Top Hat is a worthwhile replacement to Turning Technologies
October 31, 2019

Top Hat is a worthwhile replacement to Turning Technologies

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Top Hat

Top Hat is used across the whole organization. Top Hat was originally piloted to replace Turning Technologies, which was having difficulties with stability and pricing as they moved from strictly a hardware solution to their cloud solution. It is used mostly for keeping students engaged in classrooms, particularly the larger courses. It is also used as an attendance tracking tool that syncs with the instructor's gradebook. Because it is a BYOD (bring-your-own-device), it was easier for instructors to implement and ensure students were able to participate.
  • Easy to use.
  • Many question types beyond multiple choice.
  • Attendance.
  • Gradebook syncing.
  • If students are paying, it's a confusing onboarding process for students and instructors and could be better streamlined.
  • The Android app not as well polished as iOS.
  • A better, free, or ad-supported model might be more palpable to students.
  • Integration directly with PowerPoint -- not requiring instructors to upload their slides to Top Hat.
  • One of the better ways to track attendance in a mostly secure and automated way.
  • Promotes more active learning, especially in large classrooms.
  • Unpopular if students have to pay.
Turning Technologies' bread and butter was its rock-solid integration with PowerPoint and physical devices. Their move to the cloud was a very rocky road and opened the door to Top Hat who was a cloud-first solution. Overall Turning Technologies was better at ensuring every student could participate assuming they bought the clicker and registered. However, as they pushed their cloud solution, more and more issues crept up, to where it made sense to consider going to a full cloud implementation.
The initial rollout of Top Hat was not without its issues. Top Hat was very responsive, and even sent representatives to be onsite during the first couple of days of the start of class to help instructors and students. They were very knowledgeable about the product, but the sales team was pushy at times. At several times, we had to inform them not to reach out to instructors directly to pitch their service while we were still piloting.

Do you think Top Hat delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Top Hat's feature set?

Yes

Did Top Hat live up to sales and marketing promises?

I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process

Did implementation of Top Hat go as expected?

Yes

Would you buy Top Hat again?

Yes

Top Hat is best suited if the institution is seriously able to consider purchasing a sitewide license. Making students pay in order to participate or take attendance is a hard pill to swallow. Also, if Top Hat is used for grading purposes it puts a very high bar to ensure all the technology works every single time. Can the wifi network handle the additional load of hundreds of students all pinging the access point at the same time? If students are paying, they will expect perfection or riot. It's a bit of chicken and the egg issue. Many faculty will not adopt Top Hat or response collection system if students have to pay for it, regardless of whether it provides educational value. However, it's hard to warrant a sitewide license if there's not a great deal of usage of across campus.

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