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Why to use Piazza

Piazza is a place for students to post questions they have about CICS 110, and get quick answers from instructors, TAs, UCAs, or even other students. Piazza is a great resource for

  1. Clarifying logistics, like asking what you need for the lab this week, when something is going to posted or where it will be posted, or questions about office hour times.
  2. Asking topical questions, like how to use an f-string, or how if statements actually work.
  3. Getting help on assignments, whether you're having trouble starting the assignment, really stuck on a certain TODO, or want help improving your solution.

Piazza is helpful for you as a student for a variety of reasons:

  1. It gives you the opportunity to get timely answers to your questions: 2-3 members of course staff are monitoring Piazza on any given day of the week, which guarantees you get an answer ASAP.
  2. It lets you see questions other students ask, so each question only gets asked once.
  3. It allows you to practice answering questions other students have, and getting feedback on your answers from Instructors. We highly encourage you to try to answer questions other students ask on Piazza.
  4. It is a place for you to discuss course topics with other students, or even ask questions beyond the scope of the course! You are welcome to ask curiosity questions outside what we cover here (for example, "how does a for loop actually work", or "how does the program know where it is in an opened file"), and our course staff will be happy to give our best answer!

How to use Piazza

To ask a question, click the New Post button in the top left corner:

Image of new post button

You'll then be presented with the following screen:

Image of post creation screen

99% of the time you'll want to pick Question. Public posts are Entire Class, private posts are Individual Student(s)/Instructor(s). If you pick the latter, typing Instructors posts to the entire staff. You can also post to just your instructor if you need to, put we're prefer you reserve this for personal matters.

Then select a folder based on what your question is about, type up your question.

Before you select Post My Question/Note, you can chose if you want your question to have your name shown, or be anonymous to classmates. It's up to you, but I know from personal experience it's much easier to ask questions anonymously.

How to ask for Help

There are three main types of questions

  1. Approach-based questions: How do I start Todo 4 in the project?
  2. Code-specific questions: Why is my code not working how I want it?
  3. Logistical questions

Piazza is great for approach-based questions. We highly recommend that you make these posts public. That way other students can see the questions, as well as discuss them or even answer them. If you are shy about asking your classmates for help, you can always post anonymous! Posting publicly is also a huge help to us, since it prevents us from asking the same question over and over again.

For more on code-specific questions, see the Posting Code section.

For logistical questions, you can either post public or private. It's up to your discretion based on the question you want to ask.

Posting Code

A classic question that we see every semester is

Why is this not working?

with an image of someone's source code attached. This is an academic honesty violation, and is also usually hard for us to answer without just giving you the solution.

Firstly, do not ever include your source code for an assignment in a public Piazza post. Posting your code to the entire class is code sharing, and is therefore an academic dishonesty violation per the academic honesty policy detailed in the syllabus. We take this very seriously, so please do not do it.


  1. If you have a question about zyBooks or zyLabs, please make a public post directing us to the specific section and question. We can see your submissions, and will respond to your post either with general pointers, or even with what you should look to change.

Example: I've been stuck on section 2.15 of the lab. Can you give me some pointers?

  1. If you have a question about an assignment, please first submit your current code to Gradescope. Then, ask your question and include a link to your Gradescope submission at the bottom.

Example: I am stuck on Todo 4, specifically the part with getting the print formatting right. Any advice?

Gradescope link: link to submission

  1. Lecture code and code in the homework exercises are fine to be posted. In fact, we encourage you as students to try to respond to these! Just make sure you err on the side of leading the student in the right direction. Do not give them the answer directly (again, academic honesty is important to us).