Toronto-based Top Hat, an active learning platform for higher education, has acquired bluedoor, a Minneapolis-based provider of publications for science disciplines. No financial terms were disclosed. Top Hat is backed by Georgian Partners, Inovia Capital, Union Square Ventures, Emergence Capital, Leaders Fund and other venture capital investors.
TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Top Hat, the leading active learning platform for higher education, has acquired bluedoor, an independent press that specializes in educational content for the sciences in higher education. Details of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition includes more than 400 labs and course materials used by more than 500 authors. These materials are being converted into digital courseware on Top Hat’s platform and infused with interactive elements, enabling educators to bring active learning to life in both virtual and in-person classrooms.
bluedoor is a leading publisher of high-quality and flexible publications for science disciplines, and its content is used at more than 400 institutions in the United States. By converting bluedoor’s print-only content into interactive digital courseware, Top Hat is ensuring that educators who adopt these titles will now be able to engage and motivate students in any teaching environment, whether online or in-person, synchronous or asynchronous, at a time of great uncertainty in higher education brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“bluedoor has a stellar reputation as an expert in educational content for the sciences,” said Mike Silagadze, founder and CEO, Top Hat. “Our partnership has evolved into a perfect fit for bluedoor to join Top Hat and strengthen our market position in the science disciplines. We are excited to work as one team to empower educators with the tools and content they need to easily and effectively encourage and support student outcomes.”
“At bluedoor, our focus has always been on empowering educators with flexible high-quality content,” said Jon Earl, CEO, bluedoor. “By joining Top Hat and transforming our content into interactive digital courseware on its all-in-one platform, we can enable more educators to deliver their courses effectively and bring active learning to life for their students.”
“By migrating my bluedoor lab manual onto Top Hat’s all-in-one learning platform, I’ve been able to create a fully interactive version that engages students both inside and outside the lab, with videos, GIFs, and assessments that provide in-depth feedback on correct and incorrect answers,” said Derek Weber, Professor Biology and Microbiology at Raritan Valley Community College, and author of Focusing on Health: Laboratory Exercises in Microbiology. “This instant feedback informs students of their strengths and weaknesses in real time, and enables instructors to identify and focus on those concepts that are most challenging to students. This feature is especially useful in an online or hybrid environment.”
As Higher Education Moves Online, Every Traditional Publisher Needs a Digital Distribution Strategy
In February, 2020, Top Hat announced it raised $55M USD in Series D financing to drive the shift from traditional textbooks to digital interactive course materials. The company is working with print publishers like Fountainhead Press to transform their print-only content into interactive digital courseware. At the same time, Top Hat is scaling its ability to empower professors with the technology and support to author, adopt, curate, and adapt course materials to create personalized and responsive learning experiences for students.
Prior to the acquisition of bluedoor, Top Hat acquired the Canadian domestic higher ed textbook business from Nelson, Canada’s largest educational publisher, to expand its broad portfolio of best-in-class content delivered through Top Hat’s active learning platform. The acquisition transformed the Canadian higher education publishing landscape and positioned Top Hat as a leading player in the industry.
“The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare the urgent need for a substantial overhaul of the traditional textbook industry,” said Silagadze. “Prior to the pandemic, we were already seeing the digital transformation of educational content. The events of the last few months have drastically accelerated that shift to help students overcome heightened challenges associated with the cost, accessibility, and relevance of print textbooks. And once the crisis has ended, both educators and students are not likely to forget the improved learning experience offered by interactive digital content. Every traditional publisher needs a digital distribution strategy—Top Hat makes that possible, with the added benefit of a proven active learning platform designed to improve student outcomes.”
Top Hat’s Active Learning Platform Enables Educators to Deliver Engaging and Effective Learning Experiences in the Fall and Beyond
Top Hat is the only all-in-one courseware platform that enables active learning—a proven student-centred teaching pedagogy that promotes deep understanding, critical thinking, and subject mastery—by encouraging students to engage with the content before, during, and after class, in both in-person and online courses. As the complete solution for any teaching scenario, Top Hat offers tools for in-person as well as synchronous and asynchronous online learning, while creating active engagement and connections with students inside and outside virtual class meetings.
About Top Hat
Top Hat is the only all-in-one courseware platform that enables active learning—a proven student-centred teaching pedagogy that promotes deep understanding, critical thinking, and subject mastery—with interactive content, tools, and activities. Millions of students at 750 leading North American colleges and universities use Top Hat to teach and engage with students before, during, and after class, in both in-person and online education.