Professor: Using Discussions (New Top Hat)

Top Hat’s discussions module is incredibly versatile, allowing you to ask students subjective and interpretive questions that may not have a simple or absolute answer, gaining real-time feedback during lectures by allowing students to seek clarification, and facilitating dialogue between students, to name just a few!

This article is designed to walk you through the use of Top Hat discussions. If you require additional information on how to create a Top Hat discussion please see here: Professor: Creating Discussions (New Top Hat)

Using Top Hat Discussions in the Classroom
To activate a discussion in the classroom you can either embed the the discussion in your slides at the point in which you plan to facilitate the discussion, or you can click on the content item to preview it and then click the blue Present button in the upper right hand corner to activate the discussion.

Once presented your discussion will appear on your projected screen as well as your students’ smart devices. Students can submit by way of SMS/text message using the 4-digit SMS response code appearing on your screen, or using their laptops or mobile applications.

Discussions created in such a way that students can view each others’ responses will allow students to comment on their peers’ posts or upvote or like a peer’s post.

You can choose to sort your discussion thread in such a way that newest responses filter to the top or the most liked posts appear at the top of your thread depending on your goals for the discussion.

If you’d like to prevent students from responding further, simply click the pause/disable button before continuing on with your lecture. Alternatively, if you’d like to keep the discussion active in the background as you continue with your lecture, simply click on the advance right arrow without disabling the discussion.

Using Top Hat Discussions Outside of the Classroom
To activate a discussion for student submissions outside of the classroom simply click on discussion to reveal it in the preview pane and in the upper right hand corner click where it says Assign.

From the popup menu that appears, select Homework to allow your students to participate in the discussion outside of the classroom using their computers and smart devices. As student responses filter in you can reply to posts, upvote, and sort the thread based on newest responses or most liked just as you can when it’s presented!

The discussion will be tagged indicating to you that it is currently available to students as homework and the date in which the item was assigned to homework.


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.