A little bit of time invested in learning new ways of doing something can pay huge dividends in the future. Top Hat is a single, end-to-end teaching platform—which means you can use its collection of tools to support your students at every stage of the learning process: before class, as well as during and after.
Course preparation is becoming increasingly squeezed out by other time pressures. Tenured and tenure-track professors often have research and administration priorities to juggle along with teaching. Adjunct professors, on the other hand, might not even know they are teaching a course until they are hired a week before class begins. And making sure that all the materials and structure is in place before students start—and while they study—can have a profound effect on student success and eventual feedback through course evaluations.
Time saving is also important while you’re teaching. Grading in-class quizzes manually takes time and work; keeping on top of all your students’ results is hard to do on an ongoing basis.
Here are a couple of ways that you can save time with Top Hat; either when you’re producing a new course, retooling an existing one for a new semester, or finding ways to more efficiently teach.
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1. The latest version of your textbook, your way
Say goodbye to photocopying supplements and wading through four-year-old print textbooks to direct your students to the right paragraphs. With your textbook in Top Hat, you can edit it to include only the content you want, or to update it with any recent research—and to make sure it fits your instructional style.
Plus, when you use a textbook from Top Hat’s Marketplace, updates to assigned content happen automatically on your students’ devices—when updated versions of a textbook come out, and if you make amendments to the content.
Each Top Hat Textbook contains embedded, auto-graded questions that support curriculum objectives, and provide students with real-time feedback so that they can maximize the effectiveness of independent study. By adopting interactive content in your class, you can consolidate all of your resources in one place, making it easy for students to see the big picture.
2. Easily update your questions with content packs
Another perk of the Top Hat Marketplace? The content you find there can save the hours you’d typically spend rewriting and assigning new question sets every semester.
The Top Hat Marketplace has new content added regularly—not just textbooks, but also course notes, slide decks and question packs. To find them, search in your subject matter or content area, and you will see snapshot cards, along with any cost your students will need to pay. To take a deeper look, simply click on the card or content item title to preview it.
With full access to the Top Hat Marketplace, you can add the content collection in its entirety to your course, or deselect the items that are not relevant prior to uploading. The import works in the background—you can continue browsing the Top Hat Marketplace or choose to return to your course.
3. Save time with support
When you’re free from performing repetitive tasks, such as copying and pasting questions, your precious time is preserved. And whether you’ve just started out with Top Hat, or you’re a veteran, we have a team of instructional designers on call to guide you through importing content, updating your questions, or whatever you need to be successful. Here’s a training pack designed to help you get the most out of Top Hat.
4. Quickly set tests, rapidly get results
The Top Hat Marketplace can also be used for creating summative assessments—that is, tests that count towards a final grade. Even better, exams can be designed in minutes by importing questions.
With Top Hat, professors can easily build tests and quizzes online by leveraging a wide variety of questions—from multiple choice, to fill in the blanks, to lengthier written answers—and students compete them BYOD-style (bring your own device, i.e. on a smartphone, tablet or laptop) using a one-time access code.
You (and your TA) don’t have to spend the majority of a day hunched over papers grading them—and instead of having to wait weeks for test results, students receive near immediate feedback.
5. Ongoing student accountability
Top Hat doesn’t just save you time when you’re setting up your course and deciding on the goals that your students need to hit. It’s designed to be easy to help you keep your students accountable.
- Regular attendance of lectures is one of the most important precursors of success. Top Hat allows you to accurately and securely track student attendance, using up-to-date technology; you don’t need to pass a sheet around class and manually count who is where. Attendance can be added automatically to course credit, should you wish, and you can excuse individual absences.
- Our e-mailed weekly course report makes it easy for professors to find out how students are progressing—and allows you to easily reach out via email to students who need help, perhaps suggesting that they attend your office hours. What you won’t need to do is spend time digging through results.
- The easy-to-use Top Hat gradebook can help monitor your students’ grades throughout the term; it’s the launching pad within the Top Hat platform where professors can gain insights into student progress and performance. Learn more about it here:
Ultimately, Top Hat is a platform designed around the way that teachers teach—one that supports modern learning methods and makes them swift and straightforward to implement. To speak with an expert about how Top Hat can save you time when you prepare for your classes, book a personalized demo here.