Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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Dr. Tobias Thelen

Dr. Tobias Thelen (Foto: Leon Sütfeld)

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter / Senior Lecturer


LinkedIn: Tobias Thelen

Telefon: +49 541 969-6502

Raum 50/302, 42/107, 94/E04

Institute für Kognitionswissenschaft,
Wachsbleiche 27,
49090 Osnabrück,

Research Interests

I'm interested in education with and about Artificial Intelligence. Being able to learn is a real human experience and can be a powerful experience of self-effectiveness and a driving force for individual development. But learning is also challenging, at times demotivating, or even frustrating. Teaching often appears as an attempt to push people into standardized patterns. I believe that AI can provide practical tools to empower people to take control of their learning development and pursue individual educational goals. I try to conceptualize, build and evaluate such tools.

AI provides a robust set of tools for unseen computational achievements, a misleadingly named field of technological development and research, and a hype marketing term at the same time. Demystifying AI and bringing necessary conceptual knowledge and judgment skills to our students and the general public is, in my view, essential for us to be able to benefit from it on a broad societal level. Therefore, I'm always interested in exploring new ways of learning about AI as a holistic phenomenon ranging from technological aspects and the role of data to societal implications.

Outside of the institute of cognitive science, I develop tools, processes, and didactic models for supporting higher education with technology. I strongly believe in Open Source software development communities and I am convinced that universities should work together to develop and evaluate their set of innovative tools and methods instead of being depended from edtech industry dynamics and market development.


Winter Term 2022/2023

  • Seminar "Peer Development of Language Training Tools" (8 ECTS, AI Module / Interdisciplinary course)
  • Seminar "Learning about AI" (8 ECTS, AI Module / Interdisciplinary course)
  • Seminar "Schreiben im Französisch- und Spanischunterricht" (4 ECTS, AI Module / Interdisciplinary course)

Summer Term 2022 (current semester)

  • Lecture and Practice "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Logic Programming"
  • Study Project and accompanying seminar "AI support for remote learning in higher education scenarios" (Part 2)

Winter Term 2021/2022

  • Seminar "AI in education"
  • Study Project and accompanying seminar "AI support for remote learning in higher education scenarios" (Part 1)
  • Study Project and accompanying seminar  "Adaptive Language Learning with AI-assisted Conversational Agents" (Part 4)
  • Two topics of ring lecture "Ringvorlesung Medienbildung" (Teacher Education)


As principal investigator (PI)

  • Digitales Lernen Leben (UOS.DLL, funded by Stiftung Innovation in der Hochschullehre, 2021-2024)
  • Archiving Residential Children's Homes (ARCH, funded by DFG, 2021-2024)
  • Osnabrück Cognitive Science Online Master Studies (OS-COSMOS, funded by DAAD, 2021-2022)
  • Study individualization with digital data-driven assistants (SIDDATA, funded by BMBF, 2018-2022)
  • Cross Modal, Cross Cultural, Cross Lingual, Cross Domain, and Cross Site Global OER Network (X5GON, fundey by EU, 2017-2020)
  • Pilotprojekt zur Einzelerfassung der Nutzung von Texten nach § 52a UrhG (funded by Kultusministerkonferenz 2015-2016)
  • Establishing the Fraunhofer workgroup "Intelligent Media and Learning" (funded by MWK, 2010-2014)

As project partner or researcher (selection)

  • Digitalisierung sicher gestalten (funded by MWK, 2022)
  • Anschub für digitales Lehren und Lernen (BOOST.DLL, funded by MWK, 2022)
  • eCompetencies and Utilities for Learners and Teacher (eCult/eCult+, funded by BMBF, 2010-2020)
  • ELAN-Pilot Oldenburg-Osnabrück (epolos, 2002-2009)
  • Computerbasierte Modellierung orthographischer Prozesse (1998-2000)


1992 - 1998 Magister Artium in Computational Linguistics & Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science and Philosophy at Osnabrück University

1998 - 2001 Research Assistent at the Institute for Semantic Information Processing, Osnabrück University

since 2002 Center for Digital Teaching, Campus Management and Higher Education Didactics, current position: Deputy Managing Director and Head of Digital Techning department

2009 Ph.D. in in Computational Linguistics & Artificial Intelligence at Osnabrück University

2010 - 2014 Project manager and workgroup leader at Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems, St. Augusti/Osnabrück

2010 - 2018 Senior Lecturer at the Institute for Computer Science, Osnabrück University

since 2018 Senior Lecturer at the Insitute for Cognitive Science, Osnabrück University