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Dr Su White

Academic Staff


Su White is an associate professor who researches in the Web and Internet Science Group within Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton.She supervises a broad group of PhD students interested in MOOCs and Learning, and is the co-director of the MOOC Observatory co-located in WAIS and the University's Institute for Learning Innovation and Development (ILIaD). The MOOC Observatory maintains a large, and growing open MOOC citation list in Mendeley and curates Grey Literature and Web sources for this fast moving area via a ScoopIt collection. The group have a growing pubication list based on their own research, and there is a large body of work in progress incorporating stakeholder analyses, blended MOOCs, learning analytics, educational modelling, digital literacies and personal learning. The group has hosted a number of visiting academics and welcome collaboration of this kind. 

As well as focussing on MOOCs, Su's research interests encompass associated Web Science and Education agendas of Digiital Literacies, Learning in a Connected World, Open Data for Education and perspectives on STEM Education and Web Science Curriculum. She is always interested in project proposals in this area from PhD, Masters and Undergraduate students.  

This research activities reflect the emerging web science agendas where one can consider MOOCs being an evident embodiment of Web Science in education. Recent publications have addressed the web science curriculum, semantic technologies, open data and open repositories. She teaches research methods within the Web Science doctoral consortium and is an active member of the Web Science curriculum development community.  She is also part of the team developing the use and functionality of the Southampton Learning Environment and Southampton’s EdShare educational repository.

Su began researching the intersection of institutional change and innovation in the early 1990s. She has published extensively addressing institutional change, the educational use of technology for learning, and educational and curriculum innovations.

Previously a senior member of the Learning Societies Lab, Su has considerable experience of TEL projects, particularly from an institutional change perspective (the subject of her PhD thesis). Su has been PI or a major contributor to the educational development, evaluation and dissemination activities to a number UK funded TEL projects. Sue has served on the steering group of a range of such projects at other institutions. Latterly her focus in that area turned to the evolution of personal learning environments and was co-chair of the 2nd International PLE conference PLE_SOU hosted in Southampton. Until its dissolution in 2011 Su was a member of the UK JISC Infrastructure and Resources Committee.

As a firm feminist who supports equality of opportunity of all sorts, Su activily supports and promotes the equality and diversity agenda across the University. She is a member of the  WISET committee and has been instrumental in establishing and supporting ECS Women and the ECS Student Society. She is leading the submission of an Athena Swan submission for a Silver Charter for ECS in November 2015. Students interested in researching this important area are invited to discuss proposals for work at Phd, Masters and Undergraduate level as sudents and as interns. 

Su works with colleagues across the university and the faculty on educational enhancement agendas where she works collaboratively with colleagues to introduce and sustain educational innovations. Su has been an Institutional Auditor and Subject Reviewer for the UK Quality Assurance Agency and is a member of the CPHC-LDG (Conference of Professors and Heads of Computing Learning Development Group). Su’s special educational interests include emergent technologies and pedagogies, disciplinary differences, assessment methodologies and the relationship between teaching and research. In 2005 Su was one of the recipients of the University of Southampton’s Vice Chancellor’s Teaching Awards for work developing approaches research-led learning in Computer Science. In 2003 Su established the ECS wide JumpStart induction programme for new undergraduates.

Su was a member of the Advisory Board for the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for Information and Computer Science (HEA-ICS) and is also one of their regional academic advisors, responsible for the South of England. She has been based in Southampton since 1993 when she became manager of the Interactive Learning Centre and led a university wide project developing an institutional approach to the use of computer based learning resources (TLTP Scholar Project).  Subsequently she worked for the UK Teaching and Learning Technology Support Network (TLTSN) and was project co-ordinator for the national Electrical and Electronic Assessment Network (

Su White obtained her PhD at Southampton, and has previous lives as a journalist and computer programmer. Su has a first degree in the social sciences from the London School of Economics and post-graduate qualifications in Computer Science and Education from the University of London. She has also qualified as a Master Practitioner in NLP and as a Running Coach.  Those who know her would also say she likes cycling and cats.


Research interests

Web Science, Educational Innovations including MOOCs, Digital Literacies and STEM Education



CORAL: Creating Opportunities for Research and Learning
TOPS: Teaching Over Performing Students
Southern Perspectives: HEA-ICS Consultant for South of England
FDTL 53/99 e3an Electrical and Electronic Engineering Assessment Network



PhD, BSc(Econ), PGCE, PGDip Computer Science,

Professional activities

External examiner University of Durham

External examiner University of Sunderland

External Examiner St Andrews University


Advisory board member ILIaD Strategy and Horizon Scanning - Learning and Teaching Co-ordinator ECS, Jumpstart co-leader, part of the Southampton Learning Environment Team, Senior Tutor, Engineering and Science Foundation Year. 


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