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Top Hat is a comprehensive active learning platform that allows instructors to engage students for remote or in-class instruction in synchronous and asynchronous formats. The platform provides the ability for instructors to incorporate interactive content, create interactive slides, graded questions, videos, discussions, polls, and more.


This complete end-to-end tool is compatible with the devices your students already use, such as cell phones and laptops—no need for extra hardware. Top Hat’s platform goes beyond Clickers, allowing you to:  

  • Upload your slides, add annotations and interactive questions 
  • Take attendance quickly and accurately 
  • Launch discussions and get real-time feedback and reports 
  • Export student grades to Canvas 

Top Hat is a student engagement tool, useful in polling students or setting up assessments prior to class. Students use their own web-enabled devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, phones) to participate in active learning activities.


How does it work? 

  1. Professors ask questions.
  2. Students submit responses via WiFi or SMS using their own devices (phones, laptops, tablets, etc.)
  3. Results are shown in real-time. 

Active learning pedagogies that emphasize discussion and collaboration can make the virtual classroom a more inviting place, and live discussions with peers allow students to build connections with one another to create learning environments that extend beyond the traditional classroom. Flipping the classroom is an evidenced-based instructional method that involves leveraging digital tools to drive active learning and increased student engagement.


Ways to use TopHat: 

Interactive Polling 

  • No clickers required. Students use their own devices including phones, laptops, or tablets to participate in polls. 
  • Multiple choice, matching, sorting, numeric, click-on-target, and word answer questions allow you to assess student comprehension in a variety of ways. 
  • Students can participate for grades or remain anonymous based on instructor settings. 
  • When used, grades are kept in real-time and can be synced into Canvas (a single grade column) or exported to Excel for multiple grade columns 
  • Assign questions for homework to assess student understanding and guide your in-class instruction. 
  • Designate questions for review to help your students prepare for upcoming assessments. 


  • Promote interaction through live discussion that gives every student a voice. 
  • Students can help answer peer questions or vote for questions to be addressed by the instructor. 
  • Because Top Hat is web-based, discussions can continue after class promoting student engagement. 

Creative ways to integrate TopHat into your course: 

  • Use images 
  • Exit tickets 


Top Hat functions as an interactive technology to engage students in the learning environment. It can be used to track comprehension and engagement and can be used synchronously and asynchronously to foster a sense of community with your students. Features include: attendance, polls and quizzes, in-class discussions, digital textbook, tests and quizzes, learning insights and labs.


Top Hat ranks 4.5/5 stars for accessibility. To learn more about the accessibility review, contact

  • Supports Text to Speech (TTS) such as NVDA, Jaws, or Voiceover
  • Partially Supports Speech to Text (STT) such as DragonSpeaks or Voice Dictation
  • Supports Alternative Input Experience/Keyboard Navigation
  • Supports Screen Magnification and Color Contrast
  • Dedication to Accessibility and Content Creator Experience
This video shows how the Top Hat teaching platform builds, motivates, engages, and connects with students. Getting Started: TopHat for Instructors

Getting Started: Top Hat for Students

This technology is not included with the University of Denver. Faculty, staff, and students may need to purchase a subscription. The technology may offer educational pricing with an “.edu” email address. Free trials or free accounts may also be available through the technology website. 

The University of Denver does not directly provide technical support. The Office of Teaching and Learning may consult on pedagogy. 

Top Hat Support    

OTL Technology Rating
YELLOW technologies are not widely supported. DU may or may not have a 3rd party vendor security agreement for the use of these tools. However, some uses of this tool may be appropriate for teaching if certain conditions are met. Consult with the OTL about appropriate uses of this technology.