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Top Hat Student Guide

Top Hat is a classroom response system available for instructors at MSU to engage students with interactive content during their classroom lectures and online. Students use their own mobile devices to answer questions, view annotated slides, join discussions, and enter attendance codes when prompted. If the instructor’s Top Hat site is integrated with a D2L course, the overall grade (i.e., attendance and quiz scores) can be synched with the D2L gradebook.

Students need to set up a separate account in Top Hat and pay a subscription fee in order to use the system. Students pay one fee for access to unlimited courses during that time period. Information on pricing can be found at the following site: Top Hat Pricing.

What you need to get up and running with Top Hat:

  • an internet connection
  • a mobile phone (Android and iOS), tablet, or laptop. You can also submit answers in class using an older generation phone by sending a text message (more details below).
  • a paid subscription to Top Hat account

Account Creation and Enrollment

  1. Go to, click on Sign-up and select Student.
  2. Next, type in the 6-digit course join code that your professor provided for you (likely on your course syllabus or email from your professor). If you were not provided with the Top Hat course join code then click on Search by school to select your school, and then press Next.
  3. Enter in your personal information as instructed, agree to the terms and conditions by checking the box, and then click Next.
  4. When prompted for your student ID, enter your MSU NetID and click Next.
  5. Enter your phone number to submit responses during class via text message (SMS). To complete the verification process you will receive a 4 digit verification code.
  6. If you didn't enter a course join code earlier, you can search for your course by entering the course name or the professor’s last name and clicking Search. To enroll into the desired course, click Enroll.
  7. If your course requires a Top Hat subscription, you will need to purchase a subscription from one of the available options.

Note: If you elected to use a 7-day free trial, be sure to login to your account during the trial period to upgrade your account to a paid subscription in order to preserve your student data in the Top Hat course.

Accessing Top Hat

Once you have created your account and enrolled in your Top Hat course you will be able to engage with your professor in the classroom, responding to questions, submitting attendance, etc., using one of three submission options.

  • Web Browser (Laptop) - You can use the Top Hat website to participate in your courses. First, sign in and enter your course. When a question is asked by your professor, it will open automatically on your screen. Select or input your answer and then click Submit. You can also access any Homework or Review questions from the dashboard.
  • Mobile Devices (Android and iOS) - You can download and use the Android or iOS apps by searching for 'Top Hat' in the app store. After installing and logging into the app with your account information, you can access all your course content directly from your mobile device. When a question is asked by your professor, it will open automatically on your device's screen.
  • SMS/Text Messaging Response - You can submit answers in class using an older generation phone by sending a text message to your course’s response SMS Response phone number. Each time your professor activates a question, it is assigned a unique 4-digit SMS ID code. This code can be found below the answer values of any activated question on your professor's projected screen. To submit an answer, compose a text message starting with the 4- digit SMS ID code, followed by your selected answer value.

Trouble signing up or accessing your account

If you have any trouble signing up for your Top Hat student account, see the following websites for more details and screenshots. If you are still having issues, contact the support options listed further below.

Student: Creating Your Account
Student: Top Hat Overview and Getting Started Guide
Student: Questions not appearing on your device?

Checking Grades

If you’d like to see how you’re doing in a course, access the desired Top Hat course and view your Gradebook. The gradebook will show you an overview of all active, answered and unanswered items in your course. If the instructor syncs the grades in D2L, generally you will only see the overall average included in the D2L gradebook. Syncing the grades is a manual process. Instructors may do this on a weekly basis or, at minimum, by the end of a semester. In any case, you can always see the updated grade details in the Top Hat environment.


  • Contact IT Services at (517) 432-6200, (844) 678-6200, or, for help with setting up your Top Hat account.
  • Contact the Top Hat support team for further assistance by way of email (, the Contact Support area of their website, or calling 1-888-663-5491.
  • Top Hat Privacy Policy

MSU Documentation