Dull presentations are (still) evil:

Flexible anywhere polling tools for dynamic teaching

Boring presentations are unfortunately the norm, rather than the exception, in higher education. Active learning tools embedded into presentations are an excellent way to engage with students. In this talk, Dr. Sparks describes how TurningPoint’s anywhere polling can be used to create more flexible and dynamic teaching environments. He also describes best practices from his experience in preparing anywhere polling questions for several courses, both large and small, and goes over specific examples that illustrate the flexibility of this tool for concept checking, quizzes, group projects, course feedback and worked examples.


Dr. Taylor Sparks joined the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Utah as an assistant professor in 2013. He is originally from Utah and an alumnus of the department where he now teaches.

Before graduate school he worked at Ceramatec Inc. on geopolymers, reaction bonded ceramics and fuel cell insulation. He did his M.S. in Materials at UCSB and his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Harvard University in David Clarke’s laboratory, and then did a postdoc with Ram Seshadri in the Materials Research Laboratory at UCSB.

Taylor Sparks

Dr. Taylor Sparks

Assistant Professor, Materials Science & Engineering, University of Utah

He is currently the director of the Materials Characterization Lab at the University of Utah and teaches classes on ceramics, materials science, characterization and technology commercialization. His current research centers on the discovery, synthesis, characterization and properties of new materials for energy applications. He is a pioneer in the emerging field of materials informatics whereby big data, data mining and machine learning are leveraged to solve challenges in materials science.