Piazza class discussion platform to start displaying advertisements in January

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State has been informed by the Piazza vendor that starting in January, Piazza will begin displaying advertisements while using the tool, which helps instructors to efficiently manage class Q&A. To continue using Piazza as a discussion platform without ads, instructors will need to consider purchasing a license. More details about Piazza’s shift to a paid model are available here.

As an alternative to using Piazza, instructors can use Top Hat Discussions. Virtual Classroom Streaming, including live chat and Top Hat Community, is also coming soon. Top Hat’s integration with Canvas seamlessly synchronizes rosters and grades, allowing instructors to connect discussions with the gradebook.   

With core Top Hat features available at no cost to students, students can participate in Top Hat activities with their smartphones without the purchase of a standalone device. Students also can log in to access Top Hat via the web for added convenience.  

Instructors interested in learning more about how to use Top Hat can start by completing  this form to request a personalized demonstration with a Top Hat education technology specialist or register to attend one of the training sessions provided by Penn State IT Learning Development. Additional vendor supported resources and guides are available for instructors and students.   

For more information about Top Hat, visit     


Last Updated December 10, 2020