Part 1: Spring 2015 Labs

2 Piazza with Brian Esselman — 02.20.2015

Brian EsselmanIn the Active Teaching Lab on February 20, 2015, Brian Esselman shared how he uses Piazza in his Organic Chemistry courses to both provide practice for his students solving difficult problems, and as an administrative tool to lessen the amount of student emails he needs to attend to.

Key Takeaways

  • Communicate to your students from the beginning that you will not answer email, but you are happy to respond to posts (and private posts to instructor) on Piazza. Stick with that policy! This gets them to go there more often, and it allows them to see the answers that others are asking.
  • Don’t answer student questions too soon. Give them a chance to work on each others’ questions, so they start to see each other as resources. Better to endorse a correct student answer than to answer it yourself.
  • It takes a few weeks before most will be on it. Some may never get on it. Participation spikes tend to map neatly with (the night before) quizzes and tests.

If you’re interested in learning more to get up and running with Piazza, watch the videos below and try stepping through the Piazza worksheet we created for the session!

The Active Teaching Lab, a Faculty Engagement program, provides a safe space for structured explorations of cool teaching tools and techniques that your colleagues are using to engage students and teach more effectively. During the academic year, labs are held weekly and will be listed on the Active Teaching Lab page.

Brian’s Piazza Story


Active Teaching Lab eJournal Copyright © 2016 by DoIT Academic Technology and the UW-Madison Teaching Academy; Jennifer Hornbaker; John Martin; Julie Johnson; Karin Spader; Margaret Merrill; Margaret Murphy; and Jeffrey Thomas. All Rights Reserved.

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