How Top Hat is being used at WSU

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About this article

This article describes some of the ways Top Hat is being used at Winona State University. This is not meant to be a complete list of ways Top Hat can be used, but as a starting point for generating ideas how it can be used in a classroom setting. Following each example is a short list of some of the classes at WSU using Top Hat for the described purpose.

Fostering engaged learning

It is difficult to foster engaged learning, especially in a class with over 200 students. Top Hat not only supports engaged learning by making responses private to the sender, but also encourages participation through the awarding of points for taking part. Faculty have reported increased attendance and better participation when Top Hat questions are included in the class.

Top Hat is used to foster engaged learning in BIOL 307, BIOL 308 and BIOL 310 (Jacob Hines), HERS 205 (Dr. Kent Hansen), HERS 314 and HERS 370 (Dr. Phil Appicelli), MATH 140 and MATH 212 (Christopher Phan), SPED 300, SPED 405, SPED 500 and SPED 505 (Dr. James Kirk), WGSS 148 (Tamara Berg).

Taking attendance

Attendance is quick and easy in Top Hat. Activate the Attendance module and collect the attendance at any time during the class.

Top Hat is used to take attendance in BIOL 206 and BIOL 242 (Dr. Elizabeth Larson), CAST 301, CAST 302 and CAST 402 (Zach Strassburger), CHEM 213 (Dr. Jennifer Zemke), EDUC 328 and EDUC 329 (Joan Sax-Bendix), EDUC 400, EDUC 429, EDUC 435, EDUC 437 and EDUC 529 (Dr. Mary Anderson), HERS 314 and HERS 370 (Dr. Phil Appicelli), SPED 300, SPED 405, SPED 500 and SPED 505 (Dr. James Kirk).

Polling during student presentations

Asking polling questions during the professor's lecture is a natural, but some faculty are having the students compose questions that can be answered during student presentations. The student submits the questions they want to ask the class during their presentation to the professor prior to the presentation date. The professor adds the questions to the Top Hat class and polling occurs during the student presentation.

Top Hat is used to poll during student presentations in EDUC 400, EDUC 429, EDUC 435, EDUC 437 and EDUC 529 (Dr. Mary Anderson).

Initiating class discussion

Class discussion is sometimes hard to initiate. One way to start a discussion is to ask the class a question, show the results, and then discuss which answer is correct and why students selected the answers they did. To make the discussion even more relevant, have the students select the questions for the next meeting at the end of the current meeting. Encourage them to select questions they find difficult or confusing.

Top Hat is used to initiate class discussions in BIOL 409 and BIOL 445 (Dr. Osvaldo Martinez), NURS 422 (Megan Anibas).

Anonymous surveys

Sometimes students are not ready to volunteer answers or contribute orally in the classroom. Using an anonymous survey encourages participation by all students, even if they do not want to raise their hands and talk.

Top Hat is used to survey anonymously in CAST 301, CAST 302 and CAST 402 (Zach Strassburger), SPED 300, SPED 405, SPED 500 and SPED 505 (Dr. James Kirk).

Homework outside of class

Questions can be scheduled to open close automatically. This enables the professor to assign homework to the class and have the Top Hat questions become available at any time. All responses are stored in Top Hat, ready for the professor to review off line or with the class.

Top Hat is used to assign homework in HERS 314 and HERS 370 (Dr. Phil Appicelli).

Review materials from the previous lecture

Reviewing materials from the previous lecture is a great way to get the students thinking again about the subject matter. It also serves as a way to find which points need to be reviewed before beginning the next topic.

Top Hat is used to review lecture materials in BIOL 409 and BIOL 445 (Dr. Osvaldo Martinez), NURS 422 (Megan Anibas).

Quiz on assigned readings

Whether you flip the class or assign readings for the night before the lecture, a quick, low-stakes quiz in Top Hat at the start of class is a great way to determine the comprehension of the students.

Top Hat is used to quiz on assigned readings in BIOL 206 and BIOL 242 (Dr. Elizabeth Larson), WGSS 148 (Tamara Berg).

Peer instruction and pair/share

Polling questions can indicate which students understand a concept and which students are struggling. Once a question has been answered, students that understand the concept can be paired with students that need help allowing for peer instruction.

Top Hat is used for peer instruction and pair/share in PHYS 222 (Dr. Sarah Phan-Budd).

Assessing student understanding and just-in-time teaching

Exit tickets and ad hoc polls are great ways to determine student understanding. If the students do well, the professor can safely move on to the next topic. If there are questions or issues, the professor knows immediately and can cover the problem areas again.

Top Hat is used to just-in-time teaching in BIOL 206 and BIOL 242 (Dr. Elizabeth Larson), CAST 301, CAST 302 and CAST 402 (Zach Strassburger), CHEM 213 (Dr. Jennifer Zemke), CMST 380 and MGMT 325 (Carol Daul-Elhindi), EDUC 400, EDUC 429, EDUC 435, EDUC 437 and EDUC 529 (Dr. Mary Anderson), HERS 314 and HERS 370 (Dr. Phil Appicelli), PHYS 115 (Gary Shields), STAT 210 (Silas Bergen).

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