From the CRLT Blog

Piazza in Your Classroom

September 17, 2013
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Answering the same student questions over and over... An inbox full of student emails... Too little peer-to-peer interaction in your classroom... If these challenges sound familiar to you, you may want to check out the online discussion platform, Piazza.

Piazza logo

A recent CRLT study of University of Michigan students and faculty (from Winter 2013) found that Piazza is a great tool for answering student questions, reducing email volume, facilitating student interaction between classes, and increasing the number of students participating in class discussion.
Available through CTools, Piazza can help you promote student engagement outside the classroom while keeping the workload manageable. Instead of emailing you with questions after class, students can post questions to Piazza, and other students or GSIs can answer them. As the instructor, you can also answer questions, endorse select student answers, provide feedback, edit student responses, and view reports of student participation. One key strength of Piazza is the ease of organizing questions: you can create tags or folders for each lecture of assignment, so students can easily find out if the question they have has already been answered. 
If you are a faculty member who is interested in learning more about Piazza or would like to try it out in your class, join the CRLT on September 23rd at 8:30am for Emerging Tech: Piazza, a workshop where you will get a hands-on guided tour of Piazza and learn about potential uses for it in your classroom. If you are a GSI and would like to learn more about Piazza, CRLT will be hosting Next Steps with IT on October 4th at 9am. This workshop will cover the use of multiple classroom tech tools including Piazza and UM Box.
Many U-M professors are already using Piazza in their courses. Click here to learn, for example, how Trisha Wittkopp uses Piazza to enhance learning in her large genetics course. As always, if you want to learn more about this tool or compare it to other online discussion tools, you can also schedule a consultation with CRLT.
Emerging Tech: Piazza is the first in a series of CRLT workshops that highlight tech tools that have proven to be useful for promoting active student engagement both inside and outside the classroom. To register for this workshop and for more information on other workshops in the series, click here.