Themen bei Prof. Fares Kayali


  • A web-based tool for the Sack of Constantinople

    The faculty of Informatics at the University of Vienna is looking for a postgraduate student to work on a project creating an online teaching resource about the sack of Constantinople by the armies of the Fourth Crusade as part of an MA thesis in Informatics under the direction of Univ.-Prof. DI Dr. Fares Kayali.


    Reacting to the Past (RTTP) consists of complex games, set in the past, in which students are assigned roles informed by classic texts in the history of ideas. Class sessions are run entirely by students; instructors advise and guide students and grade their oral and written work. Reacting seeks to draw students into the past, promote engagement with big ideas, and improve intellectual and academic skills.

    The initiative is sustained by the Reacting Consortium, an alliance of colleges and universities that promotes imagination, inquiry, and engagement as foundational features of teaching and learning in higher education. There are currently more than thirty published Reacting to the Past titles, which are available both a physical or ebooks. However there are also hundreds of free-to-play games in development, including more than fifty peer-reviewed games hosted by the the Reacting to the Past Consortium on their website.

    One such game, The Remaking of the Medieval World, 1204: The Fourth Crusade allows students to understand and experience one of the greatest medieval atrocities, the sack of Constantinople by a crusader army, and the subsequent reshaping of the Byzantine Empire. The game includes debates on issues such as "just war" and the nature of crusading, feudalism, trade rights, and the relationship between secular and religious authority. It likewise explores the theological issues at the heart of the East-West Schism and the development of constitutional states in the era of Magna Carta. The game also includes a model siege and sack of Constantinople where individual students’ actions shape the fate of the crusade for everyone. The game has won multiple awards including the 2019 Lone Medievalist Award for Teaching and the 2021 Brilliancy Prize in Reacting.


    The Project:

    One of the game’s stand out features is its model Sack of Constantinople which works as an electronic version of a choose-your-own-adventure where each of the students makes a series of difficult decisions. For the purposes of the sack, the city is divided into five regions. For each region, there are six unique sets of questions for students to be assigned to. Students will each get to choose which region they want to sack, and the first student to choose each region will get assigned the first set of questions for that region, the second to choose the region will get to choose the second, etc. The answers to the questions offer the chance for students to acquire money, fame, and special artifacts which can impact the outcome of the game, but their actions, if they prove especially greedy or violent, can result in the army as a whole acquiring ‘infamy’ which will result in greater local opposition to crusader rule once the sack is complete. The tool must therefore not only record the choices, but the individual and collective outcomes of each decision and provide that information to the instructor as an output of the simulation.

    In its current incarnation, the Sack of Constantinople is run through an unstable Google Form which requires creating new forms for each class, and requires extensive manual calculations by instructors. The authors therefore want a web-based tool that instructors can set up for their students to implement the sack in their classroom. The tool should record the responses and create a final report for the instructor which let them know how the sack played out.

    The Reacting Consortium is willing to host the final tool once the project is complete and will provide any necessary assistance to the applicant.

    The work will be directed by Fares Kayali, in consultation with the authors of the original game John Giebfried of the Department of History at the University of Vienna and Kyle Lincoln of Southeastern Oklahoma State University in the USA. They will provide access to the original Google Form and the paper version of the sack, and will be available for consultation throughout the project. They will also be hosting a playtest of the entire game in April 2023 at the University of Vienna, if candidates would like to experience the game as part of the application process.

  • Learning Modules for Using Digital Music Instruments in STEM Education

    In the Sparkling Instruments projects a method of project-based teaching was developed, where across a series of workshops students built digital music instruments to further music literacy and knowledge in STEM subjects. The thesis is concerned with turning the insights of the project into tangible small learning modules for secondary school teaching.
    This topic requires an interest in or prior experience with didactics and creating learning materials. Knowledge of electronics and digital music making is beneficial. 

    Please contact Prof. Fares Kayali ( and describe why you are interested in the topic and outline your prior experience.More information about the project:

  • Digital Game-based Learning and Long-term Engagement

    Over the last years game-based learning and gamified learning environments have become respected means of teaching, in particular in project- and challenge-based teaching and learning. At the same time it is doubtful how such digital learning experiences can be inclusive for different target audiences (e.g. by addressing all genders) how they can sustain engagement with the learning contents, and what the points are where people disengage from learning with game-based technologies. In this context long-term engagement is of special interest, as many topics require ongoing and repeated work with the learning contents at different levels of abstraction. This master thesis looks at these questions by implementing and evaluating a game-based learning intervention, which addresses these challenges.
    App development and/or game development skills are needed for this thesis.

    Please contact Prof. Fares Kayali ( and describe why you are interested in the topic and outline your prior experience.

  • Digital Tools to further Critical Thinking and Democratic Empowerment among Youth

    Recently, the openness of the Internet has been blamed for the rise of populist, anti-democratic tendencies. It is hard to deny that, as an open medium equally accessible to all, the Internet enables all kinds of hate speech, fake news, conspiracy theories and manipulative writing. Most famously, the filter bubble phenomenon is said to have had massive impact on recent democratic decisions like BREXIT and the US presidential election. The main question this thesis (and for society and science) is: How can we use a free and open Internet to counteract these tendencies? How can the Internet be used to promote more self-reflective, critical engagement and support democracy, transparency and equal rights for everybody, instead of hampering and restricting these ideas? This thesis’ goal is to explore digital tools and strategies that use the unique structure of the Internet to further youths’ critical reflection and thus advance openness and promote democracy in order to counter narrow-minded, authoritarian and segregative tendencies in society.

    Please contact Prof. Fares Kayali ( and describe why you are interested in the topic and outline your prior experience.

  • Digitale Kompetenzen und Zukunftskompetenzen - Eine Bottum-up Studie

    Welche (digitalen) Kompetenzen werden von jungen Menschen als zentral für die Gestaltung einer nachhaltigen Zukunft erachtet?
    In einer qualitativen, spekulativen Studie mit Methoden wie Participatory Design, Co-Design, Future Workshops, u.a. erarbeiten sie in einem bottom-up Zugang Kompetenzen und Kompetenzmodelle, welches Wissen und Fähigkeiten jungen Menschen vermittelt werden müssen, um an der Gestaltung einer n nachhaltigen Zukunft in Bereichen wie Ökologie, Digitalisierung und Demokratie aktiv teilhaben zu können. 

    Bitte kontaktieren Sie ( und beschreiben Sie kurz warum Sie sich für das Thema interessieren und welche Vorerfahrungen Sie mit bringen.

  • Didaktische Konzepte für Game-based Learning im Bereich Computational Thinking

    Digitale Spiele sind in den letzten Jahren zum Massenphänomen geworden und prägen unsere Wirklichkeit.

    Durch eine Kooperation mit dem ZLB und Nintendo stehen 20 Nintendo Switch-Konsolen für den Einsatz an Schulen, in der universitären Lehre und in der Lehrer*innenfortbildung (Pädagogische Hochschule Wien und Oberösterreich) zur Verfügung. Der Koffer kann von allen Interessierten ausgeborgt werden! DGBL-Einheiten lassen sich damit umsetzen und wissenschaftlich auswerten. Die Arbeit soll die Nutzung dieses “GameLab-Koffers” für den Themenbereich “Computational Thinking” umsetzen. Es werden didaktische Szenarien für den Einsatz kommerzieller Spiele zur Vermittlung von Computational Thinking gestaltet, erprobt und validiert.

    Bitte kontaktieren Sie ( und beschreiben Sie kurz warum Sie sich für das Thema interessieren und welche Vorerfahrungen Sie mit bringen.