Tag Archives: Robby Ratan

Ratan Receives AT&T Instructional Technology Award

Posted on: 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.

During the course, themes from science fiction works are analyzed in an effort to better understand our own technology use and the ways in which communication technology plays an important role in society.

Zoom videoconferencing was the primary technology used in this synchronous online course. Through the use of Zoom, Ratan and the students watched a science fiction film together each week. With Zoom, Ratan could tell at a glance whether students were engaged in the class or were multitasking, which was discouraged. However, students were encouraged to use Zoom’s text chat feature for back-channel communication while watching the film and during class discussions. This allowed students to engage with the material in real time through interactions with each other.

Robby Ratan with ATT Award"I feel honored to win this award and grateful to the award sponsor,  committee and MSU for supporting faculty using new methods and technologies to enhance their teaching," Ratan said. "I think that synchronous (real-time) interaction between students and with instructors is very important, especially in online classes, and this course provides the opportunity to examine how new interaction tools contribute to student learning."

Ratan is teaching the course again this summer and in the fall. During the fall semester, the course will be taught in a classroom setting, but the technology will continue to be used in innovative ways to encourage constant communication.

Initiated by IT Services and funded by AT&T, the annual AT&T Faculty-Staff Competition in Instruction Technology Awards program recognizes outstanding contributions to the use and development of informational technology for teaching and learning at MSU and encourages best practices in the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning.

“The awards help spread effective practice and share the outstanding work of our colleagues,” said Brendan Guenther, Director of IT Services Teaching and Learning.

Faculty and staff are nominated for the awards by MSU's campus community or by self-nomination in three categories: fully online course, blended course and technology-enabled innovation.

The 2015 awards were presented at an award luncheon April 16 at the Kellogg Center.

To learn more about the awards, see the AT&T Faculty-Staff Competition in Instruction Technology Awards website.

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