Amna Liaqat

PhD Student | Computer Science | University of Toronto


I am a senior PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Toronto. My primary research lab is TAGlab , where I am supervised by Dr. Cosmin Munteanu . My research investigates building tools that help us learn more effectively to reach our goals. I focus primarily on "in-the-wild" contexts where learning takes place outside of the classroom, such as picking up a new hobby.

I am fascinated by creativity because it is one of the most challenging "skills" to learn. There are many conflicting and diverse beliefs on what creativity is, and whether it is even an acquirable skill. My PhD thesis investigates the role of creativity in in-the-wild learning, and how technology mediation can support the learning process, whether through social collaboration, AI-based support, or novel modes of interaction.

My Master's degree was also completed under the supervision of Dr. Cosmin Munteanu. In my thesis, I developed a framework for understanding the needs and motivations of new immmigrants learning to write in English. Working directly with my participants, I developed, deployed, an evaluated a tool that provided timely feedback to English language learners by leveraging peer-support.

More generally, I am interested in how we can cross traditional disciplinary domains to create tools grounded in real-world contexts. Accross academia and industry, I have worked in the fields of computer science, education, business, and health. I am always seeking new opportunities, new domains, new methods, and new ways of thinking to create novel solutions for complex learning activites.

Research Philosophy

My research methodology is guided by four major ideas, which are reflected in my work.

Human Centered

People always at the center. Use ethnographies, Participatory Design, and Contextual Inquiries to guide technology development.

Ground in Theory

Support design decisions. Ground motivation in theory like educational frameworks and psychosocial models.

Iterate Over Solutions

Identify technology shortcomings. Sustainable solutions require multiple rounds of refinement.

Integrate Domains

Don't duplicate prior work. Respectfully integrate research traditions from other domains.



PhD Computer Science

2018 - Present

University of Toronto

Proposed Thesis Topic: Tools for Supporting Creative Learning with Marginalized Populations

Supervisor: Dr. Cosmin Munteanu

Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. Joseph Jay Williams , Dr. Negin Dahya , Dr. Ishtiaque Ahmed

Master of Computer Science

2016 - 2018

University of Toronto

Thesis Title: Design Requirements for a Tool to Support the Writing Development of Mature ELLs

Supervisor: Dr. Cosmin Munteanu

Supervisory Committee Members: Dr. Mathew Zaleski

Bachelor of Business Administration with a Joint Major in Computer Science

2013 - 2016

Simon Fraser University

Graduation with Distinction


Resilience at the crossroads: a techno-feminist approach to intergenerational culture preservation through social storytelling and sense-making within displaced populations

2020 - 2022

New Frontiers in Research Fund

Toronto COVID-19 Action Fund for #HowsMyFlattening

2020 - 2021

University of Toronto

Scholarships and Awards

Wolfond Scholarship Program in Wireless Information Technology


Nick Cercone Scholarship for AI Research


Ontario Graduate Scholarship


Techno Impact Award


AGE-WELL Drinks and Demo Award


Ontario Graduate Scholarship


AGE-WELL Summer Institute Hackathon Winner


Ontario Graduate Scholarship


Simba Technologies Inc. Scholarship in Computing Science


Canadian Federation of University Women Education Award


Simba Technologies Inc. Scholarship in Computing Science


Scotiabank Scholarship for the Beedie School of Business


SFU Undergraduate Open Scholarship


SFU Entrance Scholarship


Professional Experience

Statistical Consultant

2020 - Present


  • KeyOps is a knowledge exchange platform for physicians and pharmaceutical companies, founded by Dr. Sam Elfassy, Dr. Saeed Darvish-Kazem, and Dr. Ben Fine.
  • Conduct statistical analysis on physician data and survey responses for pharmaceutical companies.
  • Derive appropriate tests and design analysis roadmap from clients' open-ended, exploratory questions.
  • Develop data pipelines to automate data pre-processing and analysis.
  • Use Jupyter Notebook, Python, Numpy, and Scikit-learn to run Twitter social network analysis, driver analysis, regressions, statistical tests, and more.
  • Prepare business reports to communicate insights to non-technical audiences on audience segmentation, client needs, and strategy reccomendations.


2019 - Present


  • Collaborated in interdisciplinary team of six to create Lighthouse, a tool for fostering social connection.
  • Iterated over prototypes, engaged with stakeholders, and conducted market research to move forward with commercialization
  • Won AGE-WELL's 2018 summer hackathon.
  • Won AGE-WELL's 2018 Drinks and Demo Award.

Teaching Assistant

2016 - Present

University of Toronto

  • MGT270: Data Analytics for Management
  • CCT485: User Experience Design
  • CSC300: Computers and Society
  • CSC108: Introduction to programming
  • CCT383: The Interactive Society

Volunteer and Community Leadership

Covid Analytics Hub Team Lead



  • #HowsMyFlattening is a centralized data analytics and visualization hub monitoring Ontario's response to COVID-19.
  • Launched by myself and a small team in the first weeek of the pandemic in Ontario.
  • Lead in the design, development, and implementation of the front-end website.
  • Collaborated with visualization team to produce analytics.
  • Aggregated data from multiple sources to identify insights and trends not available anywhere else.
  • Website averaged over 2000 views a day.
  • Wrote articles in the early days of the pandemic calling for responsive government action. Read here.
  • Grew organization into a large Open Source community
  • Recognized and promoted by Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

Steering Committee Member

2020 - Present

SCWIST (The Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology)

  • SCWIST is Canada's oldest non-profit organization promoting girls and women in STEM.
  • Steering committee member for a recently awarded million dollar federal grant.
  • Provide reccomendations, insights, and engage in discussions with various stakeholders to identify opportunities for increasing SCWIST impact and growing presence in Eastern Canada.

Mentor to Unrepresented Computer Science Students


PRISM (Preparation for Research through Immersion, Skills, and Mentorship)

  • Mentored undergraduate students through the Google-funded PRISM program.
  • Provided advice on graduate school pathways, offered resources, and suggested connections to students historically underpresented in Computer Science.

Invited Guest Mentor


University of Toronto TRP (Translational Research Program)

  • Entrepreneur client and mentor for students’ case studies in semester long course.
  • Guided team in performing market research and developing commercialization plans.

Technical Skills

Statistics | Jupyter Notebook | Python | Data Science (NumPy, Pandas, Scikit-learn)Expertise
Angular | Python APIs | MongoDB | Adobe Photoshop and AfterEffects Confident
Java | C | C++ Learning


Conference and Journal Papers

Participatory Design for Intergenerational Culture Exchange in Immigrant Families: How Collaborative Narration and Creation Fosters Democratic Engagement

Liaqat, A., Axtell, B., & Munteanu, C. ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW '21). ACM.

Link to Paper

Involving Mature English Language Learners’: Design Guidance for Combining Peer and Automated Feedback to Support Writing Development

Liaqat, A., Munteanu, C., & Demmans Epp, C. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education (IJAIED)

Link to Paper

Leveraging Peer Support for Mature Immigrants Learning to Write in Informal Contexts
Diversity and Inclusion Award

Liaqat, A., & Munteanu, C. 2020 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW '20). ACM, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

Link to Paper

Fine Grained Analysis of Students' Online Discussion Posts

Rakovic, M., Marzouk, Z., Liaqat, A., Winne, P. H., & Nesbit, J. C Computers and Education.

Link to Paper

Mature ELLs’ Perceptions Towards Automated and Peer Writing Feedback

Liaqat, A., Akcayir, G., Demmans Epp, & C., Munteanu, C. In: Pammer-Schindler V., Pérez-Sanagustín M., Drachsler H., Elferink R., Scheffel M. (eds) Transforming Learning with Meaningful Technologies. EC-TEL 2019. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, Cham.

Link to Paper

Towards a Writing Analytics Framework for Adult English Language Learners
Best Short Paper Nominee

Liaqat, A., & Munteanu, C. In Proceedings of the Eight International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK '18). ACM, Sydney, Australia.

Link to Paper

Tracing metacognition by highlighting and tagging to predict recall and transfer

Winne, P. H., Nesbit, J. C., Ram, I., Marzouk, Z., Vytasek, J., Samadi, D., Stewart-Alonso, J. Rakovic, M., Liaqat, A., Lin, M. P-C., Mozaffari, Z., & Savoji, A. P. American Educational Research Association, San Antonio, TX.

What if learning analytics were based on learning science?

Marzouk, Z., Rakovic, M., Liaqat, A., Vytasek, J., Samadi, D., Stewart-Alonso, J., Ram, I., Woloshen, S., Winne, P.H. and Nesbit, J.C. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology

Link to Paper

Book Chapters

Designing for Older Adults: Overcoming Barriers to a Supportive, Safe, and Healthy Retirement

Munteanu, C., Axtell, B., Rafih, H., Liaqat, A.,& Aly, Y. Pension Research Council.

Link to Chapter

Designs for learning analytics to support information problem solving

Winne, P. H., Vytasek, J. M., Patzak, A., Rakovic, M., Marzouk, Z., Pakdaman-Savoji, A., Ram I, Samadi D, Lin MP, Liu A, & Liaqat, A. In Informational Environments (pp. 249-272). Springer, Cham.

Link to Chapter

Workshop Papers and Posters

Hidden Margins: Reflections on Designing with Populations at the Intersection

Liaqat, A., & Munteanu, C. In Companion of the 2021 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CSCW '21). ACM, Yokohama, Japan.

Link to Paper

Social Learning Frameworks for Analyzing Collaboration with Marginalized Learners

Liaqat, A., & Munteanu, C. In Companion of the 2019 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW '19). ACM, Houston, TX, USA.

Link to Paper

Hidden margins: Developing new ways of designing for, and with, older adult immigrants

Liaqat, A., & Munteanu, C. In Companion of the 2019 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '19). ACM, Glasgow, Scotland

Link to Paper

Contextual Inquiry, Participatory Design, and Learning Analytics: An Example

Liaqat, A., Axtell, B., Munteanu, C., & Demmans Epp, C.

Link to Paper

Interactive Writing Analytics

Liaqat, A., Marzouk, Z., Rakovic, M., & Winne, P. H. Workshop on Writing Analytics Literacy at International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge.

Workshops Organized

Designing Interactions for the Ageing Populations – Addressing Global Challenges

Supporting Organizer. In Companion of the 2021 ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CSCW '21). ACM, Yokohama, Japan.

Link to Site


#HowsMyFlattening? Group led by U of T community members creates one-stop shop for COVID-19 data

Amna Liaqat, a PhD candidate in computer science, appreciates the sense of accomplishment she gets from working on the site. “Very often in academia you spend a long time on a problem that can take years to see an effect in the real world,” she says. “Being able to work on a problem that has immediate real-world benefits is very rewarding.” Read more..

CS faculty and students are key contributors to ‘virtual war room’ for Ontario COVID-19 information

Third-year computer science PhD student Amna Liaqat leads the front-end development of the website and has been working closely with designers to create clear, actionable visualizations using the data gathered for the project. An educational technology researcher by training, Liaqat was excited by the prospect of applying her skills to a new challenge. Read more..

We in Ontario are flying blind’ How top minds teamed up to give us the COVID-19 data the province couldn’t

What do you get when you take an engineer-turned-doctor, an epidemiologist, a data geek, an astrophysicist and add in some keen public health students? You get an ambitious, volunteer-driven Ontario think tank that aims to help provincial leaders and the public understand, in real time, if the province is winning or losing the COVID-19 battle. Read more...



University of Toronto - St. George Campus