Where have I been!? A personal/professional update

Over the past year and a half, I’ve been insanely busy both personally and professionally, which means that I’ve had little time to spare to update this blog. I’ll do my best to condense all the major events into an update of reasonable length…

Summer 2017. Started as the Vice Chair of the Game Studies Division at the International Communication Association conference in San Diego (responsibility, yay!). Gave invited research talks at National Chiao Tung University and National Chengchi University in Taiwan as well as at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Spent time at Stanford in Jeremy Bailenson’s Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory as a visiting scholar — writing a grant proposal and making a great new friend and collaborator, Benjy Li of Nanyang Technological University (we’ve worked on four papers in the past year!).

Fall 2017. Ran my second half-marathon. Helped organize the first VOICES (Virtual Ongoing Interdisciplinary Collaborations on Educating with Song) conference. Taught my first class on hip-hop, which dovetailed nicely with the Voices conference. Had twin babies (born Oct 18)!

Winter 2017. Hibernated. …by which I mean changed 10-15 diapers per day and did 3 feedings per night. Hosted lots of family visits — funny how magnetic these little humans are.

Spring 2018. Attended the ISPR and ICA conferences in Prague. Avoided as many vice-chair failures as possible. Organized the informal dance party party. Served on NSF grant review panel. Attended NSF grants conference in Detroit.

Summer 2018. Celebrated by 10-year wedding anniversary. Got tenure (yay). Began a new research stream on adult/explicit media (because tenure). Hit turbo on paper submissions — churned out ~6 articles, including a meta-analysis of the Proteus Effect, which I hope will help provide evidence that the phenomenon is an important topic of study.

Fall 2018. Completed and released my Coursera course, Avatar Psychology for Designers. Co-chaired the Meaningful Play conference. Served as AC for CHI (games and play; first time). Ran my 3rd and 4th half marathons. Celebrated the twins first birthday! OMG it’s been a year, and what a year it’s been.



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.





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.

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