Dr David Roberts PhD in International Peacebuilding; BA (Hons.) International Relations and Politics
Senior Lecturer of International Relations
David Roberts studied undergraduate International Relations and Politics with an emphasis on the developing world. Inspired by a tutor, he undertook and completed a PhD on peacebuilding in Cambodia, at the time of biggest ever post-Cold War United Nations peacekeeping operation. His research centred on why the Khmer Rouge guerrillas refused to participate in the peacebuilding operation, and he followed his thesis up by locating and interviewing senior Khmer Rouge officers in hiding in northwestern Cambodia. He also worked on research programmes in Viet Nam, Sierra Leone and South Sudan. A central leitmotif of his work has been the study of power and oppression, informed intellectually by the likes of Foucault and critical and radical feminists like Spivak and hooks from the global north and south.
After 25 years of research-informed teaching deriving from fieldwork in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, David has turned his attention to teaching-informed research in multimedia learning and visual pedagogies. David presently teaches specialist modules and courses on business entrepreneurship in postconflict spaces and on visual communication. He was appointed Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2017 and runs a consultancy that supports multimedia learning development and training in universities in the UK, Europe and US.
David’s present research interests in pedagogy retain their emphasis on power. Informed by the likes of Freire, his work concerns hegemonic teaching practices that are misaligned with scientifically-demonstrable best practice. David is presently researching more effective methods of large group teaching, based on the time-honoured principle that a ‘picture paints a thousand words’. He is pioneering a radical transformation of mainstream teaching platforms like PowerPoint and Prezi so they no longer privilege text in the midst of the most visual era of human evolution. Using multimedia learning (MML) methods and theory, David has developed a cognitive form of image-and-text-based visual lecturing that increases student engagement and active learning by between 40% and 80%. The method is also empirically shown to increase engagement for dyslexic student by between 60% and 100%. It is known as an antidote to ‘Death by PowerPoint’. His work has been publicly endorsed by the Higher Education Academy and presented as a TEDx talk. Some of his recent publications appear here.
Roberts, D (2017). Higher education lectures: From passive to active learning via imagery