Audience Engagement for Faculty & Staff

Iowa State uses Top Hat as an interactive, Cloud-based teaching and learning platform that turns students’ web-enabled devices (such as smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) into virtual clickers to send instant responses to interactive questions.

Top Hat Features

Top Hat offers a comprehensive way for tracking student engagement and participation and other opportunities to enrich learning. Top Hat provides more options in creating interactive lectures. Top Hat can be used in a variety of ways to accommodate your teaching style, such as creating discussion threads, sharing, presenting and annotating instructional material.

Top Hat allows for synchronous and asynchronous participation, as well as image-based questions. Top Hat features six question types:

  1. Multiple choice
  2. Work answer
  3. Numeric answer
  4. Sorting problems
  5. Matching Problems
  6. Click on target

Visit the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) to see how instructors are using Top Hat at Iowa State.

Purchasing a Top Hat License

All Iowa State instructors can use Top Hat for free. If you decide to use Top Hat, you will need to inform the Iowa State University Book Store so the Top Hat license can be added to your required course materials list. Inform your students that licenses are available through the ISU Book Store or through the Top Hat website. By ordering through the ISU Book Store, students can utilize their Student Financial Aid to purchase the license.

Getting Started with Top Hat

Creating your Account and Courses

You can create your account at any time. After you create your account you can set up courses and invite students to join.

To create an account:

  1. Go to the Top Hat website
  2. Select Sign-up
  3. Select the Professor option and follow the on-screen instructions

If you previously had an instructor Top Hat account, upgrade your account to the new Top Hat by selecting the New Top Hat button in the upper right corner in your Top Hat course.

To setup your courses:

Visit Professor: Creating Your Account and Courses on the Top Hat Professor Orientation page.

Accessing your Account

To create content and administer questions, you must use a laptop or computer equipped with a web browser. You can also administer questions using the Top Hat app on a mobile device. For more information, visit Top Hat’s support pages for iOS and Android.

Using Top Hat features

Instructions to use Top Hat’s common features:

For information on additional features available in Top Hat visit the Top Hat Professor Orientation page. Use the support materials which refer to New Top Hat.

Top Hat Accessibility

Some instructional materials created in Top Hat may not be accessible for everyone. For general guidance and alternative ways to create accessible content, visit Utilizing Top Hat with Accessibility on the Top Hat Professor Orientation page. For questions or concerns about accessibility in Top Hat, contact Iowa State’s Digital Access unit at


Visit the Technology Success Community or complete the Top Hat support form.