Piazza for Instructors

What is Piazza?
Piazza is a free online platform for
class Q&A that replaces mailing lists
and bulletin boards
Why Do Instructors Use Piazza?
• Saves time
– Fewer redundant questions
– Faster workflow than email, newsgroups
• Improves collaboration environment
– More students’ posts, more students’ answers
– Answers better, easier to find
• Focuses effort
– Instant understanding of what’s confusing
– Ability to focus 1:1 on students who need help
Other Important Facts
Piazza is free
Piazza complies with FERPA
Anyone with a .edu can sign up at any time
You can enroll students directly by entering
their emails or by sending them a special link
• iOS and Android apps are now available
Key Tips for Success
• Stop answering group questions via email
• Post useful content on Piazza
• Give positive feedback to participants
Piazza 101: The Dashboard
Question Feed
Piazza 101: Question Feed
Chronological organization makes it easy to keep
on top of new content
Filters let you focus immediately on unresolved or
updated content
Numbers in grey indicate how many updates since
you last read this
tells you when a student has responded, so
you can quickly verify the answer
Tells you a student’s response has been endorsed
by an instructor, so you can rest easy
tells you whether an instructor has already
responded, so you save time
Piazza 101: Question Panel
• Asked by student
• Instructors can edit, clarify
Students’ Response
• Students and instructors edit
• Creates collective understanding
• Can be endorsed by instructors
Instructors’ Response
• Instructors edit collaboratively
• Becomes source of truth when there’s
Piazza 101: Follow-Ups
Mark as resolved to avoid redundant
Discussion capabilities for deeper
dives into questions
Responses come in real-time, like a chat room
Why It Works for Students
One answer means less searching
Lower barrier to asking questions
Lower barrier to a “partial” answer
Quick turn-around means high engagement
“Piazza is the third tab, beside Facebook and
mail, that students have open when they study”
Piazza 201: Tags
• Let you, students categorize posts
• Make finding, filtering topics easier
• Anyone can create a tag by prepending a word
with #
Piazza 201: Tags
• Set up numbered tags for recurring themes
– Problem sets, labs, exams
– Prevent “tag sprawl,” e.g. #hw1 v. #homework1
Piazza 201: Privacy
Students can post
anonymously to their
peers, so they feel free to
post “dumb” questions
Optionally, they can be
anonymous to instructors
Students may use partial
names to maintain
Piazza 201: Statistics
Watch activity trends to
see when students
have more questions or
when attention flags
See which individual
students (or
instructors) are most
How I Use Piazza
• Check in 3-4 times per day for updates, encourage
TA’s to do same
• Look for questions with no response or only
students’ response
• Endorse students’ responses when possible
• Encourage students to ask questions on Piazza after
lecture, answer right away
Seminar/Readings Courses
• Use students’ response to created shared
understanding of class readings
– Assign teams for each reading
– Edit responses for clarity
• Encourage pre- and post-seminar discussions
– Use follow-up discussions to focus on readings
– Use notes/questions for lecture questions

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