Gerry Stahl

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Gerry Stahl
File:Stahl icce keynote.jpg
Gerry Stahl keynote at ICCE 2009 in Hong Kong
Born March 16, 1945
Wilmington, DE, USA

Gerry Stahl is emeritus professor of computing and informatics at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, USA. He is a researcher in the field of Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) and the Learning Sciences. He has taught, designed, analyzed and theorized about learning with technology in small groups. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning. He directed the Virtual Math Teams (VMT) research project at the Math Forum from 2003-2014 and published four books and many articles analyzing project data. From these findings, he developed the postcognitive theory of group cognition.


Gerry Stahl was born in Wilmington, DE on March 16, 1945. He grew up outside of Philadelphia, in the town of Trevose, Bensalem township, Pennsylvania, USA.[1]

He lives with his wife, Carol Bliss, in Philadelphia (soon to be in Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod). He has two sons, Zake and Rusty. Zake is married to KimLou and they have a daughter, Nastasja. Rusty is married to Sarah and they are expecting a daughter.


Stahl studied philosophy and mathematics at MIT (1963-1967), where he also took courses from Marvin Minsky, Samuel Todes, Hubert Dreyfus and Noam Chomsky, and became active in the New Left. He studied continental philosophy and social theory at Heidelberg, Northwestern and Frankfurt Universities (1968-1973), writing a dissertation on Marx and Heidegger. Later, he studied computer science and cognitive science at the University of Colorado (1989-1993), developing the Hermes system for design rationale and writing a dissertation on tacit knowledge.


Stahl worked during the 1970s as a computer programmer and systems analyst at Temple University and Northwestern University on the CDC 6400, the largest mainframe computer operating system of its day.[2] He was active in organizing the AFSCME union at Temple University's computer center. Later, he was a community organizer in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia and then neighborhood planner at the Southwest Germantown Community Development Corporation, raising many grants for the neighborhood credit union, energy conservation agency, youth jobs program, commercial development and housing rehab. After conducting research for the Center for the Study of Civic Values, he founded and ran the Community Computerization Project to help non-profit organizations computerize when personal computers became available in the 1980s.[3]

He was a computer science PhD student, post-doc, researcher and research professor at the University of Colorado in Boulder (1989-2001). For a year, he was a visiting scientist in the CSCW department at the Fraunhofer Institute near Bonn, Germany (2001-2002). He then became a tenured associate professor and full research professor at Drexel University (2002-2014), in the College of Computing and Informatics.

Academic career

Stahl taught courses on software design: HCI, CSCW, CSCL. He directed the Virtual Math Teams (VMT) Project at the Math Forum, funded by nine federal grants totaling about six million dollars. He presented and/or published about three hundred fifty conference papers, journal articles, book chapters and talks. He was program chair of CSCL 2002 (Boulder) and program co-chair of CSCL 2011 (Hong Kong), and helped organize many other conferences. He developed the theory of group cognition and analyzed empirical data to support and elaborate the theory, primarily through the VMT Project.


Stahl’s major published books include:

  • Group Cognition: Computer Support for Building Collaborative Knowledge (MIT Press, 2006) [4]
  • Studying Virtual Math Teams (Springer, 2009) [5]
  • Translating Euclid: Designing a Human-Centered Mathematics (Morgan & Claypool, 2013) [6]
  • Constructing Dynamic Triangles Together: The Development of Mathematical Group Cognition (Cambridge University Press, 2016) [7]

His collected writings are available in 18 volumes, including these books. They are described and available at his eLibrary.[8]


  2. Stahl, G. (2009). A career in informatics. Unpublished manuscript. Web:
  3. Stahl, G. (2009). Catch.Up.Me. Unpublished manuscript. Web:
  4. Stahl, G. (2006) Group Cognition: Computer Support for Building Collaborative Knowledge. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  5. Stahl, G. (2009) Studying Virtual Math Teams. New York, NY: Springer
  6. Stahl, G. (2013) Translating Euclid: Designing a Human-Centered Mathematics. Morgan & Claypool
  7. Stahl, G. (2016) Constructing Dynamic Triangles Together: The Development of Mathematical Group Cognition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press

External links