Piazza power users or instructional design team members will create a Piazza class for faculty within their department to promote collaboration on topics ranging from online instruction to handling instances of academic dishonesty. This use case is becoming increasingly popular as departments move online with COVID-19 and as faculty members are being required to deliver instruction in a new setting.
Piazza enables collaboration and learning among faculty – faculty can ask and answer questions as it relates to the use of online technology (e.g. "How do I create breakout rooms in Zoom", or "How can I download participation analytics on student engagement"), accommodating unique student needs with remote participation, and administering curriculum in a virtual classroom setting.
In particular, features like polls, “instructor” vs “student” answers, and the ability to keep discussions organized by topics (folders on Piazza), make it attractive to organize faculty discussions on Piazza. Alternatives such as mailing lists or chat channels can make it hard to find details pertaining to a particular discussion thread at a later time.
On Piazza, departments and instructional design teams will organize discussions by topic (e.g. pedagogical, logistical, administrative). They will push polls to entire departments to get a sense of faculty sentiment on any particular topic. Finally, they will pin relevant posts to the top of everyone's feed to help faculty easily find the information they need.
Piazza power users/instructional design team members join as “instructors” to the class, and enroll colleagues as “students”. Chairs of the department typically join as “instructors”, though that can vary use case to use case.
Tips to get started:
- Create a Piazza class within your university. An example of a class name might be "MATH ONLINE".
- If you'd like for the class to live on for several terms, use term 'Other' when selecting academic term.
- Enroll Piazza power users, instructional design team members, and Chair(s) as "instructors" to the class; instructor self-signup is usually disabled for this class.
- For this use case, we recommend that you manage student enrollment for your class. You can enroll fellow faculty in your department manually via the 'Manage Class' page in the top bar, and then set an access code that you do not hand out to anyone. This way, no one can self-enroll in this course.
- If you prefer, however, to allow faculty to self-signup to your course, we recommend setting an access code from your ‘Manage Class’ page under the ‘Class Information’ section, and providing faculty in your department with the class signup link and access code (both of which you can retrieve from your ‘Manage Class’ page).
Faculty will be prompted to enter this access code when signing up for the course.
- Add a welcome post to your group, and provide examples of the kinds of questions that faculty can post in this Piazza class. Even post a poll related to a topic that is timely and where you'd like to gather input from your colleagues.
If you have questions about setting up a Piazza class for your specific use case, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help get you started!