Student - Top Hat Overview and Getting Started Guide

Welcome to Top Hat! This guide covers all of Top Hat's need-to-know features and how to use them.


Account Creation & Enrollment

You can find a tutorial video and article on how to create an account and then enroll in your first Top Hat course here.

Accessing Top Hat

Once you have created an account, log in by visiting from your web browser, then type in your username and password. You will start in the Top Hat course lobby where you can access all your course information.

Answering Questions

Once you've created your account and enrolled in your course, you're all set to answer a few questions! You can use any of the following methods to answer questions:

  • Web Browser (Laptop/Desktop)

You can use our website to answer questions. First, sign in and enter your course. When a question is asked by your professor, it will pop open automatically on your screen. Then select your answer and click 'Submit'. You can also access any Homework (closed green book) or Review (closed orange book) Questions from the Dashboard.

  • Mobile Devices (Android/IOS)

You can also download and use our native Android or IOS apps by searching for 'Top Hat' in each respective app store. After installing and logging into the app with your account information, you can access all your course content directly from your mobile device. When a question is asked by your professor, it will pop open automatically on your device's screen.

For additional information on our mobile applications, please see here: Student iOS App or Student Android App

If you are having issues connecting to the internet, you can still submit answers by using Offline Mode! Read more about how offline mode works here.

  • SMS Response # (texting)  

You can submit answers in class using an older generation phone by sending a text message to your course’s response SMS Response phone number. Each time your professor activates a question, it is assigned a unique 4-digit SMS ID code. This code can be found below the answer values of any activated question. To submit an answer, compose a text message starting with the 4- digit SMS ID code, followed by your selected answer value. 

Note: the space between the SMS ID code and the answer is optional.

For a detailed guide on SMS Response # texting, please read this helpful guide. If you encounter an error when texting an answer, please read this alternative guide.

Question Statuses

Your professor may set the status of a Top Hat Question to 4 different states: Ask, Show, Homework or Review. The status of a Top Hat Question is indicated by the color coded status icon next to the Question in the Dashboard. 

  • Ask: The question is active and visible on your screen and submissions are enabled. To answer, select or input an answer value and click "Submit"

  • Show: The question is visible on your screen, but inactive with incoming submissions disabled.  

  • Homework: The question is posted for homework. This means you have access to the question outside of the classroom and are expected to submit an answer outside of class. The question will not show up on your screen until you click on its name on the left hand side at which point you can submit an answer and close it when you’re done.

  • Review: This means you have access to the question outside of the classroom and have the ability to see the correct answer (as a means of review). The question will not show up on your screen until you click on its name on the left hand side.

Checking your grades

If you’d like to see how you’re doing in a course, access Top Hat from a computer or your mobile application and view your Gradebook. We highly recommend that you keep track of your grades and check the gradebook often. The gradebook will show you an overview of all active, answered and unanswered items in your course 

The gradebook contains a breakdown of your overall performance in Top Hat (grades and attendance). From here you can review the questions asked in your course as well as what you submitted. The gradebook is broken down into different sections for ease of navigation. More information can be found here.


If you need any additional support, we've got you covered. The easiest way to get in touch with us is to click Support at the bottom left-hand corner of your screen (when logged into your Top Hat Account) or click the 'Submit a Request' button in the top right-hand corner of this screen. You can also drop us a line; call us at 1(888) 663-5491 ext 1 or email