Dr Shirley Atkinson

Dr Shirley Atkinson

Visiting Research Fellow

School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

Dr Shirley Atkinson can be contacted through arrangement with our Press Office, to speak to the media on these areas of expertise.
  • Web development
  • E-commerce
  • Early years online
  • E-safety
  • Computing at School (CAS)


Dr Shirley Atkinson worked as a software developer from 1992 through to her entrance into the academic world in 2005. She has been teaching software development modules since 2005 and delivers content using C#, Javascript, and Node along with PHP. She leads modules on API Software development, web development and project management   

Shirley became Associate Head of Computing in 2018.

Teaching Responsibilities Programme Manager
  • BSc (Hons) Software Engineering (NSBM)
LecturerDelivering the following modules for both undergraduate and postgraduate students:
  • SOFT166 Programme Introduction and Development Workshops
  • ISAD251 Database Applications Development
  • PRCO204 Integrating Project
  • PRCO304 Computing Project

Ad hoc delivery of privacy and online safety workshops as required.

Other Responsibilities

Regional Coordinator for Computing At School South West Regional Centre, now lead for Regional Delivery Partner for National Computing Centre for Education (NCCS)

Leading Computing At Schools Level 1 Master teachers CPD

Supporting Master Teachers across the South West Region

Previous Responsibilities

Previously Athena SWAN champion for SoCEM

Faculty Culture, Diversity and Inclusion committee member

Faculty Women's Network committee member


Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, SFHEA, 2018

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, FHEA, 2010

Learning and Teaching in Higher Education, LTHE, 2010

Chartered IT Professional, BCS, 2009

Ph.D. "Risk reduction through technological control of personal information", 2008

BSc (Hons) Computing and Informatics - 1st Class, 2003.

Certificate of Professional Development, Learning, Teaching and Assessment: Theory and Practice. GTA Course, University of Plymouth, 2006

Employed by NHS Connecting for Health as Data and Business Analyst working in the NSTS Service Management team with a responsibility for Data Quality. 2003/2004 and 2006/2007.

Employed by K2 Medical Systems as software developer working on Maternity Health systems, 2002 and 2007.

Professional membership

Member of ENISA Awareness Raising Community

BCS Charted IT Professional, 2009

Fellow Higher Education Academy, 2010



Teaching interests

  • Web Technologies
  • Server side programming
  • C#
  • Applied patterns
  • Agile project managment



Research interests

Pedagogy for programming

Supporting CAS Master Teachers in the community 

Early years role models in educating for safe behaviours online

Involved in e-safety for young people with a special focus on peer education.

Protecting individuals online

Privacy within all forms of internet mediated communications

Impact of technology on Domestic Abuse Survivors and Teenagers

Involved in introducing girls to computing and debunking some of the stereotypes surrounding the IT industry

Other research

Dissemination of research to general public through connections with:

Womens Aid Federation, http://www.womensaid.org.uk/, and
Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre, http://www.ceop.gov.uk/.



The role of Visualisation in the study of Computer Programming Alhammad S, Atkinson S, Stuart L, (2016), The Proceedings of the 27th Annual Workshop of the Psychology of Programming Interest Group - PPIG 2016, pp. 5-16, Cambridge, UK, 2016

A Field Study on Linked and Open Data at Datahub.ioHeuss T, Fengel J, Humm B, Harriehausen-Mühlbauer B, Atkinson S, (2016), Proceedings of the Eleventh International Network Conference (INC 2016), Frankfurt, Germany, July 19-21, pp79-84, ISBN: 978-1-84102-410-3

Student Teachers Perceptions of Online Risk.  Wood, R., Atkinson S., 2015, In The International Journal of Technologies in Learning.  Volume 23, Issue 1, 

Online with the under 5’s.  Atkinson, S., Staunton, T., 2013.  In proceedings of the Internet Technologies and Applications Conference, Wrexham, September 2013.  www.ita13.org.

Early Years online, Atkinson S., Staunton T., 2011, EU KidsOnline II Conference, LSE, September, 2011

The Mediation of Online Safeguarding by Primary TraineeTeachers, 2011, Atkinson S., Wood R., EU Kids Online II Conference, LSE,September 2011

Sanders B, Chen V, Zahra D, Dowland PS, Atkinson S, Papadaki M, Furnell SM, (2010) Online Addiction: Privacy Risks in Online Gaming Environments, Proceedings of the International Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems (MEDES), October 26-29, Bangkok, Thailand, 2010

Atkinson S, Furnell SM, Phippen AD, (2009) Securing the next generation: enhancing e-safety awareness among young people, Computer Fraud & Security, Volume 2009, Issue 7, pp13-19 , 2009

Atkinson, S, Furnell, S, Phippen, AD, (2009), Using Peer-education to encourage safe online behaviour, June 2009, LSE Eu Kids Online, http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/EUKidsOnline/Conference%20papers.htm

Atkinson, S, Furnell, S., Phippen, AD, (2009), E-Safety and E-Security: Raising security awareness among young people using peer education.  8th Annual Security Conference, Vegas

Atkinson S., Johnson., C., Phippen, AD, (2007), Improving protection mechanisms by understanding online risk, Information Management and Computer Security, 2007, vol. 15, vol. 5

Wood, R., Atkinson, S., Johnson, C., Phippen, A. (2007) Mobile phones and schools; the development of a taxonomy of risk, In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare and Higher Education, Canada

Atkinson, S. (2007), Technology and the risk to personal safety, Safe: The Domestic Abuse Quarterly, Issue 22, Summer 2007

Atkinson S, Johnson C, Phippen AD, (2007), Limiting Risks To Personal Privacy Using The  Semantic Web, In Proceedings  of the Third Collaborative Research Symposium on Security, E-Learning, Internet and Networking.  

Atkinson S, Johnson C, Phippen AD, (2007), Personal Privacy Threats: ATaxonomy for Risk Assessment.  In Proceedings of Second InternationalConference on Internet Technologies and Applications (accepted and tobe published in September).

Atkinson S, Johnson C, Phippen AD, (2007), Vulnerable Groups and theImpact of Technology Upon Personal Privacy.  In Proceedings of HumanAspects of Information Security and Assurance.

Atkinson S, Johnson C, Phippen AD, (2007), Protecting Society using the Semantic Web, Invited poster presentation to the House of Commons Reception for Early Stage Researchers, www.setforeurope.org.

Atkinson S, Jagodzinski P, Johnson C, Phippen AD, (2006), Semantic Web:A Personal Privacy Perspective, Proceedings of The Internet Society II:Advances in Education, Commerce, & Governance conference, (Ed)Morgan, K., Brebbia, C.A, and Spector, J.M. WIT Press, Southampton, 2006

Atkinson S, Jagodzinski P, Johnson C, Phippen AD, (2006), PersonalPrivacy: Exploitation or Control through Technology, Proceedings of theSixth International Network Conference (INC2006), Plymouth, UK, 11-14July, pp269-276, 2006

Atkinson, S. (2006), Internet Technology - how safe is it?, Safe: The Domestic Abuse Quarterly, Issue 16, Winter 2006



Reports & invited lectures

Invited speaker for Insafe training seminar in Latvia, Feburary 2009

E-Safety Ambassadors - the Interim report for Becta

Internet Safety Awareness Day, University of Plymouth, 16th January 2008. http://www.plymouth.ac.uk/pages/view.asp?page=21593

ICT and Domestic Abuse: A National Perspective. Invited presentation to Stafford County Council, Transnational Conference for IT in conjunction with Stafford Women's Aid. 20th June 2007.

Personal Privacy: I've got nothing to hide! Invited presentation to BCS South West branch, March 2007, www.bcs-southwest.org.uk/presentations.asp

Young People and Modern Technologies: Focusing on the Positives. Invited talk to Trust for the Study of Adolescence, 19 October 2006, Manchester

Uses and Abuses of Technology. Workshops run at the Women's Aid National Conference, Leicester, July 2006.

Other academic activities

Collaboration with Kingston University in researching the role of Mobile Telephones in relation to young people, teacher training and privacy.

Contribtor to Trustguide, www.trustguide.org.uk at DTI funded project by BT/HP.

Additional information

Have held positions of responsibility within the community from contributing to village committees running village events to more wide reaching activities. Was a Local Authority Governor for Denbury Primary School for three years and spent over 20 years as a youth leader volunteering with a National Cooperative Children's charity, The Woodcraft Folk, www.woodcraft.org.uk. 

I have demonstrated responsibility at varying levels: Group nights involving 6 adult volunteers, and 25 young people of varying ages between 6 and 16.  Leader activities also include organising camps, hikes and residential stays at hostels. Had regular responsibility for coordinating food for numbers of up to 3,000 people. Chair of regional Woodcraft Folk committee and have held recent responsibility for coordinating training throughout the South West region; recruitment and line management of regional workers. Also a member of the IT working group with a brief to update and maintain the IT infrastructure of the central part of the organisation.

Currently volunteering in a different capacity to a heritage railway, Talyllyn Railway in mid-wales. Involved in supporting IT infrastructure as well as being a working volunteer supporting the day to day running of the railway where appropriate. 

Enjoying getting to grips with ballroom and latin dancing.


Centre for Cyber Security, Communications and Network Research