Professor: Creating and Using Questions (Old Top Hat)

Do you want to boost student engagement? 

Break up your lectures and challenge each of your students to get involved! No matter how large or small your class is, asking a question will give you cumulative statistics for students responses and automatically record individual student grades. You can set a correct answer, or make questions anonymous for polling.

First, scroll down to find a video tutorial for each of our six types of questions: Multiple Choice, Word Answer, Numeric Answer, Sorting Problems, Matching Problems, and Click on Target questions; then complete the accompanying tutorial exercises. All told, we estimate this Top Hat Orientation course will take you just 15 minutes!

Each video will show you how to:

☐ Create a Question

☐ Ask, Show and Close the Question

☐ Set a Question for Homework and Review 



Multiple Choice

These are the most commonly used questions in Top Hat. Multiple Choice questions can be created with as many as 26 different answers or as few as two answer values (ie. True or False). The answer key for Multiple Choice questions may be a combination of any number of values.


Word Answer

Word answer questions are best for one or two word answers. You can have multiple answers to account for common miss-spellings, and you can control the case sensitivity of the answer. If you’d like this question to be created as a survey, you have the option of not including a correct answer. Top Hat can also display the answers of these questions in creative fashions such as a bar graph or word cloud.


Numeric Answer

Numeric Questions are great for math classes, science courses, or any situation where you’d like students to perform a calculation. Answers for Numeric Questions may have a tolerance set to determine how close a student's answer must be to the answer key to receive full marks. Top Hat can display the answers to these questions and include useful stats including: max/min answers, mean, and standard deviation.


Sorting Problem

Sorting Problems ask students to arrange and sort values in a pre-defined order. For example, these questions work great when organizing a timeline; you could have the students order historical events! Sorting Problems can be used for ranking and polling questions as well.


Matching Problem

Matching problems are similar to sorting problems. Students will have to match the left field with the right. Top Hat allows you to have more choices than matches, allowing you to be more creative with your question content.


Click On Target

Note: Click on Target is the only question type inaccessible to students using SMS response number.

To create a Click on Target question, choose an image from your hard drive - jpegs and png. Next, highlight a region on that image to set the answer key. When asking a Click on Target question, students are prompted to identify a specific region of an image, by clicking or tapping it. Top Hat automatically allows for some deviation from the highlighted region, so that responding to the question is fair and not impossible.


Helpful Resources to Enhance Questions

Each Question can be assigned one of five statuses: Closed, Ask, Show, Homework, and Review. These statuses alter who the questions are visible to, and whether students are able to submit answers.

The best way to organize your content (Questions, Discussions, Files) is by creating folders. Folders allow for easy sorting and quickly identifying your course material. Students can see the content organized in folders if you activate the entire folder to Ask (only 20 questions at a time), Show, Homework, and Review. 

Formatting Text in a Questions is relatively simple through the use of Markdowns. Markdowns are simple syntax that help add formatting to Top Hat text. Markdown can be used in discussion topic field as well as the question description field.

It is also possible to embed Hyperlinks in Questions and Discussions. This enables links to incorporate external resources.

You can also embed streaming videos in Questions and Discussions. Top Hat currently supports Youtube and Vimeo videos for embedding. This allows a video to appear and be played when asking a question.

Top Hat supports LaTeX which is a popular markup language used for symbols, mathematical equations, and much more.

For more a more powerful interactive equation editor, MathType is available. This allows for the creation of mathematical notation for word processing, web pages, desktop publishing, presentations, elearning, and for TeX, LaTeX, and MathML documents.

It is also possible to code in Syntax when creating questions in Top Hat. For more information please click on the Syntax hyperlink.


If you need any additional support, please feel free to reach out to us. 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; 1-888-663-5491 ext 1 or shoot us an email at We are happy to help resolve any issues!


  • Avatar
    NathanAndrea Tice
    The sorting question type should be more accurately labeled "Ordering". To me sorting implies a group of items that need to be categorized. This cannot be done with the matching question type either because you can only add dummy answers, rather than have multiple items belong to a certain category. A chemistry example: "Classify the following elements as metal, non-metal or metalloid: Lr, Os, Sn, H, Ge" In the answers Lr, Os & Sn are all metals. In your current question set-up, I cannot "sort" them all as metals, having the Metal category apply to all three elements. If I set it up as a matching question, the "metal" answer has to be entered 3 times, and each one has a certain match, and the student won't be able to tell the difference. The only work around is to make 5 individual questions asking the students to choose the correct match with 2 dummy answers. I don't like being so limited in my question choice.