Top Hat

Top Hat
Use TopHat so ALL your students engage with the questions you ask. TopHat is paid for by Arts through the end of 2017.


Classroom response systems like TopHat get all students thinking and responding in class. Contact us now at to take advantage of our current pilot (until December 2017); we’ll help you set up your course.

How does Top Hat Work?

Top Hat is a web-based classroom response system used chiefly for engaging students with the instructor’s prompts. It is used to allow students to respond and for instructors to assess students’ understanding. It offers the convenience of web and mobile accessibility. Top Hat also lets instructors track attendance, annotate slides, ask questions in a variety of ways, and have discussions involving ALL students. Instructors are able to gauge students’ understanding in real time when students respond to multiple choice, numerical, textual, or graphical questions. The discussions feature allows students to voice their opinions publicly or anonymously, and receive peer feedback through likes or comments. The analytics feature offers statistical visualization of student and class-wide performance.



Upload your Powerpoint and pose a variety of questions types.


Students brainstorm and respond on their personal devices.


Have groups discuss questions in class.

View Performance

See and record results instantly!


How are UBC Arts Instructors using Top Hat?

  • Transition seamlessly between tasks. Take attendance, ask a question, create a discussion, manage and annotate your PowerPoint slides with no time lost in between. Instructors can use their iPad and annotate their slides while walking around the classroom.
  • Manage the class. Use Top Hat to manage tedious administrative tasks. For example, when students are required to do pre-readings, they can take an Individual Readiness Assurance Test (IRAT) using Top Hat. This helps instructors find out which students have done their readings and how prepared they are for a team based discussion.
  • Class Participation. Top Hat makes class participation easy and engaging for students. Students can participate in a live discussion to comment on other student’s responses.
  • Experiential learning. Instructors enhance slideshows by using interactive texts which allow for a variety of media such as videos and images to guide student self-learning. Top Hat’s interactive exercises allows for a hands on learning experience.

How Can Top Hat Help Me?

Top Hat makes a lecture feel less like a lecture. Students stay engaged, think, and respond. Instructors have the ability to upload the class slides, present, annotate them, and enable student to view the slides in real-time on their personal devices.

TopHat turns a powerpoint show into interactive learning content, increasing students’ engagement with the course. For example, instructors are able to integrate a wide range of questions and response types, midway through a lecture, to capture students’ understanding in real time. These questions include images, graphical and text responses, as well as a discussion feature which offers students the ability and flexibility to voice their opinions with their peers in a large size classroom. The diverse range of inputs allows instructors to implement classroom response activities that go beyond multiple choice questions.

Top Hat’s analytical features provide instructors statistical and visual insights on students’ performance, which allow instructors’ to gauge students’ understanding and learning progress.


  • FREE for Faculty Arts for 2017 Year (Jan – Dec 2017)
  • Provides opportunity for instructors to customize their own lecture experience to suit the course and students’ needs
  • Allows students to use their personal devices (e.g. phones and laptops) to answer questions
  • Allows for flexible discussion in a large classroom setting, where students have the opportunity to be anonymous, and provide feedbacks to responses via likes and comments
  • Strong web based analytics and insights to help instructors improve questions, identify points of misconception, and track students’ performance
  • Allows for more open ended questions and inputs, such as drawing graphs or uploading pictures. Some instructors use this as a way to submit in class group work done on worksheets (take a picture and submit).
  • Offers its own full-featured gradebook to allow instructors to make changes without the need to export


  • Since UBC does not have a site license for Top Hat, once the free trial period ends (Dec 2017), students may have to pay for an annual subscription.
  • Students are required to have their own device with them in class to be able to participate. Refer students to UBC Learning Commons to sign-out a laptop as equipment is available on a first-come, first-served basis.


  • When using Top Hat, the best results occur when use is consistent and frequent. Typically, at least 2 questions per lecture and 1 interactive demonstration every 2-3 lectures.
  • To check students’ comprehension after class, assign homework through Top Hat or ask questions assessing student’s comprehension. Some questions may include: What questions did you have about today’s lecture? What was the main point you learned today?
  • If students are not able to access the app through their phone or computer, they can send text messages to a Top Hat number the professor provides in class.
  • See student responses in real time. Use a timer to show students how much time is left to respond and to display the percentage of students who have responded.
  • Use the Quick-add feature to add quickly generate a new question during a presentation. This feature is useful if you have a PowerPoint slide with questions displayed.

Getting Started

Top Hat Access Code Request Form

If you are interested in using Top Hat for your course(s), we are offering a FREE pilot for Faculty of Arts courses that are starting in January 2017 to December 2017 (2017 Spring, 2017 Summer, 2017 Fall).

Note: This access request form is available for faculty members or staff only. Should you require an access code as a student, please reach out to your instructors. We cannot respond to any requests made by students.

  • Please use the following format:
    Session CodeNumber - Section (Maximum Student Enrollment)
Discuss ideas and options with the Arts Learning Centre Drop by the Arts Learning Centre for a chat in Buchanan C105A
Email Arts ISIT Helpdesk Contact ArtsISIT for assistance or a demonstration!
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Instructor Resources

Quick Start Guide
Creating An Account

Student Resources

Student Support