Top Hat Monocle: demonstration summary

Mohsen Shahini, a co-founder of Top Hat Monocle, demonstrated his classroom interaction and online homework tool  for the FHS T&L group. Top Hat Monocle is a web-based alternative to iClicker technology. It uses devices that students already own such as laptops, tablets and smartphones. Cellphones are also supported but with less functionality.


Instructors: Create a free account on the company website and create separate folders for each course. Multiple courses are supported for both instructors and students with a single account. Questions can be developed in advance and put into an online  folder, shown in a PowerPoint slide, or  made up ‘on the fly’. There is a download for a presentation tool  that allows the instructor to simultaneously run a PowerPoint presentation while using  the interactive tool (rather than switching between a presentation and a website). Questions are shown during lectures and students select an answer using their device. Results can then be displayed to the class.

Students: Register and buy a subscription (20$ per semester or 38$ for 5 years; unlimited courses), or a discounted bulk subscription may be bought by the institution on behalf of the student. Students logon to the website during class (laptop), use a downloadable App on their smartphone, or text message their responses to a supplied number.


Top Hat Monocle has several features that are not shared by iClicker. These include:

1) Numeric, and word answer questions in addition to conventional multiple choice questions. Clickers only allow MC questions.

2) Questions can be made available to students outside of class for review at home.

3) There is an interactive demo module; these comprise simple graphical demonstrations and questions. There are dozens available for each topic and they can be custom built by Top Hat Monocle (no cost) at the request of the instructor.

4) Students have the option of writing questions to the instructor during class creating the opportunity for a two-way dialogue.

5) There is an online gradebook so students can track their progress.

6) Students are less likely to forget or lend out their smartphone and laptop.

Take a look….and tell us what you think!

To learn more, tour the Top Hat Monocle classroom response systemor read their active learning blog for examples from instructors who use this technical device to enhance their teaching and to improve the learning experience among students.

Screen capture of a multiple choice question.

Screen capture of a Q&A window.


We are connecting with some SFU instructors who are planning to use this in their classes and will arrange some demos to view this in action.