Major tech partnership to deliver “interactive” lectures

Top Hat and OpenStax College partner to deliver peer-reviewed textbooks and an interactive teaching platform.

openstax-top-hatTop Hat, a digital learning platform for higher education, today announced it is teaming up with OpenStax College, Rice University’s non-profit educational materials initiative.

Through the partnership, college professors are able to engage students through OpenStax College’s digital textbooks and be involved every step of the way before, during and after lectures through Top Hat’s interactive teaching platform. Professors have already adopted OpenStax College with Top Hat in a number of universities and colleges, including University of Kentucky, College of William and Mary, Collin College, Eastfield College, Tidewater Community College and Northern Illinois University.

“It’s becoming more evident that online learning alone cannot replace face-to-face lectures,” said Mike Silagadze, CEO of Top Hat. “Student outcomes continue to be superior when there is a component of live interaction as opposed to purely web-based learning. With digital textbooks from OpenStax College, Top Hat brings a new level of ease and depth to the university lecture. In-class student assessment can now encompass visual and auditory stimuli, and new ways of manipulating and interacting with classroom material through sorting, matching, click-on-target and word or number answer questions.”

(Next page: How professors are already using the partnership’s technology)

Top Hat allows professors to deliver their lecture from anywhere in the room on any tablet device. Through the partnership, professors can instantly gauge students’ understanding of the OpenStax College content. They can view and edit every chapter through Top Hat’s Pages module, as well as pose questions in-class, assign homework and grade responses. Students can access this content from OpenStax College on the mobile devices they already own, such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.

Professors are already taking advantage of Top Hat’s partnership with OpenStax College for a number of reasons:

  • Centralized teaching experience. Top Hat’s interactive teaching platform stores and delivers content and assessments to students during, before, or after class. Slides and other visuals are also uploaded, presented and provided for review on the same platform.
  • Affordable for students: While digital learning solutions from other publishers may be costly, adopting a free OpenStax College textbook with Top Hat is “affordable” (say the companies in a statement) at $29 per semester, $41 for a full year, or $77 for a student lifetime subscription.
  • Standard organization: The table of contents, scope and sequence of the textbooks align with standard course curricula, making them adaptable for existing courses.
  • Modular and customizable: Instructors can organize their courses however they would like. Through Top Hat, professors can also edit or rewrite their textbooks or introduce customized content of their own to support their pedagogy. Content can be customized for one- or two-semester courses.
  • Peer reviewed: OpenStax College textbooks are peer-reviewed, written by educators and are regularly updated to include up to date information.
  • Digital first, but also printable: Content is available on any device – laptop, tablet, or smartphone. However, should it be required, students can also print the PDF version of the textbook or buy a hard copy via Amazon or their campus bookstore.

“OpenStax College is committed to improving student access to quality learning materials,” said David Harris, editor-in-chief at OpenStax College. “Our digital textbooks are peer-reviewed and backed by top-of-the-line supporting materials. While our books meet standard scope and sequence requirements, they are also customizable if the professors’ needs are different. We look forward to seeing how professors and students work with our materials through Top Hat.”

OpenStax College textbooks available with Top Hat include Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, College Physics, Concepts of Biology (Non-Majors Biology), Introduction to Sociology 2e, Introductory Statistics, Principles of Economics, Principles of Macroeconomics and Principles of Microeconomics. Top Hat will also soon offer Algebra and Trigonometry, Chemistry, Precalculus, U.S. History and Psychology.

To learn more about the partnership between Top Hat and OpenStax College, visit

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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