Published November 5, 2018
Over 13,000 UB students are already using Top Hat in their classes. How do they compare it to other classroom response systems on campus?
Classroom response systems enable students to use technology, whether a standalone clicker or their own laptops and mobile devices, to answer questions, give feedback and even take tests in class. This ideally promotes student engagement and active learning, by leveraging devices that can often be a distraction in large lectures for refocusing students on class.
But for students, cost is a factor. The cost of Top Hat was recently discounted for UB students--$23 for one semester, $34 annually or $68 for a four-year subscription--and the fact that Top Hat works without a standalone clicker device, which can cost students an extra $40-$80, depending on the model, makes it a less expensive option for students.
UBIT spoke with over 30 students who didn’t like standalone clicker systems. For one, having an additional device to carry around means you could lose or forget it. Then, there’s reliability.
“[Physical clickers] were slow, inaccurate, and frustrating to both the instructor and the class,” one student with experience with clickers said.
Most of the 33 students we interviewed felt that, when compared to a standalone clicker system, Top Hat is “less expensive, more convenient, and easier to use.”
Top Hat has additional features that students prefer as well. “You can review old questions, track your grades and access Top Hat on any device.”
One student said Top Hat’s best feature was that it “allows professors to ask open-ended questions,” and students can give detailed responses. “You can view the professor’s PowerPoint slides on Top Hat,” another student commented, making it easy to follow along with the lecture on their laptop.
If you are an instructor and would like more information about Top Hat, Top Hat offers one-on-one trainings and introduction sessions.