Piazza is a student-driven question and answer service that some instructors use for their courses. Students can collaboratively work on answers by adding, modifying or deleting content. Instructors can view students’ questions and answers, post their own questions and answers, and endorse the best responses. The University of Wisconsin-Madison selected Piazza as an addition to the Learn@UW suite of teaching and learning technologies to complement existing tools in the Canvas learning management system (LMS).
Piazza is a cloud-based service hosted by the vendor. UW-Madison and the Piazza organization have reached an agreement that provides protection for student and faculty data and intellectual property.
- Simple and intuitive interface
- Class polling and discussion capabilities
- Wiki-style format allows for a single high-quality answer or discussion thread that users collectively build, so they can read one answer instead of combing through dozens of comments
- iOS and Android apps available
- Instructors can choose whether to enable anonymous posts
- Instructor endorsements of student questions and answers
- Student participation reports allow instructor to see who prefers to ask, answer, or just read
- Support for LaTeX
- Information and content is easily searchable
- Easily organized using topic “folders”
Piazza is integrated with the Canvas learning management system (LMS) to offer single sign-on capabilities for students and instructors, directly from online courses.
In Piazza, instructor and TA involvement can range across a spectrum. They can:
- Simply let the students use the space without overseeing or visiting
- Passively observe student interactions
- Moderate answers and endorse or correct a student answer
- Actively post questions and answers
- Use Piazza for all non-class Q&A eliminating cluttered email inboxes
Piazza can be used as a discussion board. You can learn more about the value of online discussions in the “What are the pedagogical uses of online discussion boards” guide.
Getting Started (for Instructors or for Students)
To access Piazza from your Canvas course, go to your course, then refer to the Learn@UW-Madison Piazza KnowledgeBase for helpful information on how to get started.
- Learn@UW-Madison Piazza KnowledgeBase
- Piazza Support Center (provided by the vendor)
- Piazza Product Overview (provided by the vendor)
The Learn@UW-Madison team is also available to consult with instructors and instructional staff on selecting and using the right learning technology to improve student success. You can contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the Learn@UW KnowledgeBase offers helpful documents for instructors, course owners and students.