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Top Hat - Getting Started

This document is meant to brief people new to Top Hat, and provide necessary training resources. For a brief overview of Top Hat, see Top Hat - Overview (UW-Madison)

Top Hat Classroom provides a student response system (SRS) that allows you to interact with your students in real-time, through questions, polls, quizzes, and text-based (i.e. SMS) responses. Top Hat is a bring-your-own-device solution, which means students can use any web-enabled device (laptop, tablets, smartphones) to participate. Top Hat cleanly integrates with Canvas, syncing rosters and gradebooks.

Instructor Considerations

  • Top Hat offers a large range of functionality which you can use in many different ways in your course. Due to this versatility the Learn@UW Team recommends you meet with a consultant and/or a Top Hat representative before using the tool. They will aid you in getting the most out of the tool for your use case. You can always call the DoIT Help Desk and ask to meet with a consultant or contact your local support services.

  • Top Hat is a Bring Your Own Device model, students can only use it if they have a laptop, tablet or cellphone

  • Top Hat integrates with Canvas and allows for syncing of grades, rosters, and assignments.

Using Top Hat for the First Time

Set up your Account

Top Hat - Account Setup (Instructors) (UW-Madison)

Top Hat - Account Setup (Students)

Get Support

If you have questions or are having technical difficulty with Top Hat, please contact them at their Success Center or by phone at (888) 663-5491.

Tool Functionality

Basic Functionality

  • Top Hat allows instructors to ask students questions in real time: whether for polling and/or quizzing. 

    • Question types include: 

      • Multiple Choice

      • Word Answer 

      • Fill In The Blank

      • Numeric Answer 

      • Matching 

      • Click on Target

      • Sorting

      • Long Answer

      • For more information on the Top Hat Question types please see this document

Note: there are additional question types (such as Video and LaTeX) available in Beta.

  • Top Hat allows instructors to take attendance and assign a grade value to that  attendance if desired. Additionally, Top Hat has an optional geolocation feature that can be enabled for attendance that will allow only those in the physical classroom space to mark themselves present.

  • The Top Hat-Canvas integration allows instructors to easily send any grades students earn in Top Hat questions and content to the Canvas gradebook. The Top Hat-Canvas integration also allows for automatic syncing and the ability to create Top Hat assignments in Canvas. See Top Hat - Syncing Grades and Rosters with Canvas (LTI 1.3) for more information on the Top Hat-Canvas integration.

Advanced Functionality

  • Top Hat is also a content authoring platform that allows instructors to create interactive content such as built-in quizzes, self-checks, interactive images, video, audio, etc. (Note: Top Hat does not currently have an integration with Kaltura.)

    • Instructors can link, but not embed, this content in Canvas.

    • Any points assigned can be pushed to the Canvas gradebook.

  • Instructors can also upload PowerPoint presentations to Canvas and add interactive features to those presentations.

    • Top Hat can also ingest PDFs, though those PDFs cannot be edited once within Top Hat. 

    • Instructors can assign content such as PowerPoint presentations for students to review. 

  • Students can take notes and highlight content in Top Hat.

  • Top Hat has learning analytics data for student interactions within its platform.

Additional Training Resources

Best Practices and Use Cases


  • Top Hat is available at no cost to UW-Madison students, staff and faculty.

Keywords:th training get start crash course response system tophat   Doc ID:119936
Owner:Learn@UW Madison .Group:Learn@UW-Madison
Created:2022-07-27 10:36 CDTUpdated:2022-09-30 12:22 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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