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Piazza

Piazza Q&A platform for better student engagement.

Piazza provides a flexible approach to student-centered discourse. Discussions can be instructor- or student-led, enabling peer-learning at scale. Piazza is easily integrated with a Canvas course at the push of a button.

Piazza supports these learning types (see definitions):

 
 

Add Piazza to Canvas

Add Piazza to your Canvas course menu from the Canvas course Settings > Navigation options.

Drag Piazza into the course menu, above the list of disabled items.

Click Save.

screenshot of Canvas' navigation settings

How-to guides

Getting started with Piazza
(from Piazza product team)

Tips for students to participate constructively
(Learning Essentials from the University of Auckland)

Advantages

  • Discussions can be anonymous, encouraging engagement from students who would otherwise shy away.
  • Reports show student participation while they answer each other’s questions.
  • Similar to how Wikipedia crowd sources content, answers can be edited by others, ‘evolving’ the content over time.
  • Still effective with larger numbers of students (>50).

 

Time management

  • Link students to related answers or flag content as a good question/answer (endorse) rather than replying in detail each time.
  • Pin important answers to the top of the forum to increase their visibility.
  • Tag questions, categorise them into folders, or ask students to tag or categorise their question themselves. This increases the chance other students can find the information.

Disadvantages

  • Allowing anonymous posts opens the possibility for improper or harmful use of the forum. Setting the expectations for engagement at the start may help to avoid misuse.
  • Students are able to sign up as an instructor in your Piazza discussion. To avoid this, disable the self-signup feature (under the Manage Class setting).
    Piazza screenshot with instructor self-signup option disabled
  • Students who are not part of your class are able to search for and sign up to your Piazza discussions. To avoid this, add an access code to the Piazza discussion (under the Manage Class setting). Either share the access code with your class or keep it secret and manually enrol each student.
    Screenshot of Piazza access code setting

See also

The University of Sydney also provides a comparison between Piazza and Canvas Discussions.

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