Smash your iClicker after switching to Top Hat.

Photo: Robert Foreman

Some professors want you to text in class

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By Laura Woodward

Ryerson students can trade in their pricey multiple-choice anxiety-inducing iClickers for a free platform.

Top Hat allows students to interact with their instructor using standard SMS, WiFi or data.

The program is available as a smartphone app or on its website, saving students from having to carry an additional piece of technology and making them more likely to participate in the virtual student-professor interaction.

“The iClicker is useless, especially for how frequently we use it in class,” said Dhimitri Kucuqi, a third-year mechanical engineering student. “That 50 bucks could go towards textbooks.”

At the end of August, Top Hat held a workshop with Ryerson faculty where many professors got on board with the technology.

Kosha Bramesfeld, a Ryerson psychology professor, now uses Top Hat in her introduction to psychology class.

“Sometimes the students have questions that I would have never anticipated and it’s really hard for students to raise [their] hand in a huge lecture hall,” Bramesfeld said. “What I really like about [Top Hat], compared to the iClicker, is that students can enter longer text responses so I can better engage with [them].”

Top Hat works with Keynote and Powerpoint, providing students access to professors’ slides and allowing them to give live feedback within the presentation. Instructors can also track attendance, assign homework and game-ify the classroom by ranking students with the most correct answers on a leaderboard.

“It’s just been a week, but so far I like it and have no issues with it,” Bramesfeld said.

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