Piazza is a Homework Help Website, that allows you to interact on various subject issues with your classmates and professors. Its a free service and you can use it for problem discussion, notes sharing, polling to get an in–class review.
This is like a social community for classes. You can register on this website as a teacher or a student, and then interact with other students from your class only. This website is completely free, all the students in a class can register and have unlimited discussions and problem solving sessions and take help from teachers.
Why Piazza was Created?
There is an interesting story behind why this website was created (and why it is free).
Pooja Sankar (Piazza Founder & CEO) grew up in all girls school and then she was one of the only three women in undergraduation class at IIT Kanpur (India). Rest of her classmates were guys. She was too shy to ask them about the problems she faced with her assignments and hence, she missed the core of learning. It also affected her early career. Piazza is her attempt to provide an opportunity for students to learn from their classmates.
How to Use Piazza:
Follow the link given at the end of this review to land on the homepage of Piazza. To try demo of class, click on “VIEW A REAL CLASS”. But to use the services for your class, you need to register with website.
- To register as instructor click on “Instructors Get Started” and to register as student click on “Students Get Started”. In both registrations, next page will ask for your institution name. Choose it from the list, which appears as you start typing the name.
- If the name of your institute doesn’t appear in the list then you need to click on “add to the list”. You are allowed to link to the domain of your institution, so that other school (or college) mates can easily identify it from the list.
- Now, you need to choose your class details. You can add more than one class before proceeding.
- Then you need to register your Email: Enter your email and then check your Inbox. Copy the code received or follow the given link to register your Email.
- Enter your basic details and complete the sign up. Now, you can use all the services offered by Piazza.
As a Student:
You will get two tabs on menubar: “Q&A” and “Course Page”
- “Q & A Tab” allows you to view and create posts. These posts can be Polls, Questions, or Notes. You can post your problems and start a discussion. You can help other classmates with their problems as well.
- While creating a post, you can choose visibility options between: entire class or only instructors.
- “Course Page” allows you to check the Class Information and Staff Details. You can also look for announcements and homework details like due date, referral link, etc.
Another homework help website we reviewed earlier is Cramster.
As an Instructor:
You will have 3 tabs on menubar to choose: “Q&A”, “Course Page”, and “Manage Class”.
- Similar to students account, “Q & A Tab” allows you to view and create posts. You can reply the posts and check the activity of other users.
- Only Instructor has the authority to edit any existing post. All posts in your class will be visible to you, if you are an instructor.
- “Course Page” allows you to add the class information and Staff details. You can also use it to make announcements and assign homework.
- “Manage Class” tab is to modify the class settings, privacy allowances, etc. This tab is only for instructors.
Teachers can also try Otter to send announcements to students.
Honestly, I always struggled with my homework. It was not that I was too lazy or poor with studies. There were always some concept that I understood only after discussing with colleagues or teachers. Such help with homework is must for some students. Piazza delivers the same service.
Main interface of the website looks like Facebook. Piazza has “Good” option to appreciate a good answer, exactly “like” in Facebook. Posting tool is also very much alike Google Docs. So, this site was very easy to understand and master.
For a student teaching student, Piazza is very effective learning tool. But anyone can be a teacher for the class and that can be misleading. Also, when instructor is not managing the class, you can post anonymously. I am afraid some low minds might destroy the essence behind this service. I strongly believe Piazza should have some sort of authentication process in place, to confirm that the person who has created an account indeed belongs to that school, and there should be some way to validate that someone is actually an instructor.
This limitation notwithstanding, I strongly believe this website can be very good for students and let them stay connected to their class and instructors outside school as well, and solicit their help.