Top Hat, a new interactive teaching and learning platform, comes to ISU

Ann Marie VanDerZanden, Director, Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching
Jim Kurtenbach, Chief Information Officer, Information Technology

tophatWe are pleased to announce that Top Hat, a new cloud-based, interactive teaching and learning platform for ISU instructors and students, is now available for use at ISU. Top Hat was piloted at ISU during the 2015-16 academic year and was well received by users, and now we are excited to open it up to all of campus.

There is no charge for instructors to use Top Hat. It offers excellent features, including:

  • Six types of questions for student responses
  • Synchronous and asynchronous modes of participation
  • Options for instant feedback via open-ended discussions
  • New ways for instructors to create interactive content and customize student access

For students, Top Hat allows for the use of students’ own smartphones, tablets, and computers. It is accessible via the Top Hat app and web browsers.

The adoption of Top Hat also means that the legacy TurningPoint clickers will no longer be sold or supported at ISU. The TurningPoint 5 software is growing obsolete as its vendor no longer supports it which makes it incompatible with software updates such as Microsoft Office 2016.

Students with legacy clickers will have the option to return them to the ISU Book Store for a $25 credit toward a new Top Hat license. We thank the book store staff for their work in supporting this transition.

We’ve created a Top Hat support site to help guide you through the questions you might have, including how to transition from TurningPoint to Top Hat. You can also read more in our Inside Iowa State story.

For instructors who used clickers in the past, we hope to make your transition as seamless as possible. For those who have not used clickers, we hope you will explore Top Hat and consider implementing it in your classroom. We think you will find it to be a very robust interactive classroom tool.

Please feel free to share this message with your departments and colleagues, and reach out to us directly with any questions you may have.