Piazza Moving to Paid Model—Opportunity for Discourse

Right. What you want to do is call the API when a student is added/removed from a course, thus keeping things up to date and not needing to do API calls for 60K students * tons of courses. The SSO solution would be great if you have tech folks with the skills and desire to help. At a Large Midwestern University, there’s a chance of that, but only with buy-in from them. Back in the daay, at my Large Southern University I was able to get competent help to LDAP auth my self-hosted Moodle instance with the university, but I wasn’t asking for course-level data.

Right. So looking more closely that Piazza, it’s pretty clear that their business model was to give free/low cost access to folks just long enough for them to build a product and get connections (both software and business-wise) with the popular LMSs. And once you’re a BIG-LMS-OFFICIAL-PARTNER then it’s much easier to get the tech folks to buy in (with their dollars and their time).

So the pieces that I’ve found are

  • a fork of the question-answer plugin that allows two posts to be marked as answers, one for everyone with access to the category and one for the owners of the group that controls access to the category, and then makes both of those Wikis with write permissions scoped to the right group. I’m not entirely convinced that students/faculty really love this feature, though, so maybe all you really want is a forum that doesn’t suck.
  • plugins for Every.Single.LMS that facilite connecting a category to an LMS course. I guess I’d start with Moodle, since it’s free, and then work on Canvas, since it’s the current Market Leader. My guess is 10-50 hours for each of them, but I could be off by a factor of 2 or 3. But this counts on buy-in from folks with keys to the LMS

For a single class, if the students use Google or Microsoft email, then authentication isn’t a huge hassle (even without help from Above) and managing users by hand isn’t a HUGE hassle. But to make it worth my while, I’d need to charge on the order of $100/semester, assuming that I didn’t have to do a bunch of hand-holding to get folks onboarded.

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