Piazza for Faculty

  • What is Piazza?

Piazza is a free online communication medium where students can come together to ask questions, get answers, and explore under the guidance of their instructors. Piazza offers a wide range of interaction between students and instructor. Piazza is effective in managing class questions and answers, allows students to collaborate and interact with one another, and provides an organized platform for both, the student and instructor, to continue their discussions. Instructors can also edit and respond to students questions, as well as endorse the questions and answers. Piazza not only creates an environment where students can grow and communicate with one another but also is visually pleasing and easy to use. The visual aspect of Piazza creates a simple layout for all users so there are no confusions on what post is where, which post is new, who asked who, etc. Piazza is a new frontier for digital communication on a discussion board platform, not just for the students but also for the instructors. Using this collaborative Q&A tool will further engage your students and encourage social learning inside and out of the learning environment.

 

Adding Piazza into the Learning Studio (eCollege)

  1. Log into your course, and make sure that you are in Author mode.
    Author mode on top selected
  2. Click on the unit/module/week that you would like Piazza to be located.
  3. Click “Unit Content Items.”
    Upper tab, Unit Content Items selected
  4. Click “Add item.”
  5. Fill in the name (we suggest Piazza), and select the Item Type as External Tool.
    Item type selected, drop down menu with external tool on the bottom.
  6. While remaining in Author mode, click on the new Piazza item, and use the dropdown menu to select Piazza.
    Drop down menu in external tools setting, Piazza at the bottom to be selected
  7. Click next, and select “In a frame.”
  8. Click next.
  9. Click Submit.
  10. You are all set!  Change your view to Course Mode and you can begin using the tool.

 

Instructor Login

  1. After you have added the Piazza content item into your course, click on it to finalize the setup.  The following information, except ‘Estimated Enrollment,’ should already be filled in for you.
    1. Class Name, is the name of the course.
    2. Class Number, is the full display course code XX:XXX:XX:XX.
    3. Enter an 'Estimated Enrollment' number of 1 or higher.
  2. Click ‘Create Class’ to move on to the next step.
  3. Once the course is created, you will then be asked to enter an alternative PIAZZA password. This will allow you to use the tool outside of the Learning Environment. 
    Three red arrows point to pre-installed information and password input, with a circle around the area where you put your name.
  4. You do not need to enter any further information. If prompted, you can select the radio button for 'I'm not pursuing a degree,' and click 'Continue to Piazza.'
  5. Once all that is complete you will have access to your new Piazza tool!
    Full screen of what the Piazza dashboard looks like

 

The LayOut

Piazza main dashboard with red boxes highlighting each important sections

Section 1 (Course Dashboard)

1. The large tool bar on top has a lot of useful features. From categorizing the posts by week, adding a syllabus or other resources, analyzing class participation statistics, managing class features and accessing your account.
Red letters separating the different sections of the top tool bar

1. On the top portion of the tool bar you will see the 4 course control tabs – Q & A, Resources, Statistics and Manage Class
     Red highlights of the different kind of folders located on the top tool bar

  • The Q & A tab is the default landing tab when you enter the course.  If you land first on the Course Description page, then use the toolbar at the top of the frame. Click "Q and A" to go to the page where all the active materials appear. This is where you will be able to create and manage posts.
  • The Resources tab is a repository where you can upload a syllabus or other documents for student access.  This is also where you can edit the course description and add announcements.
  • The Statistics tab will allow you to see usage trends, top class contributors, and reports.
  • The Manage Class tab allows you to edit Class information, adjust settings, configure folders, enroll participants (students are automatically enrolled when they click the Piazza link in your Learning studio (Pearson eCollege) course shell) and create groups.

2. On the bottom portion of the tool bar you will see many tabs titled hw1, hw2, h3, etc. These are the default settings for the posts to be categorized by week/assignments. They can be changed in the Manage Class tab and scrolling to Configure Class Folders.  The number next to a folder indicates the # of recent posts since your last visit.

3. Once you click on a folder in the navigation tool bar, on the left side it will change and only have the posts linked with that folder. In order to leave that filtered search, you will click the "x" on the top right of the navigation tool.
     Red box around the x

2. On the far right hand side you will see a gear shaped icon. This icon will drop down a menu that will give you information and access to your account, email, tooltips, support, bug reports, and the Piazza Homepage.

  • Under Account/Email settings you can upload a profile picture, add an email address and manage course email notification settings.

    Large red box around the opinions below the gear sign

Section 2 (Creating Posts)
  1. The "New Post" button allows students and instructors to create new posts, questions, and/or notes.
    • Post type: The type of post this will be used for.
    • Post to: Who in the course will be able to view the post.
    • Select folder(s): This allows you to select where you wish to have your new post located.
      • The folders can be also renamed using the Manage Class tab and scrolling to Configure Class Folders.
      • In addition the post can be in multiple tabs.
    • Details:  This is the body of the post, where you can add your content via text, images, columns, etc. 
      • You can use the tools such as "insert" allowing the user to post links, images, videos, etc.
    • Show my name as: allows the user to post under their name or under anonymous(unless disabled by the instructor in the Manage Class tab).
      A red line on top showing the different folders, and an arrow pointing below you can submit the post
  2. On the dashboard to the left, where all the posts can be found, there is a gear box on the top right hand corner of that dashboard. This area allows you to filter the posts into categories.
    • If you want to see just the unread messages, or only the unresolved ones, use this gear to filter the posts.
      red box highlighting all the different filter options

 

Section 3 (Navigation Dashboard) 

  1. The navigation tool to the left is used to see all the posts that have been posted and when they were posted. This navigation tool is sorted by date and also highlights a small summary of what the post is about. 
    Arrows and red lights highlighting unread messages and who commented on the posts
    • The blue dot means it is recent/new post
    • The "i" in an orange box means an instructor has commented on it
    • The "s" in a green box means a student has commented on it.

 

Section 4 (Main DashBoard) 

1. In this section, you will find the main frame of Piazza. Here you will find the content of the question, responses, and any follow-ups.
    Main dashboard for posting a comment, Has highlights and arrows pointing to various spots for information on the comments

  • The student's answer and the instructor's answer sections are wiki styled posts where students or instructors construc a collaborative answer.  These are only available on Question type posts.
  • The followup discussions section is where you can see what the other students are writing to each other. 
  • Professors have the options to click on a “good question/answer” button to endorse the question or answer. Students can endorse a post by clicking Thanks.
  • You will also notice a resolved and unresolved box. This is the followup discussion where anyone can ask another related question.

2. Questions, student's answers, instructor's answers and followup discussions can all be edited

  • There is a Question History slider at the top which will allow you to see all revisions that have been made.
  • To edit a question, student's answer, or instructor's answer click the edit button in the lower left corner of the appropriate section.
  • To edit a followup discussion post, roll you mouse over the upper right corner of the post and an actions dropmenu will appear with edit and delete options.

              

 

Section 5 (Bottom User activity)

1. The large bar on the bottom can be broken down into three parts. 
Red letters dictating three different sections of the tool bar

  1. The left hand side of the bar shows the average response time, and how quickly it takes for students or instructors to respond to any questions.
    Red box around the average response time
  2. The middle portion shows the most recent indivdual who commented and at what time.
    Red highlighted box showing who the last person to comment was
  3. The far right hand side of the bar has two boxes that indicate:
    • How many students are online at that time.
    • How many users were active in that week.
      Red highlighted box showing the number of users online

 

External Links

http://support.piazza.com/

  • Piazza’s instruction manual, has links and instructions in all the basic functions of Piazza.

https://piazza.com/support/contact

  • Piazza’s support and help contact information. A good place to ask questions.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2C3eUkroaeX-E6vxMjap6g

  • Piazza’s youtube channel, where you can watch new and updated videos on the program.

 

 

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