Discussion Tools for Collaboration Workshop


Mattermost is an online chatroom-style application that allows for real-time or asynchronous communication and collaboration between users. Students and instructors can create public channels, private group discussions, and one-on-one direct messages to facilitate communication. Users can be part of multiple discussions (channels), where they can share files and links as well as search and filter through past messages. The application can be accessed through the web or the mobile app through any device, so message notifications can be customized to suit the user’s preferences: email alerts, mobile push notifications or desktop alerts, for example.

  • Provides a real-time and asynchronous, chatroom-like discussion space (similar to Slack) that is intuitive and easy to use.
  • Hosted at UBC, meaning there are fewer security concerns with using the tool on a day-to-day basis.
  • Mobile-friendly, with apps available for both iPhone and Android as well as the option of using a desktop web version.
  • Control is available over message notifications such as on-screen alerts on a desktop computer or laptop, e-mail alerts sent to your inbox, or push notifications on your phone.

For more information about this application, please visit http://isit.arts.ubc.ca/mattermost


Piazza is an online discussion space aimed at supporting peer learning. The Piazza discussion forum is designed around a question-and-answer format that provides a space for students to ask questions about class materials and then respond to each other. A Wiki-style editing mechanism allows students to collaborate on “best answer” responses to questions that are posed and encourages further discussion. Piazza provides a mechanism for instructors or TA’s to provide an authoritative answer or mark “good” answers to endorse them.

  • Provides a student-focused online question-and-answer space that encourages peer learning and support outside of class time.
  • Mobile-friendly, with apps available for both iPhone and Android as well as the option of using the web version.
  • There are tools available in Piazza to help instructors moderate the discussions by organizing questions into folders, pinning the most significant questions and endorsing student answers that are correct.
  • The student-driven Q/A space works particularly well for subjects that emphasize problem solving.

For more information about this application, please visit http://isit.arts.ubc.ca/piazza

Contact Us

Please email us at arts.helpdesk@ubc.ca if you would like to learn more about these discussion tools.