🎉 NEWS 🎉

(May 2024) Our lab’s work will be presented/published at CHI, ISLS, CogSci, IDC (LDT), and EARLI SIG16 conferences! See Publications for more info.

(April 2024) AlgeSPACE project on SIC news and university news

(Mar 2024) Our lab will offer two new seminars in SS2024 – check them out here.

(Mar 2024) We will be at the Tag der digitalen Bildung (The Digital Education Day) in Saarland!

(Feb 2024) We have launched AlgeSPACE — a collection of free interactive exercises for teaching and learning how to solve systems of equations.

(Oct 2023) New grant (with Sarah Malone) on co-designing a learning dashboard on AI in Education with university students at Saarland.

(Sep 2023) Won the PRESTO (“Sakigake”) grant! (€300K) We will work on participatory design research with school students and teachers in Germany and Japan to design an intelligent system with a focus on student agency.

(Aug 2023) Echo has joined the lab as a postdoc from ASU! Learn more about her.

(Apr 2023) Starting a new role as a Visiting Professor at Hokkaido University in Japan!

(Mar 2023) Gave a talk at CAIS in Bochum

(Feb 2023) Gave a talk at ETH Zürich (FLI Colloquia)

(Dec 2022) Launched the “Future+Learning” working group with Lis Sylvan and Sandra Cortesi @BKC Harvard

(Nov 2022) Moved to Germany to start my TT position at Saarland University!

(June 2021) Our ISLS paper was nominated for Best Design Paper!

(April 2021) We were at the ED Games Expo! Here’s our entry.

(Dec 2020) Won the Fred Mulder Open Education Practice Award!

(Nov 2020) Gave a talk at Keio Univ.

(Nov 2020) Won an AECT award!

(Nov 2020) Presented at OpenEd20

(Oct 2020) Made a tape diagram template (available under CC-BY-NC)


If you are interested in writing a bachelor/master’s thesis in the lab, please read this page carefully and send an email to me (nagashima[at] or my postdoc Echo (mansu[at] with “Thesis Supervision” in its title and we can talk more if there’s a spot! When emailing, please include your CV/Resume, transcript, proposed thesis topic (if any), and planned graduation month.

(14.04.2024): We do not have any more spots available for thesis students to join the lab for the Summer semester 2024, and we only have a very few spots left for the Winter semester 2024-25. Since doing a thesis project in the lab can take 6-12 months, please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested!


There are no strict prerequisites for writing a thesis in the lab, but to write a good thesis, it is important that you have a background (e.g., degree, coursework, past research project…) in one or more of the fields below:

  • Learning Sciences/Education Science/Educational Technology
  • Human-Computer Interaction/Computer Science
  • Psychology/Cognitive Science

Once we decide to work on a thesis together in the lab, you will need to take a bachelor/master seminar (graded – unless you are a student from the EduTech program) as part of your thesis writing. In this seminar, we meet once a month (with other thesis-writing students) to share progress and get feedback. We would also meet individually for about 1-2 times a month to discuss the project. During this phase, you will define a research question, identify prior work, and learn about its theoretical basis. After this phase, you will decide on the method you will use and make a clear plan on how to collect and analyze data. Once you complete the seminar, your “writing period” will start. Note that writing a thesis (seminar + the writing period) in my lab typically takes 8-12 months. We would also like to work with you to submit your thesis research to a conference or journal! Past thesis students have submitted their work to ACM CHI, ACM IDC, and CogSci conferences.

Types of Thesis

In my lab, students write a thesis of one (or more) of the following types:

  • Design-focused (you’d engage in iterative design research with practitioners/community members to produce digital artifacts, which would be followed by user testing)
  • Experiment-focused (you’d design some kind of instructional principle or activities using technology and conduct an experiment to test its effectiveness)
  • Data analysis-focused (you’d analyze (existing) learning data and test hypotheses)

Thesis Topic

You can either propose your own topic for your thesis or choose a topic from our thesis topics (below). In either case, you would need to discuss this with Prof. Tomo Nagashima and/or Dr. Man (Echo) Su to reach a mutual agreement. Here are some open thesis topics for which we are currently looking for students:

  • Promoting “smart” choices in using metacognitive strategies during math learning (Preferred background: LS/Psych)
  • Understanding teachers’, students’, and parents’ perspectives on the use of (generative) AI in the classroom/home environment (Preferred background: HCI/Design)
  • Designing and testing motivational feedback in a math intelligent tutoring system (Preferred background: Design/HCI/LS)
  • Designing an intelligent tutoring system for learning fractions (Preferred background: LS/Design)
  • Designing and testing social elements that affect choice making during learning (Preferred background: HCI/Psych)
  • Investigating how emotions influence self-regulated learning behaviors in an Intelligent Tutoring System (Preferred background: HCI/LS/Psych)
  • Effects of gamification on math learning, motivation, and emotions (Preferred background: CS/HCI)
  • Using intelligent tutoring software to simulate interactions that can reveal and remediate robust misconceptions (Preferred background: LS)
  • Leveraging student explanations in intelligent tutoring software to better understand and address misconceptions, especially in complex science domains (Preferred background: LS)