University of Wisconsin–Madison

Top Hat

Top Hat is a cloud-based student response system (SRS) that allows instructors to ask questions, take polls, give quizzes and receive feedback from your students during class. Top Hat is a bring-your-own-device solution, which means that students can use any web-enabled device (laptop, tablets, smartphones) to participate. Top Hat also allows for text messaging to submit answers, so students can use older cell phones as well.

Alongside the paid version of Top Hat (Pro), a free version called Top Hat (Basic) is available. In this free version, some features will not be available to users that will be available for paid versions. Be aware that Top Hat (Basic) does not extend or include the integration of results into the Canvas grade book, and therefore, results of the Top Hat discussions or polling are not for formal assessment or allocation of participation points.

Top Hat is part of the Learn@UW suite of learning technologies. More information about Top Hat, updates, events and how to work with the Learn@UW-Madison learning technology consultants are available on the DoIT Academic Technology website.

Getting started

To get started using Top Hat, sign up and create an account at You can log in using your UW-Madison NetID. For instructions, please see the Learn@UW-Madison Top Hat “Getting Started” guide.


Top Hat (Basic) is available free of charge to instructors and students.

Although Top Hat (Pro) is free to instructors, students are required to purchase a subscription in order to use the product. Purchasing a subscription enables a student to use Top Hat (Pro) with an unlimited number of active courses that occur during the subscription period.

UW-Madison students are eligible for the following reduced Top Hat (Pro) subscription prices:

  • One semester (4 months) – $16 (This option cannot be upgraded to a year.)
  • One year (12 months) – $20
  • Lifetime (5 years) – $54

When purchasing a subscription, students will have the opportunity to select the duration. UW-Madison reduced pricing will be shown during the purchase process.

Key Features of Top Hat (Basic)

  • Uses any web-enabled device (laptop, tablet, smartphone)
  • Offers synchronous presentation that allows students to follow content as it is presented in class
  • Supports multiple question types
  • Offers SMS and offline mode capability
  • Supports file hosting and upload capability for PowerPoint and other file types
  • Offers real-time analytics

Key Features of Top Hat (Pro)

  • All features of Top Hat (Basic)
  • Live assessments and auto-graded quizzes that sync with the Canvas Gradebook
  • Full Top Hat gradebook
  • Automatic attendance
  • Detailed student performance reports


Top Hat support is provided by the vendor. For direct support, please call (888) 663-5491 or email

The Learn@UW-Madison team is also available to consult with instructors and instructional staff on selecting and using the right learning technology to improve student success. You request a consultation by contacting the DoIT Help Desk. In addition, the Learn@UW KnowledgeBase offers helpful documents for instructors, course owners and students.

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