About me

I am currently a graduate student in HCI Lab, School of Computer Science in University of Waterloo. I am in Teachable Robot Lab working with Prof. Edith Law (CS), and collaborate with the Cognitive Development Lab directed by Prof. Elizabeth Nilsen (Psychology), where I study how kids perceive teachable humanoid robots and learn from teaching them.

I graduated from the School of Computer Science in Carnegie Mellon University, where I majored in Educational Technology and Applied Learning Sciences (METALS) at Human-Computer Interaction Institute.

During my time in CMU, I was advised by Prof. Carolyn Rose from Langauge Technology Institute (LTI), Prof. Vincent Aleven from HCII, and Prof. Joseph Jay Williams from Computer Science department, University of Toronto. I also worked closely with the amazing Ph.D. students and post-docs in CMU HCII and LTI, including Ken Holstein, Xu Wang, Tomoshiro Nagashima and Shiyan Jiang.

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Beijing Normal University in English language literature, focusing on language education. I have taught English in various public schools and private institutions, including Beijing 101 High School, Meitan Qiushi High School, Knovva Academy, and Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Research Area

My research interests lie at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction, Learning Science and Artificial Intelligence.

My past work focuses on learning sciences and technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) in education, intelligent tutoring systems (ITS), language technology and educational robots. I am passionate about supporting students to learn more effectively and educators to work more efficiently.

I am also interested in social computing and computer-supported cooperative work (CSCW), including crowdsourcing, learnersourcing, and a broad range of HCI topics that seek to support people’s emotional and physical well-being.

Why research in this area?

My teaching experiences in various schools exposed me to many challenges faced by K-12 students and teachers in their daily work. To name a few, students I taught from an under-developed province lack quality teacher resources; teachers I worked with at a top high school in China said they felt exhausted with heavy workload, petty tasks and keeping up with the accelerated students.

At that time, with the rapid development of technologies (e.g. machine learning and MOOC), I felt technologies could be of help for coping these challenges faced by teachers and students. This led me to pursue graduate study in Educational Technology in Carnegie Mellon University HCII and Computer Sciences in HCI Lab at UWaterloo, where I got in touch with various cutting-edge research in Artificial Intelligence in education and HCI, which greatly inspired my interest in further study in this area.

About my name

I go by Bella or Kexin. For pronunciation, here is a useful website where you can click to hear kě (可) and xīn (馨) respectively.

News and Travel

[Feb.5th, 2020] Our paper was accepted to International Conference of Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2020 as a poster.

[Feb.5th, 2020] Our paper <Pedagogical Affordance Analysis: Leveraging Teachers’ Pedagogical Knowledge for Eliciting Pedagogical Affordances and Constraints of Instructional Tools> was accepted to International Conference of Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2020 as a short paper.

[Nov.10th, 2019] I am excited to learn that Enlighten Dashboard, product of our 7-month capstone project, will be released in the back-to-school semester in 2020 by Renaissance Learning Inc (RL), potentially reaching more than one third of U.S. schools!

[Apr.16th - 18th, 2020] I was selected to join the 2020 CRA-WP Grad Cohort for Women in New Orleans, LA.

[Nov.8th, 2019] I attended the CAN-CWIC (Canadian Women in Computing) conference in Toronto.

[Sep.3rd, 2019] I joined the HCI Lab in University of Waterloo, working with Prof. Edith Law.

[Aug 13, 2019 ] I finished capstone and officially graduated Carnegie Mellon University, HCII. View my [transcript].

[June 2-7,2019] I attended the NAACL-HLT 2019 to present our paper on automatic structural feedback at DISRPT workshop. [Paper][Slides]

[March 28,2019] Our paper “Applying Rhetorical Structure Theory to Student Essays for Providing Automated Writing Feedback” was accepted to NAACL-HLT 2019 DISRPT workshop.


I appreciate everyone who supported, encouraged and inspired me in my life. My friends, family, professors and mentors.

My undergraduate thesis advisor, Prof. Hui Yu (BNU), was the first one who introduced me to academic research. She supported my interest in doing thesis on negative phonetic transfer even though that was peripheral to her research.

Prof. Carolyn Rose (CMU, LTI/HCII), who introduced me to my first HCI/AIED research project on automated writing feedback. Her passion, dedication, efficiency and highly organized way of work hugely impacted me. I appreciate her sincere advice on work and life, and help and support when I need the most.

Prof. Vincent Aleven and Dr. Ken Holstein (CMU HCII) have shown me how devoted and passionate people can be in their work. Doing research with them is like an adventure. I led my first research project (on teacher-guided crowdsourcing) which had transforming influence on me. I felt so inspired, motivated and well-supported working with them, and learned so much more than I can imagine.

As for my current advisors Prof. Edith Law and Prof. Elizabeth Nilsen, their trust and support to us is beyond words, and I especially appreciate them introducing me to this new and interesting area of teachable agent and educational robot.