Teaching and Learning Resource Center

Using Top Hat in the Classroom

In general, here are some best practice guidelines:

  • For the best connectivity experience, use the podium computer or a wired connection. The instructor computer uses the most bandwidth during the course session. Therefore, if the instructor uses a wireless connection, the entire class may experience a slow connection. You can check connectivity to Top Hat using the wireless icon in the upper-right corner of the screen.
  • Grant students access to your course prior to the beginning of the class and be sure to activate the course.
  • If students are texting in answers, allow for a text message grace period. This setting grants the text messages 30 extra seconds to be processed after the question has closed, so the students' submissions are not considered late.

Presenting Course Material

Top Hat includes features to help you present your content in the way that best fits your material. There are three options:

  1. Use your own presentation software. This allows you to switch to Top Hat as needed, using the presentation platform of your choice. While switching to Top Hat, students may see the instructor view of Top Hat. It will be important to be diligent about the content on your screen during those moments (e.g., Gradebook closed and questions ready to ask).
  2. Upload your presentation to Top Hat. Using the Files module in Top Hat, you can upload your lecture to Top Hat. This provides for a smoother transition between your course content and Top Hat questions. See Top Hat's article, Uploading and managing your slides, for details.
  3. Use the Presentation Tool. For presentations with animations or videos (e.g., it cannot be uploaded to Top Hat), you can use the presentation tool. The Presentation tool is a desktop application, which "floats" over your presentation software. Use your lastname.# and password to log in.

The Presentation Tool should be available in all pool classrooms. If the tool is not available, you can download it from the left-hand navigation of your Top Hat course page. See Using The Presentation Tool In Your Lectures for details.

Managing Student Attendance

Students can join the course a number of ways:

  • Instructors can sync their Carmen roster with the Top Hat course. In doing so, when students sign up and log in to Top Hat, they will be automatically enrolled in the course.
  • Once students sign up and log in to Top Hat, they can manually search for your course, once the course has been activated by the Instructor.
  • Alternatively, during class, Instructors can display the join code to students and students, once logged in, can join the class at that time. Using this method, instructors can display the course join code and take attendance at the same time, as explained below.

Taking Attendance

To display the join code and attendance code, click the Take Attendance button from the left-hand navigation. On the instructor screen, the codes display.

Top Hat user interface attendance code

After joining the course, students are prompted to enter the Attendance code.

Top Hat student user screen with enter attendance code box and Submit button

Once attendance is completed, click Finish Attendance. The next time you click Take Attendance, a new attendance code displays. In the Gradebook, each attendance code displays as a separate attendance score. For more information about the Attendance module, see Top Hat's Taking Attendance article.


If you're experiencing a slow or delayed connection with Top Hat, consider the following:

  • Check your OSU connection. As the instructor, is your computer connected to the wireless? If so, try using the podium computer or another wired connection. Check if other internet sites are slow as well.
    If you are using a wired connection and other websites also appear slow, the issue may be room-related. Contact 614-688-4357 (HELP), option 4 if you're within an OTDI-supported classroom or the appropriate departmental or college support for all other classrooms.
    UX Tip

    If students experience a better connection using their data (4G / 3G), this indicates an issue with the OSU wireless connection, not the connection with Top Hat.

  • Check your Top Hat connection. Check the wireless icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. What icon do you see? A green, 4 bar, connection indicates Top Hat is working fine. A different icon may indicate this a Top Hat issue. If the issue appears to be within Top Hat, click Support at the bottom left section of the Top Hat page and submit a new support request. If you are unsure, contact 614-688-4357 (HELP), option 4 if you're within an OTDI-supported classroom or contact the appropriate departmental or college support for other classrooms.
  • See Getting Help with Top Hat for support contact information.
UX Tip

Students can answer all poll questions using offline mode until the connectivity issues are resolved.