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Instructor Support Resources

The first step to using Top Hat is creating an account, followed by a course. The entire process from start to finish should take no more than 2-3 minutes. Simply navigate to, click the Sign-up button, and then identify that you want to create a professor’s account.

You can step through the process of setting up account, creating a course, and posing your first question to students with our step-by-step getting started page.

Using Top Hat in conjunction with other video and messaging tools can facilitate content delivery and assessment, if you have to teach remotely.  Here are some ways you can teach remotely with Top Hat:

Synchronous Lectures
Holding your lectures at the same scheduled time remotely.
Asynchronous Lectures
Cancelling live lectures and assigning material for self-paced learning.
Tests & Exams
Administering a digital test or exam remotely.
  • Livestream your lecture
  • Launch Top Hat attendance and questions during your lecture
  • Create a post-lecture assignment
  • Record your lecture and embed it in an assignment
  • Open a discussion thread to capture students’ questions
  • Share files with your students in Top Hat


Coordinate multiple sections containing practical-based course material.
Virtual Office Hours
Field questions from your students in a live discussion thread.
  • Set-up multiple sections with specific lab leaders
  • Create engaging and accessible lab assignments
  • Livestream your lab while launching real-time questions and attendance
  • Open a discussion thread to capture students’ questions
  • Prioritize questions based on their popularity
  • Deliver resources and assessment opportunities based on the questions in the discussion

Who will help me get started using Top Hat?

  • Throughout the semester, training sessions with Top Hat facilitators will be offered.
  • The Top Hat on-demand resources available in the Top Hat knowledge base has quick answers to most of the common questions about the product.
  • The CFT has created a step-by-step guide to help you get started using Top hat
  • The Center for Teaching’s Brightspace Support team provides individual consultations for faculty who want to get up and running with Top Hat. Even if you are already using Top Hat and aren’t sure how to do something with the product, feel free to contact us for help.

I’m having technical trouble with my Top Hat account. Who can help me figure out what’s wrong.

Help Desk support is provided directly with Top Hat. you can reach Top Hat technical support for the product in the following ways:

What if one of my students cannot participate using Top Hat because they don’t have a device?

Note that many Vanderbilt students have mobile devices (phones, tablets, laptops) they can use with Top Hat, but some students may not already own such a device. Instructors can direct such students to the Jean and Alexander Heard Library, which has both laptops and tablets available for students to check out on a short term basis.

Students enrolled in courses requiring Top Hat use who don’t have an appropriate mobile device and who have demonstrated financial need may also contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to request financial assistance in purchasing a basic tablet. Please direct such students to the Office of Student Financial Aid ( 615-322-3591).

How do I give my TA access to my Top Hat course?

The Teaching Assistant role allows individuals to be added to courses with limited course management privileges. This role is particularly useful for the addition of individuals who have used (or are using) Top Hat as a student and simply need teaching assistant privileges enabled for specific courses on their existing student account. You can learn how with this step-by-step guide for Adding a TA to your Top Hat Course.

NOTE: Teaching Assistants do not have access to a course’s Gradebook, Student Manager or Course Settings. Access to these areas is restricted to only those that are listed as a Professor on a course.

Quick Links to step-by-step guides

  1. How to ask the same question twice during class
  2. Getting Started
  3. Creating Content
  4. Enrolling Students in your Course
  5. Presenting Content
  6. Student Participation
  7. Gradebook
  8. Presenting your Slides
  9. Asking a Top Hat Question
  10. Using Discussions
  11. Using the Presentation Tool
  12. iPad Application