Top Hat

Top Hat is an active learning platform that provides instructors with multiple ways to engage students, including online homework and in-class interactive activities and polls. Top Hat is a bring-your-own-device solution, which means that students can use any web-enabled device (laptop, tablets, smartphones) to participate.

Key Features of Top Hat

  • Uses any web-enabled device (laptop, tablet, smartphone)
  • Offers synchronous presentation that allows students to follow content as it is presented in class
  • Can be used to take attendance
  • Supports multiple question types, including click-on-target, word answer and multiple choice
  • Offers SMS and offline mode capability
  • Supports file hosting and upload capability for PowerPoint and other file types
  • Offers real-time analytics
  • Live assessments and auto-graded quizzes that sync with the Canvas Gradebook
  • Offers detailed student performance reports
  • Offers a library of interactive textbooks and ability to author textbooks and materials


Top Hat is integrated with the Canvas learning management system (LMS) so that class rosters and grades can be easily synced between the two. For more information on how Top Hat and Canvas integrate, please see this Knowledge Base document.

Instructional Uses

There are many ways to utilize Top Hat to enhance your instruction. Examples include:

  • In-class quizzing
  • Formative assessment, such as a real-time knowledge check
  • Assessing attitudes, biases and misconceptions using polling capabilities
  • Assessing prior knowledge
  • Taking attendance
  • In-class polling and quizzes that let every student to voice their ideas and questions confidently and deepen discussions
  • Interactive readings and assignments that extend engagement outside of the classroom and allow students to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways
  • Using Top Hat’s content-building functionality to build your own content or adapt author-created content down to individual words or images to keep material relevant to and representative of your students
  • Integrating active learning into lectures and assignments, while collecting valuable insights into the  participation and progress of your students

For more information about how to use Top Hat for instruction, read our “What are the pedagogical uses of a student response system” guide.

Getting Started

To get started using Top Hat, sign up and create an account at You can log in using your UW-Madison NetID. For instructions, please see the Learn@UW-Madison Top Hat “Getting Started” guide.

Helpful Resources


Top Hat support is provided by the vendor. For direct support, please call (888) 663-5491 or email

The Learn@UW-Madison team is also available to consult with instructors and instructional staff on selecting and using the right learning technology to improve student success. Instructors and instructional staff can request a consultation through the DoIT Help Desk. In addition, the Learn@UW KnowledgeBase offers helpful documents for instructors, course owners and students.