovescience, and this led to a few other articles (MSU, LSJ).

Now, if only people cared about the psychology of avatar use as much as they apparently care about video games and gender…

Conference Rapping

Me and my antics …did some rapping at the International Communication Association conference in Japan.

I’ve done this final rap a few times now, but this has a new beat (which I think I like this more)…

(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.

This article nicely articulates an argument I make


WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because false stereotypes in gaming can lead to fewer girls in STEM, too.

Belinda Van Sickle was scared. What had started as an online debate over media ethics in video game journalism had erupted into a visceral campaign of harassment toward women in the industry. Threats to dox, rape or even murder were consolidated by certain gamers under the Twitter hashtag #GamerGate. It got so bad that Van Sickle, executive director of Women in Games International, bought motion-detector lights for her home and added multilevel password security to all her financial sites. Even today, two years later, Van Sickle says she sees how the controversy hurt the recruitment of female gaming pros, and the episode fueled perceptions of rampant sexism throughout the gaming world. “It was a scary time for the industry, and it really hasn’t ended,” Van Sickle told OZY. “If you were on the fence about staying, this pushed you over the edge.”

The misogyny that boiled over then, and simmers today, has many roots, but much of it stems from the idea that women are impostors. Never mind that there are more adult women playing games than teenage-and-younger boys, according to the Entertainment Software Association’s 2016 report. Demographics aside, the assumption that women are less suited for gaming is on shaky scientific ground. Sorry to tell you, boys, but …

University of Michigan Gender & Gaming Symposium 2015

Date & Time: October 24, 2015 – 10:00am to 4:00pm
Location: Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery Space, Room 100
Event Type: Symposium

In the past few years, issues of gender have become prominent in the discussion around gaming, both as relates to the games themselves and in the larger gaming culture. This symposium aims to critically engage these ongoing narratives, explore how gaming culture can impact broader social spheres, and indicate how gender relations in gaming can be improved going forward through two keynote talks, a series of roundtable discussions, a panel discussion of student gamers, and a game gallery of significant texts. Attendees can expect to participate heavily throughout the day and leave with a deeper understanding of game culture, its social significance, and what its future might entail.

Participation in the symposium is FREE! However, space is limited, so in order to attend you must pre-register using this registration form.

Lunch will be provided.

Keynote Speakers:

Rabindra (Robby) Ratan, assistant professor, Department of Media & Information, Michigan State University
“Avatars for Empowerment: A research trajectory aimed toward reducing social disparity in education through avatar use”

Adrienne Shaw, assistant professor, Department of Media Studies and Production, Temple University
“Representation Matters: Reframing arguments for diversity in digital games”

Sponsored by: University of Michigan Library Computer & Video Game Archive; University of Michigan Library Diversity Council; University of Michigan Institute for Humanities; Ann Arbor District Library.

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