Instructor Best Practices: Your First Day & Beyond

Get the most out of your Top Hat experience

with these tips!

Using Top Hat can help you develop a more interactive and engaging learning environment, improve students' comprehension and retention, and allow for better collaboration and communication. That said, Top Hat is not a testing tool and shouldn't be relied upon to replace major tests, quizzes, and midterm exams. 

Check out a few key Best Practices for setting up and using Top Hat in your classroom!


To consider before your first day:

Offer marks for Top Hat participation

Our professors have had the most success when they offer students the chance to obtain grades or bonus grades for engaging in Top Hat questions. Without a grade assigned, students are less motivated to use Top Hat. 


And set a participation buffer

Outlining that students only need to get a 75% in Top Hat to get 100% of their participation grade will keep your students focused on learning, and less worried about every single mark.


Use an ethernet (wired) connection in class

As a professor, your account needs much higher bandwidth than students' accounts. This is because, your account will be processing all students answers simultaneously. If you have 2, 3 and 400 students' answers coming in at once, this could put stress on your classroom's wifi connection. Therefore, it is highly recommended you connect via Ethernet rather than WiFi to improve the speed and overall performance of the system.


Your first day and beyond:

Send all student questions to Top Hat Support!

Do students have questions about setting up accounts? Are they concerned about technical challenges? Top Hat has a dedicated team of Support ninjas available at beck and call for both professors and students by email ( and by phone (1.888.663.5491).

Additionally, both Professor and Student’s Top Hat accounts are equipped with Support buttons (bottom left-hand corner!) to submit a support request.


Envision your first class as an 'Ice-breaker' day

Rather than prepare course-based questions for students, we suggest that you think of your first day as a chance to learn more about your students! What do they know about your subject area? Where do they hail from? Do they have any concerns about the course?

By using 'ice-breaker' questions on your first day, you get to test out Top Hat in class with lower-stakes and a chance to build your classroom community.


Add & Drop Students From Your Roster

We understand your student roster might change during the drop-add period. If that happens, you can always copy your entire, up-dated student roster into Top Hat and send invitations – Top Hat will only invite those new students. Or, new students can go to your unique course URL on their own time, and Top Hat will prompt to register if they don't have an account.


Good to know! Students' Offline Mode

Students using the mobile app (iOS and Android), can submit answers offline in class! If their devices will detect a weak internet connection, Top Hat will ask if they want to go into Offline Mode. Even from offline, they can submit answers to your questions! Check out this quick video to learn more.