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What is Piazza: Piazza is an inter-active, student driven online service for managing Questions and Answers in both online and face-to-face classes. Piazza gives students a space to ask and collaboratively answer course related questions in a timely manner.

Instructor and TA involvement can range across a spectrum. They can:

  • Simply let the students use the space without overseeing or visiting
  • Passively observe student interactions
  • Moderate answers and endorse or correct a student answer
  • And/or actively post questions and answers

If they choose, Piazza allows instructors to centralize all Q&As relating to their course, keeping their inbox clear and making it easy to keep a pulse on how students are handling the course’s content.

Why Piazza?: The University of Wisconsin-Madison selected Piazza as an addition to the Learn@UW suite of teaching and learning technologies to complement existing tools in Canvas, Desire2Learn and Moodle. Piazza was selected because it has a proven track record of success in a number of courses, largely student driven, and provides students a new platform for peer-interactions.

How it works: A student (or instructor) posts a course-related question. Other students can then respond with an answer. Instead of each student providing their own answer, leading to a long string of potentially confusing posts, students work wiki-style on a single answer. If the instructor likes the answer he/she can endorse it to let students know that the answer is right. Instructors can also directly answer questions and “correct” any errors or misunderstandings.

Top features that instructors love:

  • No more duplicate emails! Class discussion takes place on Piazza so all students benefit from each other’s questions
  • Easily write formulas with a LaTeX equation editor
  • Easily read code with highlighted syntax and code blocking
  • The interface is simple and intuitive so it’s very easy to get started
  • Upload pictures, embed videos, and share files with the rich text editor, which makes it easy to post materials and generate robust discussion
  • Wiki style format allows for a single high quality answer or discussion thread that you, your TAs and your students collectively build, so you can read one answer instead of combing through dozens of comments
  • iOS and Android apps allow you and your TAs to view and respond to questions when it’s convenient for you
  • Take a pulse of the class with highly customizable online polls
  • Place your class content in folders for easier organization of class material
  • Choose whether to enable anonymous posts so you have complete control over your class
  • Clone your class, so you can quickly set up your next term’s class with the same configuration and even the same content from previous classes
  • Integrated with Desire2Learn and Moodle for easy access

Top product features that students love:

  • They can get help in minutes, anytime, day or night
  • They get notified as soon as their question is answered, removing the need to keep checking if they received a response
  • Instructor endorsements encourage students by letting them know that they are on the right track
  • They can ask and answer questions anonymously, which empowers every student to participate

There is no cost for using Piazza. Piazza is a service hosted by the vendor. UW-Madison and Piazza have reached an agreement that provides protection for student and faculty data and intellectual property. For more information, contact policy@cio.wisc.edu.

For information on accessing Piazza please see: https://kb.wisc.edu/page.php?id=30502