Best Practices

Before introducing your class to Piazza, determine the following:

What will the culture be in your class?
  • Will you allow anonymity?
    • Even the shyest students speak up and ask questions when you enable anonymous posting.
    • If enabled, students can post anonymously to both classmates and instructors.
    • If you prefer more transparency in the class, disable anonymous posting so that students can only post anonymously to classmates, but not to instructors.
  • What incentives, if any, will you give for participation?
    • On the first day of class, encourage students to ask all of their questions on Piazza (and not via email) - so that other students can benefit from the responses.
    • Let students know you will be endorsing good questions and answers - this will help keep them on track
    • Some instructors even use the Class Statistics page to award participation points and to identify potential future TAs.
What are your expectations for your support (e.g., TAs, graders)?
  • Sit with your TAs and review how to use Piazza
  • Determine response norms, who should respond and when to distribute workload
  • Set goals and expectations with TAs before the start of the term:
    • To maintain a low average response time, establish a routine at the start of the class, such as assigning particular days to TAs to respond to questions.
    • Determine when student endorsements are given and whether or not TAs should be endorsing student questions and answers, in addition to the professor
What customized folders will you create to reflect your class structure (e.g., by lecture, hw, exam)?
  • Set up custom folders to organize posts and make it easier for you and your students to find posts and follow the flow of the class.

To get your class started on Piazza, it is important to:

Set aside 5-10 minutes in class the day you introduce Piazza to demonstrate what Piazza is and why you’re using it
  • Tell students to post on Piazza (either publicly or privately) vs. emailing you individually
  • Let shy students know they can always be anonymous to peers
  • Break the ice with a fun or interesting question

Set expectations that you will hold back so students help each other - encourage collaboration and wiki-style editing so that students can work toward a single high-quality question or answer.

Be attentive/responsive to students in the first few days

It’s easy to stay on top of your class discussion by:

Viewing the participation statistics for students and TAs
Determining how often you want to receive email notifications for new activity
Emailing students immediately for important announcements