Thursday, January 5, 2012

Piazza for discussion, Q&A and help

This term we will be using Piazza for class discussion and questions on concepts and how to use various software systems and APIs.

Piazza is a Web-based system that describes itself as
"A free platform for instructors and TAs to efficiently manage out-of-class Q&A. On their class dashboard, students can post questions and collaborate Wikipedia-style to edit responses to these questions. Instructors can also answer questions, endorse student answers, and edit or delete any posted content."
I've tried to do this with Blackboard forums, mailing lists, Google groups and blogs with limited success.  I think Piazza as a much better model that will work well for classes where students can benefit from helping each other in an open, collaborative manner.

It looks well done, easy to use and even has custom Android and iPhone apps. They cite as users some well known CS and EE faculty from Stanford, Berkeley and MIT as well. I am looking forward to using it for our special topics source on the Semantic Web.

So, rather than emailing questions to me, I encourage you to post your questions on our Piazza site. If you have any problems or feedback for the developers, email