School of Nursing (SoN) makes TopHat, a web-based student response system (endorsed for campus-wide use in January 2016), available to all SoN students enrolled in undergraduate courses (faculty accounts are always free).
During class meetings of courses that enroll 50, 70, or – as SoN undergraduate courses often do – 152 students, it’s difficult to give everyone a chance to participate by asking or answering questions during class. When a question is asked during class by the instructor, it’s just a few students who get a chance to participate. For the instructor, it’s almost like watching a tip of the iceberg from a deck of the ship: most of what’s there, is hidden under the surface, and cannot be seen – there is no way for the instructor to know if most of the students understood the material.
Student Response Systems (SRS) changed that, allowing all students in even very large courses to become actively engaged, and allowing instructors to get real-time assessment of students’ understanding or ask for feedback. But the early implementations of this technology had serious shortcomings: all SRSs required a purchase of a separate “clicker” device, which students had to remember to bring to class, and to make sure that the batteries were charged. And most “clicker” systems allowed only one-letter or numeric answers to questions.
TopHat is a much better solution – it does NOT require that students purchase a separate “clicker” device. Instead, it allows students to use a laptop, which they already have in class (read SoN laptop policy PDF). TopHat also supports a wide range of question types, including more complex multiple choice options that have ever been possible with clickers: ordering/ranking and matching questions, short text answers, and even image-based questions for which students identify and click a part of an image to answer a question.
In other words, TopHat is a very good way for students to practice all types of questions they will find on their NCLEX-RN board exam. TopHat also includes an attendance module that allows instructors to take attendance in large courses in less than 15 seconds!
Beginning in the spring semester of 2016, UW-Madison campus has selected and endorsed TopHat as the SRS system of choice for the campus. This means that for both students and faculty, TopHat now allows UW Net-ID log-in, making it unnecessary to remember yet another account log-in/password info. In the near future UW-Madison campus also plans on adding a TopHat-to-D2L gradebook integration (which will make our TAs very happy).
In the School of Nursing we have been using TopHat in the undergraduate program for over 2 years. Depending on the course, TopHat is used for attendance and / or in-class quizzes in large (50-152) undergraduate courses taught in the ALCs, including N212, N312, N301, N302, N415, and some sections of N422. All SoN undergrads receive a free TopHat activation code. Student accounts activated with the code may also be used for any other UW-Madison course that uses TopHat, not just SoN courses, without any .
Creating a (free) student account, and completing a sample quiz, is a part of New Student Orientation (Unit 6) on D2L, which all incoming undergrads admitted to the Nursing program must complete online in mid-August, as a pre-requisite for attending the Welcome Into Nursing (WIN) orientation at Cooper Hall.
If you are a SoN undergrad, and have not received your free TopHat activation code, or can’t find the activation code email, please send an email request, with your first and last name, and your UW-Madison email address to SoN academic technology staff, at email@example.com. Please note that we can only re-send the activation code email to your official UW-Madison email address ( @wisc.edu ) associated with your name in the University directory.
TopHat for SoN Faculty
In 2015-16 and 2016-17 all SoN undergrads receive a TopHat access code, so they do not need to purchase anything.
TopHat accounts are always free to faculty. Beginning in February 2016, if you are a SoN faculty, and you plan to use TopHat in a course in which several people (you, your co-instructor, course TAs, and AT support staff) will need access to course’s TopHat account, please contact SoN academic technology staff, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will set up the TopHat course up for you (please allow 24-36 hours).
SoN academic technology staff will work with you and your TAs to create TopHat quizzes, including the preparation & set-up of image-based questions. We have a sample selection of anatomical illustrations from N212 and N301 textbooks that have been converted into label-matching and click-on-image TopHat questions, and have successfully been used for team-based learning (TBL) activities. We can also work with faculty to adapt any of over 75 million high-quality shutterstock.com images (licensed by SoN – see examples) for in-class use with TopHat.
For Faculty – How to use TopHat in your course?
- SoN faculty have several options to learn more about TopHat:
- Schedule a one-to-one consultation with SoN academic technology staff that fits your schedule, and course development timeline. We will assist you in setting up your course, and adding and trying out different types of questions you can use during class. If you prefer, we can meet in the classroom where you teach, to get a better sense how TopHat works in that setting. Please email email@example.com to schedule.
- Watch a 30 minute overview screencast / video at the bottom of this page (see specific list of times + topics below). This SoN screencast guides you through the process of creating a new course in TopHat, and adding and using several types of questions during class. It also shows what TopHat screen looks like from both the instructor’s, and the student’s perspective. It covers similar material as our workshop, and is available any time when you have a moment. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any follow-up questions.
- There are several additional resources available online to anyone, developed and provided by TopHat:
- Online Information: TopHat offers access to detailed instructions and a knowledge online at the TopHat support site. Please note that some of the processes described on the TopHat website are different for SoN students (for example, we provide students with activation codes, so there is not need for them to buy subscriptions; please note that we can not offer refunds to students who purchased a subscription instead of using an activation code).
- PDF Instructor Guide: You can download a PDF with a detailed Instructor’s Guide.
The list of topics covered in the video above (min:sec Topic):
- 1:00 Creating a new course and suggested naming conventions for new Nursing courses
- 2:25 Adding a one-time password students need to know to enroll (and why this is a very good idea)
- 4:45 Looking at a sample course structure
- 5:10 Navigation Pane: Activating and deactivating your course
- 6:20 Course Settings dialog
- 11:00 Using TopHat to take attendance QUICKLY (particularly useful in very large courses taught in the ALC)
- 12:50 Intro to types of questions TopHat supports, and how to create / edit them
- 16:25 Creating folders for storing questions that are related
- 17:30 Activating questions (one by one, or the entire folder of questions)
- 22:30 Different types of questions TopHat supports
- 23:25 Multiple choice questions
- 25:28 Short answer questions
- 26:22 Sorting questions
- 27:23 Matching questions
- 28:55 Multiple choice with an image and multi-select (requires you select several answers not just one – aka: check all that apply)