Parent Page(s): Collaboration and Discussion
Create an online question and answer space for students to ask questions and get help from each other.
Use Piazza in Canvas to create a discussion space for your class that encourages students to support each other in their learning. Piazza provides an online space for students to help each other outside of the classroom when they are working on assignments or studying. Monitoring questions can also provide useful insight into areas where students are having difficulty.
How does Piazza work?
Piazza is an online discussion aimed at supporting peer learning. The Piazza discussion forum is designed around a question and answer format that provides a space for students to ask questions about class materials and then respond to each other. A wiki style editing mechanism allows students to collaborate on “best answer” responses to questions that are posed and encourages further discussion. Piazza provides a mechanism for instructors or TA’s to provide an authoritative answer or mark “good” answers to endorse them.
To help make it easier to manage and navigate all of the posts, folders can be set up by course staff to organize questions by course topic or week. To focus student attention on specific questions, course staff can pin the question to the top of the page. Numerous options are also available for managing email notifications and for viewing statistics to gauge overall participation.
How can Piazza help me?
Piazza provides a student focused discussion space that provides a venue for students to help and support each other outside of class time. This can be especially helpful for students to be able to get help at moment when they are working on their homework or studying for exams rather than having to wait for class time or office hours. Having an online forum may also encourage students to post questions who may not feel comfortable raising their hand in a large class or going to office hours. Reviewing the questions that students post can help you to surface areas of misunderstanding and address these either on the forums or in class.
- Piazza provides a student focused online question and answer space that encourages peer learning and support outside of class time.
- It is mobile friendly, with free apps available for both iPhone and Android.
- There are tools available in Piazza to help instructors moderate the discussions by organizing questions into folders, pinning the most significant questions and endorsing student answers that are correct.
- The student driven Q/A space works particularly well for subjects that emphasize problem solving.
- Piazza is a cloud hosted web service. Precautions need to be taken to be sure to comply with BC privacy law legislation. There is an integration with Canvas that handles this and allows for secure passing of student information.
- Some set up is required to enable Piazza inside of Canvas and students will still be required to create a separate Piazza account.
- There is an existing integration in place within Canvas that allows for a Piazza course space to be created in a way that protects the privacy of student data.
- Instructors and TA’s should refrain from answering questions immediately to encourage students to respond to each other. Endorse “good” student answers or provide an instructor response if the student answer isn’t correct or left unanswered for too long.
- Actively work to integrate the online forum with the in class lessons by referencing student generated questions or answers for further discussion or clarification. Piazza questions can help to expose areas of common misunderstanding that can be used to design clicker questions or in class active learning exercises.