Spotlight on Student Engagement: Piazza

Piazza is a free, easy to use Q&A platform integrated within Canvas. If you’ve been looking for more ways to get your students contributing in class, Piazza might be the tool for you.Piazza logo

The Piazza platform encourages all types of learners to ask and answer questions in an online forum environment. Students have the option to remain anonymous to their peers, which relieves some of the intimidation of ‘speaking in front of the class.’ Instructors have the ability to endorse correct answers to help steer the class in the right direction.

Piazza features a wiki-style Q&A, there’s no need to sift through a threaded forum to find the right answer, the single answer is brought to the top- and all additional discussion occurs beneath. Comments occur in real time, so students can leave their browser open and see answers appear on the screen.

Piazza layout screenshot

 

The instructor has complete editorial control over class content. The instructor’s responses are highlighted so students can easily identify your input. The instructor can endorse good answers by students to further encourage quality participation.

There’s also a class participation report so you can see who are the active participants in your class. The report can also help with grading class participation. Tracking when the most activity occurs on the forum can help identify and direct instruction of more difficult topics.

 

Creating a Piazza Q&A forum in your Canvas course site is easy.

Go to your course site and click on Settings > Navigation (tab). Drag the grayed out Piazza Discussions button up to the top grouping so that the tool link is enabled for students.

If you have any questions, or need help configuring Piazza, feel free to contact atc-ttl@wpi.edu or visit the Piazza support site for more information: http://support.piazza.com/

 

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