Professor: Creating a Word Answer Question (New Top Hat)

Word answer questions are designed for free-response submissions. If you’d like for the question to be auto-graded you’ll want to stick to answers of one or two words. Alternatively, you can create a polling or survey question by not indicating a correct answer. The responses can be viewed as a bar graph, or the popular word cloud!

To create a word answer question, click on the blue Create button in the upper left hand corner of your screen. A pop-up menu will appear and you’ll simply want to select the Word Answer Question option.

From there you will be provided w/ the question building framework in which to build your word answer question. You’ll want to begin by inputting a unique title for your question.

Attach Image
If you’d like to attach an image to accompany your question, simply click where it says
Attach Image and select an image from your computer’s hard drive.

Setting the Correct Answer
Next, if your question is a free-response question
without a correct answer you can indicate this by clicking on the X in the correct answer box. Alternatively, if your question has a correct answer you’ll want to type it in the field provided. If there are multiple answers that would be deemed correct you can click on Add Another in order to add other correct answers. This is a great way to ensure students who respond with common mis-spellings of the correct answer aren’t penalized.

Question Grading
You can now decide how you’d like to grade your question. By default these values are set to half a point for correctness and half a point for participation, but these values can be changed to anything you’d like, they don’t have to add to 1, and they can be set to zero.

In the example above, a student who answers incorrectly would be awarded 0.25 points just for having submitted an answer, whereas a student who answered correctly would be awarded 1 point (0.25 participation points + 0.75 correctness points).

Response Timer
You can also choose to set a timer on the question and limit the amount of time your students have to answer the question. The timer will commence the moment you activate the question so if you choose to use a timer, ensure you provide enough time for your students to read
and answer the question. To set a timer, click where it says Never and select your preferred duration from the provided list. 

Allow Students to Answer Anonymously
Lastly, should you want your students to answer the question anonymously, simply click the box next to this option. Please note that when this option is selected you will not be able to see what individuals answer. Only aggregated results will be available, and this question cannot be graded. Further, this setting cannot be changed after the question is created.

Review Options
Hints and explanations allow you to provide feedback to your students as they use your Top Hat questions to review course material and prepare for exams! They won't be available for students to view until later in the summer, but you can start building them in your Top Hat questions right away! For a more detailed explanation of how to use this great feature in your questions, please see here: Professor: Hints and Explanations in Questions (New Top Hat)


When you’re happy with the question you have created simply click Save in the bottom right corner.

Your newly created question will appear at the bottom of your course dashboard to be added to a folder or even embedded into your slide presentation if you choose.


Should you require further assistance with Top Hat, our Support Team is here to help! You can contact us directly by way of email (, the in app support button, the red Can’t find what you are looking for? Ask Support! banner at the bottom of this page, or calling us at 1-888-663-5491.