Piazza: Homework as Social

As we’ve noted, social media sites have recently begun expanding their reach into the educational sphere in a variety of ways.  As the NY Times points out, this reach now extends to homework sites, including a new free service, Piazza:

Students post questions to their course page, which peers and educators can then respond to.  Instructors moderate the discussion, endorse the best responses and track the popularity of questions in real time.  Responses are also color-coded, so students can easily identify the instructor’s comments.

Piazza’s supporters claim that what sets this service apart from other educational software services, such as Blackboard, is their rapid response time.  They also claim that “Piazza [gives] students a community…” and provides students the opportunity to be more interactive with their fellow classmates. 

The impact of social media giants, like Facebook, Twitter, and Skype, has been that consumers now expect instantaneous feedback.  Piazza’s attempt to harness the power of social media is an attempt to satisfy this expectation.  Piazza allows students  to collaborate and receive assistance at the speed they’ve come to expect.  Kudos to Piazza for utilizing social media to improve the educational experience.

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