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Piazza

Last Updated: February 23rd, 2017

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Overview

Piazza is a free and easy to use Wiki-style Q&A platform. Anyone can ask and answer questions on Piazza. With students teaching students, Piazza is a type of Discussion Board tool that allows asynchronous conversations to continue, so the instructor doesn’t have to be present for the entire conversation. Like a discussion board, students can contribute to any public thread in a forum. Piazza gives anonymity options to encourage everyone – even shy students – to ask and answer questions. Instructor endorsements of good questions and answers let instructors push the class in the right direction. Piazza also allows students to take the lead by starting discussion post, posting questions and collaborating to edit responses to questions posted.

Piazza works because there are tools such as folders that help the instructor manage their course. Particular assignments or topics can be made into folders to make it easy to filter questions, so the course is easier to manage. Folders also make it easier for students to locate the questions, topics, and answers they may be looking for.

Piazza is often integrated in Learning Management Systems and only takes a few minutes to setup.

Application to All Courses

Assessment:

  • Allows instructors to assess class participation through overall class and student participation reports.
  • Can be used as a discussion platform for class discussions, group activities, or debates.
  • Discussions can be associated with graded assignments in the LMS, and graded using an attached rubric.
  • Allows overall class report to see when in the term the most questions are being asked and how they align with what’s taking place in the class.

Learning Environment:

  • Use Piazza to create a learning community.
  • Mobile apps can be used to keep everyone connected no matter the location.
  • The entire course can be reached right away by posting announcements.
  • You can answer students’ questions once for all students to see.
  • Gives students who might not otherwise participate a safe environment to voice opinions.
  • Piazza has the ability to verify responses.
  • Piazza has three different types of post:
    • Question Post – If you need an answer
    • Note Post – If you don’t need an answer
    • Poll/In-Class Response – If you need a vote

Collaboration:

  • Piazza provides a place for students and instructors to build a community by facilitating online interaction.
  • The instructor or student can answer a students’ question for others in the course to see.
  • Announcements, resources, and files can be posted for all to see.
  • Piazza provides collaborative editing, so students and instructors can edit another student’s question, as well as the collaborative students’ answer.
  • Users can see how the question and answer has evolved over time by using the history slider at the top of each post.
  • Instructors can edit and delete content, or disable the history for posted content they do not approve of.

Getting Started

Additional Resources

For further details on best practices when using Discussion Boards, visit the CITT Online Teaching Resources page on Discussion Boards.

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