Piazza Statement for Instructors

Piazza is an online application that facilitates class discussion boards. Piazza approaches faculty members directly. Some professors at the University and at several peer institutions use Piazza.

Piazza has a secondary service, Piazza Careers, which shares information submitted by students with a broader audience, including potential employers.

The University does not have a contract with Piazza, which is not officially authorized or supported by the University. Piazza services and practices have not been evaluated by the University from a privacy, security, technical, or academic perspective.  Accordingly, use of Piazza must be voluntary for students.

Provostial guidance is provided on the CTSI website, intended to protect students and instructors, articulates requirements for cloud/online resources, including voluntary student participation for services that have not been institutionally assessed and adopted.

Students should be allowed to “opt-in” to Piazza, and be informed that not opting in will not disadvantage them, and will not affect official University outcomes (including grades, participation, and learning opportunities).  Students should be given a viable alternative to using Piazza.

Instructors should also avoid placing essential course information exclusively into a third-party system, as opposed to the University Portal, as this would also disadvantage students who have decided to not opt into or use an external service. This would include reading materials, syllabus and scheduling information, and test and assignment results.

The University provides a discussion board service that meets privacy requirements, and we are currently looking at providing further services. Provostial guidance for professors instructors is to use University approved services (including authorized external ones), the security and privacy of which is understood, as opposed to unexamined external services.

The Piazza Privacy Policy and Terms of Use provide for substantial sharing and use, including commercial use, of personal information of students. Instructors should carefully examine these terms when considering the possible use of the service.

Instructors should urge students to carefully examine the Piazza Privacy Policy and Terms of Use before opting in to Piazza, and are asked to give students a statement about the Piazza privacy policy and information practices.

Instructors wishing assistance in their course design, including alternatives to cloud-based third-party applications, should contact their local instructional technology professional or the Centre for Teaching Support & Innovation <portal.help@utoronto.ca> for advice.

PIAZZA STATEMENT FOR STUDENTS

Be sure to read Piazza’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use carefully.

Take time to understand and be comfortable with what they say.

They provide for substantial sharing and disclosure of your personal information held by Piazza, which affects your privacy.

If you decide to participate in Piazza, only provide content that you are comfortable sharing under the terms of the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.