Top Hat

Top Hat

Pink Top Hat graphic showing icons for classroom, textbooks, assignments, and secure exams.


The Top Hat learning platform is an interactive, cloud-based teaching platform that leverages student’s mobile devices to increase in-class engagement and get real-time feedback. Top Hat can be used in the following ways:

  • Engage students using interactive slides and questions, attendance tracking, customized content, videos, discussions, and polls.
  • Create and personalize homework to build student comprehension.
  • Securely administer exams and quizzes directly on students’ devices.

See recommended practices for using Top Hat at ISU, visit the Top Hat for Faculty page to learn about licensing and account creation, or see the Student Resources section below for information regarding the cost to students.

Top Hat seamlessly integrates with Canvas, enabling one-click enrollment and gradebook synchronization. Be advised, that you can now sync multiple Top Hat courses with the same Canvas shell


  • Interactive discussions and questions (multiple-choice, word answer, numeric answer, fill in the blank, matching, click-on-target, and sorting) with real-time feedback and assigned point value. Earned scores can be synched with Canvas.
  • Attendance: secure attendance allows to gauge student presence in the classroom via geolocation tagging and proximity to other students.
  • Presentation and annotation of shared instructional materials.
  • Interactive customizable content.
  • Marketplace, including digital textbooks and Open Educational Resources (OERs).
  • Team settings for greater engagement (now in beta, ask to enable).

Getting Started

Instructor Resources

Using Top Hat with your Canvas course

To add Top Hat to your course, follow the steps in these guides:

  1. Create your account and course(s)
  2. Inform the ISU Bookstore, per Section of the Faculty Handbook, review the ISU Faculty Handbook page.
  3. Include information about Top Hat in your syllabus by copying the syllabus statement below.
  4. Set up Top Hat to sync to your Canvas course
  5. Enable the link in Canvas

Using Top Hat to create content

You may find these guides to be useful:

To assign or present your content, see the following:

Syllabus Statement

Add the statement below to the required technologies section of your syllabus.

This course will use the Top Hat response system in class and requires the purchase of a license to participate. Visit the Top Hat learning tool guide to view the terms of service, privacy policy, accessibility statement, and instructions for joining the Top Hat course and engaging with the Top Hat course.

Student Resources

Purchasing a Top Hat license

If your instructor uses Top Hat, the Iowa State University Book Store will add it to your required course materials list. You will need to purchase a Top Hat license from the Iowa State University Book Store or through the Top Hat website before you will be able to access the Top Hat course materials. By ordering through the ISU Book Store you can use your Student Financial Aid account (U-Bill) to purchase the license(s). 

A Top Hat Classroom license covers all courses that use Top Hat for the duration of the license period and is available in the following options:

  • One-year license: $32.00
  • One-semester license: $21.00

Note: Premium Top Hat Marketplace content (textbook) licenses must be purchased separately for each class in which they are used and will be listed as a separate item in your required course materials list.

If you purchase a Top Hat license through the ISU Book Store, you will receive a redemption code that needs to be converted into a Top Hat access key prior to use on the Top Hat website. To redeem your code go to For help in completing this process, read the Top Hat article on redeeming bookstore codes.

Creating a Top Hat account

To create a Top Hat account, you will need the Top Hat Join Code provided by Top Hat or your instructor.

To create an account:

  1. Go to the Top Hat website and select ‘Sign-up’ or click the Top Hat link within your Canvas course.
  2. Select ‘Student’ and follow the on-screen instructions

Note: You must sign up with your Iowa State e-mail for your scores to be properly recorded.

For help creating an account visit the student section of Iowa State University – Single Sign-On Account Setup.

Joining a Top Hat course

If you already have a Top Hat account, you can join a Top Hat course using one of the following methods:

  • Click the Top Hat link in your Canvas course navigation.
  • Click the link sent to you via email from Top Hat support.
  • Go to, login, then click on the Courses link in the top left corner to get to your Top Hat dashboard. Click the blue Join Course button and search for your course by name.

Engaging with the Top Hat course

To access Top Hat, use a …

See the Student: Checking Grades article for guidance on how to see the results of your submissions.


All Iowa State instructors can use the Top Hat platform for free. If you decide to use Top Hat, inform the Iowa State University Book Store, per Section of the Faculty Handbook (for documentation, see the Faculty Handbook page), so the Top Hat license can be added to your required course materials list. 

Student licenses are available through the Iowa State Book Store or through the Top Hat website. By ordering through the Iowa State Book Store, students can use their Student Financial Aid to purchase the license. Learn more about students’ cost for using Top Hat on the Audience Engagement for Students page.

Top Hat uses your ISU netID and password to log in.


Top Hat: Lifetime access to textbook copies

Students are now provided with lifetime access to a read-only copy of any textbook they purchase through Top Hat. With this feature, students have continued access to the textbooks they have purchased even after their

Top Hat: Virtual Classroom Features

Vvirtual classroom features will be enabled in Top Hat to provide additional options for remote delivery. Effective September 30, 2020.

Stay in the know with the Top Hat blog, visit the Top Hat Newsroom, learn about recently added features or check the current Top Hat status.