Top Hat Monocle Launches Freemium Accounts For Classes With Fewer Than 30 Students, Changes Name To ‘Top Hat’

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Education, Technology
Tags: , , , ,

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Top Hat Monocle, the Toronto-based provider of
mobile-based classroom response systems, has
decided to get Lasik and has dropped the ‘monocle’
from its name and logo. Top Hat, as the company will
now be known, is celebrating this move with the
launch of a redesigned corporate site at TopHat.com and, more importantly, it also
switching to a freemium model where classes with
fewer than 30 students can now use its tools for free. The tool was always free for educators, but students
had to pay $20 per semester to subscribe to the
service. As Andrew D’Souza, Top Hat’s COO told me
yesterday, the company decided to make this switch
in order to accommodate a number of different
scenarios. Many teachers, for example, want to adopt Top Hat in the middle of the semester but don’t want
to have to ask their students to pay at that point.
Some also just want to try it, but they don’t want their
students to have to sign up and pay – especially if
they aren’t sure that they’ll continue to use it. Top Hat
is also seeing strong interest from teachers in K-12 schools and this switch should help them to use its
tools, too. The 30-person limit, he told me, is meant
to ensure that the company’s costs for offering the
free service (mostly SMS fees), remain reasonable. “Our goal is to put Top Hat in the hands of every
student and teacher” D’Souza said in the
announcement today. “With this new pricing model,
we’re eliminating the barrier for instructors to give the
platform a try in their class. We expect this to
significantly accelerate the word-of-mouth-driven adoption we’re already seeing.” As for the name change, D’Souza told me that for a
mobile-first company, “Top Hat Monocle” was always
a very long name. Half-jokingly, he also added that
‘monocle’ turned out to be hard to spell for many
users. Quite a few people were already referring to the
company as ‘Top Hat’ anyway and the team decided that the tool had enough brand recognition that
making the switch wasn’t very risky. Top Hat is currently being used in 350 universities
worldwide.

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