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Why Piazza Works

Piazza is free, easy to use, and takes minutes to set up. But what is it that keeps students engaged and saves you time?

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.

A site 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.

Mobile apps keep you connected.

Our iOS and Android mobile apps let you stay connected with your class on the go.

Keep up with class alerts by following along with email notifications. Configure your notifications to receive them as frequently (or infrequently) as you like.

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. Make this the place students know to visit to check office hours for the week.

Students can visit the course resources section to find materials like homework assignments, lecture notes, and important links all in one place. Post a note when you update or add a new resource so the whole class is always on the same page.

View class participation to learn more about your students.

View your student participation report to see who frequently asks, answers, and edits, and who prefers to just read. Visit your overall class report to see when in the term the most questions are being asked and how they align with what’s going on in class.

Link directly from your learning management system.

Make student enrollment in your class on Piazza even simpler for both you and your students by using our LTI integration (that’s Learning Tools Interoperability). By adding a Piazza link in your LMS, students won’t even need a username and password to log in.

Interested? Learn more about integrating Piazza with your LMS

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.

 

More Resources for Instructors

See how instructors are using Piazza in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics, Math, Chemistry, and Biology.

Watch a video to introduce you to the interface.

Present Piazza to your colleagues with this slideshow: Watch slideshow and download slides.

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What Professors Are Saying

  • We were very happy with Piazza in CS 142 so I'd give it a strong positive recommendation. It's easy-to-use, the students really enjoyed it (particularly in comparison to the newsgroup approach we used in previous offerings of the class), it was reliable, and the course staff liked it. We'll definitely use it again.

    John OusterhoutStanford University, Computer Science

  • After a semester of using Piazza, I can truly say I loved it. The TAs loved it. I can't speak for the students, but I know that they got answers to their questions a lot more quickly. With Piazza I got a real-time picture of what was going on, and could address some of the really important misunderstandings in class.

    Kristin MarsicanoGeorgia Institute of Technology, Computer Science

  • Piazza has become the single source of truth about all our course-related information. I've never seen a tool that so directly hits the nail on the head in terms of every information-flow problem I've been struggling with for the 19 years I've been teaching.

    Dan GarciaUC Berkeley, Computer Science

  • Piazza has proven to be an ideal forum for my class. Compared to conventional bulletin boards, the design makes it much easier for students to find relevant posts, and for my staff and me to keep track of outstanding questions. On top of this, the folks at Piazza have been wonderfully supportive and very responsive to our needs.

    Greg MorrisettHarvard University, Computer Science

  • As a lecturer for a large class at MIT, what I like best about Piazza is that my teaching assistants spend significantly less time answering repetitious questions from students, or correcting simple errors. Now they can spend more time helping me create new material for the class.

    Srini DevadasMIT, Computer Science

  • Thank you for the nice gift of the Piazza end-of-term reports for my three classes. And for all the improvements to the software that were happening all term, right before my students’ eyes!

    Mihaela SabinUniversity of New Hampshire, Computer Science

  • Piazza has been a substantial upgrade to our prior use of newsgroups for communication with and amongst the students in the class. Piazza attracts significantly higher student participation and has enabled us to better encourage and reward such participation.

    Pieter AbbeelUC Berkeley, Computer Science

  • One student wrote in anonymously on Piazza to complain a take-home exam interfered with a big event at their fraternity. Several other students wrote in to tell the complaining student to stop whining, that there's plenty of time for the exam if they only budget their time. In the past, I've always had to respond myself. With Piazza the student's peers did it for me.

    Charles LeisersonMIT, Computer Science

  • Before, I answered hundreds of emails each semester, about assignments, tests, and so on. Now, I get an email from Piazza about a new post, take a look, and often find that a student or another staff member has already answered it. Everyone is more engaged. Everyone is happier and more positive about the course.

    David GriesCornell University, Computer Science

  • Piazza is great to use at the community college level! After using Piazza for a few semesters, it is now a requirement for all of my face-to-face and distance learning courses. Students enrolled in my courses are engaged, learning, and helping each other learn.

    Charles DeSassureTarrant County College, Computer Science

  • Piazza is definitely a big improvement on the university-provided discussion groups we're accustomed to using because we can faithfully represent the instructional roles and organizational system that we use in teaching. All the other advantages of Piazza are gravy!

    Bruce WeideOhio State University, Computer Science