What is the Piazza tool?

Piazza is a Question and Answer discussion board that is uniquely designed to facilitate collaborative interaction among students.  It is designed to model face-to-face group discussions allowing for the creation of complex questions and complex answers.

Questions can be posed by both students and instructors and the answers are editable by both students and instructors. Students collaborate on answers in a wiki-like environment to create a single response to any question. Over time, students can enhance a response until a single high quality answer is reached. Answers can generate additional follow-up questions and and answers, adding clarity and depth to the original question/answer.

Piazza is a third-party online application accessible through a Trunk course or project site. Instructors can create a Piazza discussion board for their course site and students can join the discussion board through Trunk. Once a user has joined a course Piazza discussion board, they can access the discussion board either through Trunk or through Piazza.com

Some Piazza features:

  • Much like Google Docs, Piazza updates in real time. Users can see answers develop as they are edited.
  • Piazza offers free downloadable iOS and Android mobile apps allowing users access to their question and answer discussions remotely.
  • Piazza provides support for anonymous posts
  • Piazza provides support for formatting equations (LaTeX equations editor).
  • Piazza provides support for the editing of computer code
  • Piazza provides support for real time polling

Instructors might consider using a Piazza discussion board:

  • As a vehicle for answering student questions, so all students can benefit from the questions posed by other students in the class.
  • As an online wiki-like problem solving space for the whole class or for study groups
  • As a vehicle to facilitate collaborative writing.
  • As a "back channel" for large classes to allow TAs or co-instructors to monitor incoming student questions.
  • As a means for instructors and students to stay connected in distance learning courses.

Example of a Piazza discussion site: