Piazza for Students

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.

Student Login

  1. Once you have logged into your course, locate the Piazza link that your instructor has already loaded.
  2. After clicking that item, you will then be brought to the next page where you will have to establish your, or link another, account. Your name and email should already be filled out based on your eCollege account. Fill in a password, which is separate from your NetID password and allows you to access Piazza outside of the course.   Continue to the next page.
    A fill in the box for the students name along with two boxes to have the password filled in. Arrows pointing to both
  3. After the password has been filled in, you will be asked to fill in some additional information. Once completed press "Continue to Piazza."
    Red arrow pointing to a continue button on the bottom left
  4. You should now see the Piazza Q&A tool, where you can post or answer questions.
    1. However, you will also receive a welcome email. This will allow you to access Piazza outside of eCollege.
      An email from Piazza explaining how to login

 

The Layout
Piazza main dashboard with red boxes highlighting each important sections

Section 1 (Creating and Searching 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
    • Post to: who will be able to view the post
    • Select folder(s): This allows you to select where you wish to have your new post located.
      • 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 instructor).
      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 2 (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 3 (Main Dashboard) 

1. In this section you will find the main frame of Piazza. Where you will find the main content of the question, it's 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 'students answer' is a wiki styled space where where students collectively construct a single answer to the question.
  • The 'instructors answer' is a wiki styled space where instructors collectively construct a single answer to the question.
  • The 'follow-up discussion' box is for individual questions and comments on a post.
    Note: if the post is a Note instead of a Question there is not a  'students answer' or 'instructors answer' section, only a 'follow-up discussions' space
  • Professors have the options to click on a “good question” button to endorse the question, in addition the students can give 'thanks' which is equivalent to 'liking' an answer from students or instructors..
  • You will also notice a resolved and unresolved box in the follow-up discussions area.   Both instructors and students can mark a follow-up discussion as resolved or unresolved to indicate if more information is needed or not.

2. This frame also has the option to respond to an answer from other students/instructors.
Red highlighted box shows where you can write to post your next comment

 

Section 4 (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 individual 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 1. how many students are online at that time, and 2. how many users were active in that week.
    Red highlighted box showing the number of users online

 

Section 5 (Account and Folders)

1. The large tool bar on top has a lot of useful features. From categorizing the posts by week, to 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 many tabs titled hw1, hw2, h3, etc. These are the default settings for the posts to be categorized by weekly/assignments. They can be changed in the folder management options.
    <Red highlights of the different kind of folders located on the top tool bar
  2. Once you click on a tab the navigation tool bar, on the left side, will change and only have the posts linked with that tab. In order to leave that filtered search, you simply press 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, tool tips, support, bug reports, and the Piazza Homepage.  By clicking on the 'Account/Email Settings' link you can set up alternate email address(s) to receive notifications as well as select the type and frequency of notifications you will receive.  This is separate from the Learning studio (Pearson eCollege) Notification Tool.
Large red box around the opinions below the gear sign

 

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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