With classes moving online due to the spread of COVID-19, it can be challenging to create an optimal remote teaching and learning environment. As an instructor, you can use Top Hat alongside other video and messaging tools to facilitate content delivery and assessments, preserving the key benefits of in-class learning while teaching remotely. Read on to learn how Top Hat can help your students thrive in a variety of remote teaching situations.

Host Video Lectures, In Real Time

Top Hat boasts video and slide capabilities to let professors seamlessly hold synchronous lectures. By leveraging our integration with video-conferencing software Zoom, you can schedule and run live remote learning sessions with your students to replace in-class time.

Presenting slides while hosting a Zoom lecture in Top Hat also provides you with the option to take attendance and track student participation, holding students accountable despite a change in the learning environment. Top Hat’s platform offers diverse interactive activities and question types. Leverage videos, click-on target questions, and discussion forums to create variety in reviewing course concepts. With options for auto-graded and non-graded assessments, students are able to practice and master their skills outside of your synchronous lectures.

Using a singular platform like Top Hat helps students follow the flow of a course by showing how learning activities connect. While you deliver your lecture, you can present your slides in a Top Hat course so your students can follow along with lecture content. This allows you to check student comprehension of course content during class time. With insight into where students are struggling, you can determine which areas need further review, which you can address in the next remote live lecture or through homework and discussion questions.

Let Students Learn Independently, In a Self-Paced Environment

Top Hat also allows for an asynchronous learning experience. Once slides or pre-recorded lecture videos are finalized via Zoom or YouTube Live, they can be saved and uploaded into a Top Hat course. This way, instructors can take advantage of the flexibility of working with a recorded lecture by breaking a video up into segments and interspersing with Top Hat questions. This helps make content digestible and gives students the opportunity to think critically about the lecture material as they are learning it.

Some remote learning environments prevent students from interacting with questions and comments from their peers. However, Top Hat offers discussion threads as an easy way to compensate and allow for open dialogue between learners. Leaving a discussion open in your course helps capture students’ questions and feedback and can guide future lecture content as well.

Instructors can also upload files, videos and homework questions for students to download as personal review and study tools. Everything is kept in one place on the Top Hat platform, so students are able to thrive in a self-paced environment.

Tests and Assessments

The Pages feature in Top Hat lets you create an open book assessment—a flexible measure necessary in remote teaching environments. With a variety of question types available, Top Hat’s online open-book assessments provide a unique opportunity to test students’ critical thinking skills, as well as their understanding of course material.

When designing your assessment, it is important to understand that your students can search the Internet for answers. The questions you are asking for formative quizzes should correspond in level of difficulty to the reality of a remote teaching and learning situation. This is also an opportunity to make the most of the connected nature of online learning through Top Hat by asking students to work with peers to solve complex problems. For summative evaluations, Top Hat now offers secure, proctored tests and exams that students can take on their own computers, at a pre-set time and from any location, with optional student monitorings via webcam to give professors and students additional flexibility fo.

Click here to learn more about Top Hat’s virtual classroom capabilities—and reimagine just how much better online, blended and face-to-face courses can be.

Eric Davis, professor at Bellevue College, highlights how he uses Top Hat to teach remotely

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