Piazza - Getting Started with Piazza [UW-Madison]

Piazza is a student-driven question and answer service. Students can collaboratively work on answers by adding, modifying, or deleting content. Instructors can view students' questions and answers, post their own questions and answers, and endorse the best responses. Piazza is integrated with Canvas and can be used inside or outside the Canvas learning management system.


Instructor Considerations


  • Piazza is primarily an asynchronous discussion tool with some functional overlap with the Canvas Discussion tool.
  • Piazza allows students to drive the Questions and Answers, so instructors can choose how involved they want to be in the Piazza space.
  • Piazza does not integrate with the Canvas Gradebook. Any assessments carried out in Piazza will have to be manually entered in the Canvas Gradebook.
  • Piazza’s wiki style editor was designed with STEM courses in mind where students work together to find a single correct answer. However, Piazza’s functionality is broad enough to support discussion for any discipline or course. 
    • The wiki-style editor provides a tool-rich environment for STEM students to collaborate and identify (and endorse) a single correct answer.
  • If you are unsure if Piazza is the best fit for your use case, please reach out to your local support unit or contact the DoIT Help Desk and ask to meet with a Consultant. A Consultant can help you walk through your use case and determine if Piazza is the best technology for your needs.

Best Practices

  • Piazza is on by default in the Canvas Navigation Bar, if you are not using Piazza, you should disable it from the Navigation Bar. (Note: students can still create and use a Piazza space for your course whether you disable the integration in Canvas or not. Students will be far less likely to use or engage in the space if it is not an official part of your course)
  • Leave the instructor Self-Signup default to disabled so that no other instructor can join your Piazza page without your permission.
  • Periodically review your roster in Piazza to make sure only your students have access to your course's Piazza page.
  • Set up Roster Sync so that your class roster automatically updates. See Piazza - Roster Sync with LTI 1.3 [UW-Madison] for details.

Information to Share with Students

  • Students must create an account with Piazza to use this tool. When signing up for Piazza, students will be prompted to sign up for Piazza Network.
  • Piazza Network is a separate Piazza product and students do not need to sign up for it. In fact signing up for Network allows student profile and information to be viewed by outside organizations.  

Accessibility and FERPA information


  • Due to some design oversights, instructors can inadvertently expose FERPA-protected student data in Piazza. To minimize the risk of inadvertent exposure of student data, we encourage you to follow these best practices.
  • Turn on and use an Access Code when you activate your Piazza course to ensure only your students will be able to access your Piazza course page.

Steps to Get Started with Piazza

At UW-Madison, the Piazza product is integrated with the Canvas learning management system. This integration allows direct sign on to Piazza via a link from within Canvas. This document describes how to access Piazza from Canvas.

1. Launching Piazza

  1. To launch Piazza, select the Piazza link in the Canvas course navigation bar. A login box will appear. It will identify you as either a student or instructor in the class. 
  2. Verify that the information is correct and continue to create your account using the steps in the next sections.

2a. Create your Account (Students)

  1. You are prompted to set and confirm a new password at this screen.
    • We recommend creating a password if you wish to use your account online atpiazza.com or through the Android or iOS apps.
  2. If you've already created a Piazza account previously, you will see Account with email you provided already exists.
  3. Enter the password you used when setting up your Piazza account.
  4. Click the checkbox to agree to the terms of use, then click Continue.
    • UW-Madison has special, institutional-level terms of use in place with Piazza which supersede the on-screen terms of use. These institutional-level Terms of Use are designed to provide protection for student and faculty data and intellectual property
  5. (NOTE: For FERPA reasons we encourage you to always join a Piazza class through the integration with Canvas rather than going through piazza.com)
    Screenshot of Account Setup page in Piazza
  6. You will see a screen asking for academic information. Entering your academic information is not required. Continue as follows:
    Screenshot of page where PIazza account is configured
  7. Enter your academic information or click the I'm not pursuing a degree checkbox.
  8. Click the Continue button.
  9. A screen appears, asking you to register for the Piazza Network. 
    Note: Network is a different product offered by Piazza and it IS NOT REQUIRED that you sign up for it. 
      1. If you want to join Network, we highly recommend researching it, because it allows your profile to be viewed by outside organizations.
      2. If you choose to join the Piazza Network, you will be asked to agree to terms of service.
  10. If you choose not to join Network, you will proceed directly to Piazza Q&A.

2b. Create your Account (Instructors)

  1. Enter your estimated enrollment for the course, and click Create Class. This will take you to another course creation screen. 
  2. If you already have created an account with Piazza, simply enter your password.  
    • If not, it will walk you through creating an account. 
  3. After entering our password, click the checkbox to agree to the terms of use, then click Continue.
    Note: UW-Madison has special, institutional-level terms of use in place with Piazza which supersede the on-screen terms of use. These institutional-level Terms of Use are designed to provide protection for student and faculty data and intellectual property.
    Screenshot of Piazza setup page, with "create class" outlined
  4. Instructors will see Piazza launch.
    Note: You do not need to upload your course roster.
  • Students will automatically get added to the Piazza roster as they click on the link in your Canvas course.
  • Also, there is the possibility that a UW student not in your course will sign up for your Piazza course.
  • You should periodically go through the roster in Piazza and remove students who are not in your class in order to protect your students FERPA rights.
    Screenshot of Piazza Network data usage terms

Questions and Support

Technical Support

If you are experiencing any difficulties or issues with Piazza, please visit their Support Website.

If you have specific questions that cannot be answered by visiting the support website, please contact Piazza directly. You can submit a question via their support portal or call them directly at 1-800-818-4125.

Learn More

Read more about Piazza's features, learn how to get started, see how to configure your Piazza class and more here.

KeywordsPiazza, discussion, Q&A, Learn@UW, canvas, quizzing, getting started, overview, canvas, ferpa introduction intro 101   Doc ID121965
OwnerLearn@UW MadisonGroupLearn@UW-Madison
Created2022-10-19 13:25:18Updated2023-12-15 09:17:40
SitesDoIT Help Desk, Learn@UW-Madison
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