Personal Response Systems (PRS – also known as Clickers and a variety of acronyms such as EVS, ARS, SRS, etc.) have been in use at the University of Edinburgh since 2004. The technology adds interactivity and student engagement to lectures by enabling lecturers to ask questions of the students and have them all reply anonymously. This allows lecturers to gauge student understanding but also to implement new pedagogies, such as peer instruction, more easily with large class sizes. 

The current system has been useful but is dated and limited in its functionality. New feature rich technologies are now available - many utilising mobile devices - and with the current system at end-of-life it was timely to procure a system that offers new opportunities for the University.

Project TEL011 was set up to procure and a supplier and product - Top Hat - has been awarded the contract.

The service is hosted by Top Hat, and will run software on mobile devices rather than dedicated handsets.

This project will implement the system.



  • Implement the system
  • Configure the system for UoE use
  • Configure the system for integration with Single Sign-On
  • Configure the system for integration with Learn
  • Ensure it installs on lecture theatre PCs


  • Prepare support materials
  • Prepare staff with training
  • Load Testing with Top Hat
  • Capacity Testing of UoE WiFI
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Confirm Support arrangements within IS and between IS and Top Hat, to match the agreement set out in the SLA  
  • Communications to staff and students - directly and via College representatives
  • Decomissioning of old Clickers System



  • To prepare staff and students for the new personal response system
  • Ensure that the system is ready for use for staff and students by August 2015
  • Payment schedule milestones are met by the Supplier (Payment schedule is confirmed in the T&C's as defined by project TEL011)  


  • A Tested System - this includes all the issues that Top Hat have agreed to fix/develop
  • A System that integrates with Single Sign-On so that students do not have to have a separate login (Shibboleth will be the mechanism : documentation to be presented to the Architecture Group)
  • A System that integrates with Learn so that student details can be loaded from Learn in batch (LTI web interfaces will be the mechanism : documentation to be presented to the Architecture Group)
  • A System that installs easily on lecture PC's
  • A System that provides mobile interface for most mobiles and has web-based alternative for minority devices
  • Training and Support Materials
  • A Communcation Plan detailing who will be told what, by who, when and how - and how the project will receive feedback  

Also necessary for launch, but not within the project scope - a policy document from Colleges on mobile device usage - readiness to upgrade WiFi where is becomes necessary in locations that show issues when PRS is in use - the SLA for TopHat support of UoE is defined by the legal agreement set out by procurement project TEL011



  • An up to date PRS that allows students to use their own devices
  • Better means of delivering feedback on sessions to students
  • New pedagogies enabled for staff - through new question types and out of class activities
  • Removal of proprietary hardware allows the expansion of the use of PRS beyond the limited pool of courses that use them now
  • Web enabled responses allows diverse communities, that may be physically remote from one another, to interact together
  • SSOallows staff and students to login with EASE credentials to minimise effort, enforce consistency and transparency, and facilitate identification  within Top Hat sessions ands reports



Success Criteria


  • Staff and students aware that there is a new system and prepared for its use by start of the academic year
  • System configured for Edinburgh use, and installing without issues on lecture theatre computers, and mobile devices for staff and students
  • Uptake of the service



Project Info

Next Generation Personal Response System Implementation
ISG - Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL)
Project Manager
Maurice Franceschi
Project Sponsor
Mark Wetton
Current Stage
Start Date
Planning Date
Delivery Date
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Programme Priority
Overall Priority