Piazza – a better way to Q & A
Discussion boards are common tools for online and hybrid learning. Depending on what type of Learning Management System (LMS) you use, and how you craft your question, discussion board formats can be effective communication tools.
However, and I think most would agree, the general discussion board format hasn’t changed much, if at all. Also, most online course discussion boards aren’t the best place for students to pose questions.
And students always have questions. That’s the nature of things.
If you are an online instructor, you will find your email inbox routinely filled with questions regarding assignments, readings, tech issues, etc. Some times the same question will come up enough times to warrant a special announcement or group email.
How to organize all this back-and-forth? I recently came upon a site that has a fascinating take on creating a Class Q & A forum for your class, campus or online.
Piazza is a neat tool that is free for educators, and I think it is a great way for educators to streamline their communication workflow. It encourages collaboration, peer-to-peer instruction, and provides analytics so instructors can monitor engagement and participation.
It’s easy to set up., and there is quite a bit of support material on the site – FAQ, tutorials, demos, and they also host live webinars.
I spend time every day cataloging tools and resources for educators. Piazza is not only a tool I would recommend, but I am also looking forward to the time when I can personally use it.
Here is a screenshot, so that you can get an idea of the user interface: