Professor of Computer Science


Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin

Field of Specialty

Computer-supported communication, cooperation, and collaboration. Learning and technology. Cognitive engineering and modeling. Human Computer Interaction. Communication and discourse. Internet & Society.

Contact Information

Volen National Center for Complex Systems 212

Rick Alterman

I am a professor of Computer Science at Brandeis University with affiliations in Psychology and the Volen National Center for Complex Systems. My research is interdisciplinary with a strong computational basis. Early in my career my primary focus was in artificial intelligence and cognitive modeling. Currently my lab is doing research on educational technology and collaborative learning. There is also a project on skill acquisition and training in the use of application software. The research framework of my lab uses a mix of methods from different fields. I am a long time member of the Cognitive Science community, which is my core community. I am on the editorial board of the International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. The common theoretical themes of my research are planning and activity, communication, and collaboration.


Alterman, Richard and Harsch, Kendall. "A More Reflective Form of Joint Problem Solving.." International Journal of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning In Press. (2017).

Alterman, Richard and Kendall Harsch. Collaborative and Individual Learning : Mixing the two. Proc. of Seventh International Conference on Computer Supported Education. Lisbon, Portugal: 2015.

Gunnarsson, Bjorn Levi and Alterman, Richard. "Peer promotions as a method to identify quality content." Journal of Learning Analytics 1. 2 (2014): 126-150.

Alterman, Richard and Gunnarsson, Bjorn. The blogosphere as representational space. Proc. of 10th International Conference of Computer Supported Cooperative Learning (CSCL2013). Madison, WI: 2013.

Alterman, Richard and Larussoson, Johann. "Participation and common knowledge in a case study of student blogging." International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 8. 2 (2013): 149-187.

Gunnarsson, Bjorn and Alterman, Richard. Understanding promotions in a case study of student blogging. Proc. of Third International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK 2013). Leuven, Belgium: 2013.

Gunnarsson, Bjorn and Alterman, Richard. Predicting failure: A case study in co-blogging. Proc. of LAC 2012 (Learning Analytics Conference). Vancouver, Canada: 2012.

Alterman, Richard & Larusson, Johann. Students producing thick descriptions. Proc. of Proceedings of 9th International Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Learning. Hong Kong: 2011.

Alterman, Richard and Larusson, Johann. "Collaborative sensemaking in the blogosphere." Proceedings of 32nd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2010.

Alterman, Richard and Larusson, J.. Modeling Participation within a Community. Proc. of 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. 2009.

Larusson, J. and Alterman, Richard. Visualizing Student Activity in a Wiki-mediated Co-blogging Exercise. Proc. of Proceedings of Computer Human Interaction. 2009.

Larusson, Johan. and Alterman, Richard. "Wiki environments for learning." Wired for Learning: An educators guide to Web 2.0. Ed. Kidd, T. and Chen, I., 2009. 137-153.

Larusson, Johann and Alterman, Richard. "Wikis to support the "collaborative part" of collaborative learning." Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning 4. 4 (2009): 371-402.

Alterman, Richard. "Activity and Convention." Topoi: An International Review of Philosophy 27. (2008): 127-138.

Krisler, Brian & Alterman, Richard. Training towards mastery. Proc. of NordiChi. 2008.

Alterman, Richard & Larusson, J.. Technology in a Context: Enabling students to collaboratively participate at the interface of computation and social science.. Proc. of Proceedings of Computer Supported Coopertative Learning. 2007.

Alterman, Richard. "Representation, Interaction, and Intersubjectivity." Cognitive Science 35. 5 (2007): 815-841.

Larusson, J. & Alterman, Richard. Tracking online collaborative work as representational practice: Analysis and tool.. Proc. of Proceedings of the Third Communities and Technologies Conference. Springer-Verlag, 2007.

Introne, Joshua & Alterman, Richard. "Structuring Coordination to Provide Intelligent Assistance in Groupware." User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction 16. 3:4 (2006): 249-280.

Taneva, Svetlena, Alterman, Richard, and Hickey, Timothy. Collaborative Learning; Collaborative Depth. Proc. of 27th Annual Cognitive Science Society. 2005.

Alterman, Richard & Garland, A.. "Autonomous Agents that Learn to Better Coordinate." Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 8. 3 (2004): 267-301.

Alterman, Richard & Kirsh, David, ed. Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2003.

Feinman, Alex & Alterman, Richard. Discourse Analysis Techniques for Modeling Group Interaction.. Proc. of Ninth International Conference on User Modeling. 2003.

Alterman, Richard & Garland, Andrew. "Convention in Joint Activity." Cognitive Science 25. 4 (2001): 611-657.

Courses Taught

COSI 111a Topics in Computational Cognitive Science
COSI 118a Computer-Supported Cooperation
COSI 125a Human-Computer Interaction
COSI 133b Internet and Society
COSI 215a Advanced Topics in Computer Supported Cooperation