Piazza is a free platform for instructors to efficiently manage class Q&A. Students can post questions and collaborate to edit responses to these questions. Instructors can also answer questions, endorse student answers, and edit or delete any posted content. Piazza is designed to simulate real class discussion. It aims to get high quality answers to difficult questions, fast! The name Piazza comes from the Italian word for plaza--a common city square where people can come together to share knowledge and ideas. We strive to recreate that communal atmosphere among students and instructors.
It starts with students contributing. Anyone can ask and answer questions on Piazza. With students teaching students, conversations on Piazza can continue long after office hours are over. Piazza gives students 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.
Wiki-style Q&A makes finding the (single) answer easy. Questions and answers on Piazza are community-edited. Each question has a single students' answer that students can contribute to, and a single instructors' answer that instructors can contribute to. With wiki-style Q&A, when a student has a question, she doesn't need to sift through long threads in a forum to find what she's looking for; she can read just the single, high-quality question and answer.
An app that actually keeps up with class activity—in real time. Students and instructors respond to questions fast because things happen fast on Piazza. Unlike static class websites, Piazza displays updates as soon as they happen, so you see changes in real time. A student can leave his browser open all evening and see the answer to his question evolve.
Create a class that’s student-driven, instructor-controlled. As an instructor, you have complete editorial control over class content. Your contributions in the class are highlighted, so students can easily identify instructor input. You can encourage students to ask and answer questions by endorsing good content.
Manage course Q&A and resources in the same place. Your course page is the place to manage announcements, course information and syllabi, and course resources. Think of it as your class website. The announcements section lets you bypass your course email list. When you need to reach the entire class right away, just post a note, mark it as an announcement, and select the option to send it immediately to the entire class. The course information section is an easy way to maintain details about the course and staff contact information.
Use Piazza to become a better teacher. Take advantage of the best resource available for feedback about your teaching: your students. Ask students directly for anonymous feedback by posting a poll after a lecture. Encourage anonymous private posts to instructors for more detailed comments on what worked and what didn’t. Use the questions that students post as a gauge to figure out what topics and assignments are confusing or easy, and who needs additional instruction. By monitoring activity on Piazza, you’ll get a better sense of where students are struggling and where your limited time and resources can be put to best use—in short, how you can become a better teacher.