August 5, 2020
Top Hat, the Toronto based educational start-up, launched Slate on July 31, 2020. Slate is a new communication tool designed to allow students and professors at higher education institutions to collaborate and work together in virtual settings.
Top Hat’s Slate launch comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced higher education institutions to move courses online and which in turn, caused a number of learning difficulties. This was exemplified in Top Hat’s May 2020 survey, which revealed that an overwhelming majority of students found that online courses lacked the engagement and community that came with in-person courses. Mike Siladgze, founder and CEO of Top Hat, stated that as most Canadian universities move to an online or hybrid teaching format in the fall, educators and higher education institutions face an “uphill battle to deliver educational ROI to students in a virtual setting.”
Slate is designed to help with many of the difficulties that come with online classes. The product gives educators tools to incorporate active learning, improve student engagement and build communities in their online classes. Siladgze stated that the purpose of Slate is to give students and educators an opportunity to make social connections with each other despite being physically distant.
Top Hat’s Slate launch is a logical move for the start-up. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the move to online classes, Top Hat has been investing in e-learning initiatives. Prior to the Slate launch, Top Hat acquired Nelson Education, one of Canada’s largest education publishers, and digitized Nelson’s print-only textbooks. With physical distancing rules remaining in place in Canada for the foreseeable future, Top Hat will likely continue to invest in e-learning initiatives like Slate.
Author: Matthew Erdman