Get started with Top Hat at IU

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Top Hat is a student response system and comprehensive teaching platform that instructors can use to engage students both within and outside of the classroom with interactive slides, graded questions, customized content, videos, discussions, and polls. Students use smartphones, tablets, laptops, or ordinary cell phones to participate in Top Hat activities.

At Indiana University, an enterprise license agreement allows all students to use Top Hat without fee.

Pedagogical considerations

Before deciding whether and how to use Top Hat in your classroom, you may wish to review the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning's Student Response Systems page for pedagogical issues related to using Top Hat in your course.

In some situations, you may be able to use Top Hat to give tests. However, because you do not have a hard copy of students' answers with this method (unlike with Scantron), you should not use Top Hat for high-stakes assessments without a backup plan (for example, also requiring students to hand in a hard copy of the exam with their answers marked).

Get started with Top Hat


UITS recommends completing the Top Hat preparation checklist.

To create and set up your Top Hat account and course on your own, follow the instructions in Setting up Top Hat. If you need assistance getting started, make an appointment with a consultant at your campus teaching and learning center.

Top Hat offers a free concierge service to help instructors create Top Hat questions from a Word or other text document. For more, see Professor: Top Hat Concierge Service. To take advantage of this service, contact your campus teaching and learning center.

Next.IU is currently offering a Top Hat Beta (LTI 1.3) pilot, which introduces new features such as roster sync and deep linking from Canvas to specific Top Hat content. For more, see About the Top Hat Beta pilot at IU.


To participate in Top Hat activities, you need a web-enabled smartphone, tablet, or laptop computer. You can also submit most types of answers via text message using an ordinary cell phone; however, some question types cannot be answered via text messaging. For details, see Student: SMS/Text Message Submissions.

For instructions on setting up your Top Hat account, see the Student: Indiana University Quick Start Guide.

Use one of the following apps. Make sure you have an up-to-date version of the mobile app, your chosen browser, and/or your device's operating system.

  • Top Hat mobile app (smartphone or tablet):
    • iOS app
    • Android app
  • Top Hat web app:
    • Mobile web app: Use Android native browser, Android Firefox, Android Chrome, or iOS native Safari browser
    • Laptop: Use Firefox, Chrome, Safari, or Edge

If you need to register your mobile phone number with Top Hat after setting up your account (for example, if you didn't enter it initially, or if you get a new phone number), see Add or update your phone number in Top Hat.

Teaching assistants (TAs)

Teaching assistants (TAs) can be added to a course and given the ability to take attendance, edit or assign content, and view or edit course grades. To add a TA to a course:

  1. Go to the course and select the Add Instructor or TA icon (circle with a plus sign next to two people).
    Top Hot menu with Add Instructor or TA icon highlighted
  2. Select Add Educator.
    Top Hot menu with Add Educator button highlighted
  3. Enter the email address of the TA into the "Enter email address(es) of people to invite" field, and then from the "User Role" menu, select Grading Teaching Assistant or Teaching Assistant. Select Teaching Assistant to allow the user to take attendance and edit or assign content; select Grading Teaching Assistant to give the user the same permissions with the added ability to view and edit course grades.
    Top Hot menu with the User Roles options highlighted
  4. Select Add Educator(s).
    Top Hot menu with Add Educators highlighted

Canvas integration

Top Hat seamlessly integrates with Canvas, offering one-click enrollment and gradebook synchronization. For detailed instructions on how to customize the integration with the Canvas Gradebook, see Professor: Advanced Canvas Integration; however, instead of choosing LMS SETUP & SYNC where directed in these instructions, you'll need to choose the LEGACY LMS SYNC tab in your Top Hat course settings. (Only use the LTI 1.3 sync if you are participating in the Top Hat Beta pilot program.)

If you plan to use Top Hat in multiple cross-listed sections in Canvas, before setting up your course(s) in Top Hat, see Set up Top Hat for a Canvas course with cross-listed sections.

Get help


  • Assistance getting started and pedagogical concerns:

    Instructors can get help using technology in their teaching at the teaching and learning centers on each campus.

  • Immediate technical assistance in the classroom:

    At IU Bloomington or IUPUI, contact Classroom Technology Services; see Classroom Technology Services.

    At other IU campuses, contact your campus Support Center.

  • Widespread issues with wireless access:

    If you encounter widespread or systemic problems with wireless access in your classroom, instruct students to contact their campus Support Center and include the MAC address of the device(s) that had difficulty.


  • Problems connecting to wireless: Contact your campus Support Center.
  • Problems with your Top Hat account (including grades not appearing correctly in the course gradebook): Contact Top Hat Support.

This is document abmj in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2023-02-13 11:11:52.