Looking for an engaging online discussion tool for your courses?  Piazza offers a number of features to promote collaboration and foster community among your students.  Students can send posts to the whole class or just their instructor.  To encourage greater student participation, it provides students two levels of anonymous posting: anonymous to all students or anonymous to all students and the instructor.  Using Piazza, students can even seek teammates to form their own study groups.

See an example of a Piazza discussion board and read about how one professor used Piazza to make his class more engaging.

Features of Piazza include

  •      Threaded discussions
  •      Pinned discussions
  •      Embedding videos
  •      Anonymous posting
  •      Peer review
  •      Group discussions
  •      Search
  •      Polls
  •      Attaching files
  •      Statistics
  •      Mobile app

How do I get started?  If you are using Canvas, you can set up Piazza directly in your course sites following these instructions.  After you’ve added Piazza to your Canvas course navigation, then click on the tool in the left menu and follow the prompt to create your Piazza course and your account.  When students click on the Piazza menu item in your course, they will be prompted to create an account.  The tool works seamlessly in Canvas, so you and your students will not need to sign in to Piazza when accessing it within Canvas.

You can also create an account and set up a Piazza course by going to www.piazza.com.  For help in using Piazza, see the Piazza Support Center.

Piazza is free for faculty and students to use.

How does Piazza compare to the Canvas Discussions (built-in) tool?  Piazza includes most of the features of Canvas Discussions (threaded discussions, peer review, embedding videos, etc.) plus additional features such anonymous posting and individual student statistics.  Overall, Piazza’s organization of threads makes it easy to navigate and drill down into discussions.  One feature Piazza does not provide, however, is the ability to assign points for discussion activity and integration with the Canvas gradebook.