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EDIT Roadmap: 2020 → 2022


  • in the spring 2020 remote teaching feedback survey, teachers expressed as the nr 1 challenge in remote teaching the changes in interaction with students - the perceptions were that there had been less interaction, with fewer students or there had been challenges in the interaction. Also the tools provided for the needs were not perceived as supportive for the needs.
  • Aalto has provided Teams as the primary online discussion tool for teaching and learning needs. It does not satisfy all needs and users.
  • Some teachers (at CS and other departments) have used external discussion tools (Piazza, Slack, Zulip) in their teaching, because they provide features perceived as useful for the needs. Still, the external solutions are not always GDPR-compliant and some students have complained about using them.
  • Some teachers at the CS, PHYS and MATH departments have asked for a discussion tool with LaTeX support


Additional technically Aalto-approved and pedagogically meaningful solutions for online interaction in teaching and learning need to be found. The project is split into subprojects, for a) finding out teacher and student experiences and opinions and 2) finding technically solid solutions for the needs

Subprojects per academic term:

  • summer 2020: Slack
    • the first and preferred solution would have been Slack. In the summer 2020, we had discussions with CSC on getting Slack as a nationally provided system ( It turned out that Slack is not solution because of costs and licensing.
    • The Slack status 2021: the most expensive license model which is 54e/user/year would be approved by Aalto security. But 1) Aalto is a public institution which needs to follow Finnish law on public tendering in purchases and the tendering limit is 60te/4 years for the whole Aalto, so buying Slack for big courses would easily go over the limit. Additionally, tendering on "a chat for courses" would not necessarily give Slack as the winner; and 2) there is yet no-one who would pay the bill.

    • Salesforce has bought Slack, so it remains to be seen if that gives Aalto some additional opportunity to get also Slack.

  • autumn 2020:
  • spring 2021:
    • pilot 2: an Aalto installation of Zulip in collaboration with Aalto IT and CS IT, for the whole School of Science. See instructions and Requests for course instances
      • user experiences were collected from all Zulip users, including the pilot courses and previous, external Zulip use. See the results at Zulip pilot feedback spring 2021.
      • the pilot period covers also summer 2021 courses
    • reviews on external tools
      • Piazza has been submitted to the Aalto security review process
      • has been submitted to the Aalto security review process
  • summer 2021
    • the Zulip pilot covers also summer 2021 courses
  • autumn 2021
    • Zulip
      • the Zulip pilot 2 covers all schools at Aalto in small scale to evaluate Zulip suitability for the whole Aalto. Feedback was collected online and the summary of responses is available at Zulip pilot feedback summary autumn 2021
      • Decision on Zulip future as Aalto product was made. A roadmap for the handover process is created in December 2021.
    • Piazza
  • spring 2022
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