Penn State IT has been able to finalize an enterprise-wide service agreement with Top Hat in September 2020, after the start of the fall semester.
Top Hat is a tool that tracks attendance while creating engaged learning environments for students. It is now available for an early adoption program, and instructors can learn how to integrate this tool into their courses for this fall or next spring. More in-depth resources and live training will be available for broader adoption before spring 2021.
Through Penn State’s enterprise-wide agreement with Top Hat, students who had previously purchased Top Hat access for the fall 2020 semester received a reimbursement to cover their subscription cost. For questions regarding Top Hat’s student reimbursements for fall 2020 subscriptions, please contact the Top Hat support team.
Top Hat’s cloud-based teaching tool leverages student’s devices to increase in-class engagement and real-time feedback. Instructors can engage students within and outside the classroom with interactive slides, graded questions, customized content, videos, discussions and polls.
“Our goal with Top Hat is to provide instructors with additional tools to facilitate effective synchronous class meetings and asynchronous learning that increases student engagement,” said Jennifer Sparrow, associate vice president for Teaching and Learning with Technology. “The core Top Hat features are also available at no cost to students.”
Without the need to purchase a separate device, students can use their smartphones, tablets, or laptops to participate in Top Hat activities, such as live chat to discuss topics and concepts with peers, and livestream lab demonstrations with real-time questions and tailored assignments. Other features such as lecture recordings, virtual classroom streaming and slate course communications will be coming soon.
Top Hat was selected based on the combined feedback received from instructors and students who participated in pilot programs in fall 2019.
Instructors interested in a personalized demonstration integrating Top Hat in their courses can complete this form to connect with a Top Hat education technology specialist. Additional vendor supported resources and guides are also available.
For more information, visit tophat.psu.edu.