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InterPro - Teaching & Learning - Tools & Technology - Canvas Discussions vs. Piazza

Canvas Discussions and Piazza are two discussion tools that can be integrated with Canvas. This document compares the features and functions of both so EPD instructors and instructional designers can choose which tool best fits their course's needs.

Canvas Discussions vs. Piazza


Function/FeatureCanvas DiscussionsPiazza
Students can create their own postsYes, but only if instructor allows students to create discussions.Yes
Students can post anonymouslyNoYes, and regardless of settings, students will always be able to post anonymously to classmates.
Instructors can post anonymously (handy for having bait posts to get the students started)NoNo, but there's a workaround: create a second account with a different email address (enroll as a "student" in the course).
Students and instructors can edit and delete postsYes, students can edit and delete their own posts if settings are configured. Instructors can edit or delete any post.Yes, students and instructors can edit any post. Only instructors can delete any question or post.
Threaded discussions with multiple repliesYesYes
Group-based discussionsYesYes
Posts are searchableYesYes
Posts can be organized into folders/themesNo, discussions are only organized by topic names.Yes, folders act like tags.
Instructors can pin discussions/postsYes, this becomes pinned on the entire class's feed.Yes, this becomes pinned on the entire class's feed.
Save posts as favoritesNoYes, this only becomes a favorite on your individual feed.
Can mark posts as duplicateNoYes, can merge questions or link using @mentions.
Reference other posts or replies with @mentionsNoYes
@mention instructorsNoYes
Students able to create pollsNoYes
Students can create an online profile with their photoYes, Canvas profile.Yes, typically created using email.
Integrated with CanvasYesYes, but need to add to navigation.
Automatically connected to Canvas's GradebookYesNo, but manual assignment creation and grade entry are fairly straightforward.
Add specific discussion forum to Canvas's Modules pageYesNo
Can access "Student View" without creating another accountYesNo
Instructor can endorse student and/or TA answersNoYes
Can mark posts/followups as "good question/response", "thanks", "helpful", or "resolved"/"unresolved"No, only option for quick response is to "like" a post.Yes, both instructors and students can do this.
Teachers can track the number of views and see other analyticsNo, Canvas Analytics is limited compared to Piazza's analytics.Yes
Students and teachers can see the number of other people online at the same timeNoYes, can't tell who they are, but you know that others are online.
Average response time visible to students and instructorsNoYes
Instructors can tell who has signed up to the boards and who has notNo, assumes that everyone on the Canvas course is using Discussions.Yes, can also keep sending reminders to students who have not signed up, or tell the students who email you to sign up.
Restricted to enrolled students onlyYesYes, if you turn on and use an access code. Roster should also be reviewed periodically.
Save draft postsNoYes
Type code blocks directly into text editorNoYes
LaTex editorYesYes
File and multimedia attachmentsYesYes
Students can receive email notificationsYesYes
Students can subscribe/follow specific discussionsYesYes
Instructor can bypass user notification settings for sending out key information via discussionsNo, there's a workaround, but it's time consuming.Yes
Available in a mobile appYesYes
Site is intuitive to use and navigateYesYes

Information was compiled from the University of Sydney and UW-Madison's CEETE.


KeywordsLDT, edtech, technology, learning technology, tech tools, Q&A, collaboration, polls, notes   Doc ID102812
OwnerLearning Design and Technologies TeamGroupInterdisciplinary Professional Programs
College of Engineering
Created2020-06-04 12:59:07Updated2021-06-30 15:53:31
SitesInterdisciplinary Professional Programs
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