Assistant Professor Rabindra “Robby” Ratan received a Teacher-Scholar Award from the university on Feb. 7, 2017. He is an affiliate assistant professor in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology (EPET) program in the College of Education, and part of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
Ratan was one of six Michigan State University faculty members to receive the honor, which recognizes those early in their career that have earned respect from students and colleagues for their skill and devotion, and whose instruction is creative and related to their research.
“What strikes me most about Ratan is his enthusiasm,” said Cary Roseth, associate professor and director of the EPET program. “Truly, his positive energy is infectious and comes through in everything he does, be it his teaching, research or simply serving on a student’s graduate committee.”
Ratan is noted for being innovative in both his research and in the classroom.
His research includes work with avatars, presence and self in digital communications, the role of gender in digital communication and including games and online collaboration on “autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles,” a field Ratan has dubbed AVACAR. In addition, he has “pioneered the use of fMRI and psychosocial measurement techniques in the field,” according to a profile of him on MSU Today.
All of his courses utilize technology in some way, whether it be projecting real-time communications for all to see, or using avatar-based forums for his students to communicate with one another before and after class. And he can often be seen on his skateboard, which helps keep his students’ attention.
The Teacher-Scholar Awards are supported by the Office of University Development.