Piazza is a discussion board application that can be used to create an online space where students can post and answer questions, help their peers outside of the classroom, and encourage discussions. Piazza is fully integrated with Canvas.


Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA)

If you decide to use Piazza in your course, you are required to use the Canvas integration to ensure that its use is compliant with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). The Canvas integration link directs students to the proper Piazza course and masks the student’s identity before it is sent to the site. To comply with BC privacy legislation, students will need to create a Piazza account and agree to the terms of use the first time they use the tool. While Piazza adheres to strict U.S. privacy regulations (FERPA), UBC cannot guarantee the security of student’s private details on servers outside of Canada. Students should be reminded to exercise caution whenever using personal information, and that they may use a pseudonym to protect their privacy if they have concerns. Creating a Piazza course outside of Canvas and providing students with the external URL is not FIPPA compliant and is not recommended.

Integrating Piazza into Canvas

There are two ways in which you can integrate Piazza into your Canvas site. We recommend choosing only one method to minimize multiple entry points.

Adding a course menu link

1. Access your Canvas course site.
2. Click Settings on the course menu.
3. Select the Navigation tab.
4. Drag the Piazza item from the bottom section of the page to the top section.
5. Click Save.

You may be required to refresh your browser for the course menu link to appear. Click on the link to launch Piazza and create your course.

Adding a Piazza link in a Canvas module

1. Access your Canvas course site.
2. Click Modules on the course menu.
3. Click the + icon on the top right corner of the module you wish to add the Piazza link to.
4. Select External Tool from the Add drop-down menu.
5. Scroll all the way down and check the box Load in a new tab.
6. Click Add Item.

Click on the link to launch Piazza and create your course.

Creating a course
  1. Access Piazza via the link you created in your Canvas course.
  2. Confirm your enrolment as an instructor, enter your email address, and set a password.
    • If you have used Piazza previously, enter the name and email address for your Piazza account.
  3. Click Continue to launch Piazza.

Once you have created your Piazza course, inform your students to use the Piazza link in the Canvas course site to log into Piazza and create an account.

Anonymous and private post settings

Students are able to post private questions (where only the instructor/TA can see the question and response) and public questions (where anyone can see the question and response). Students can also choose to post their public question anonymously so that their names will not appear next to the question.

When creating a new Piazza course, the default settings allow students to post both private and public questions anonymously. Instructors are able to enable or disable these settings.

Posting anonymously

Enabled: Students show up as "Anonymous" to both classmates and instructors.
Disabled: Students show up as "Anonymous" to classmates, but not to instructors.

Private posts

Enabled: Instructors and students will be able to post privately to instructors.
Disabled: Only instructors will be able to post privately to instructors.

To manage these settings:
1. Access your Piazza course.
2. Click the Manage Class tab.
3. Click the Customize Q&A tab.
4. Enable/disable settings as desired.
5. Click Save Changes.

Last updated on: February 6, 2020

Learning technology support

If you have any questions or if you would like to report an issue regarding a learning technology, please don’t hesitate to contact us at LT.support@science.ubc.ca. For in-person support, please join our LTRs at one of our drop-in sessions.