Linking your Teaching - Obsidian October

While wishfully, I would have loved to make this plugin for Obsidian October, neither my programming skills or availability as a grad student are up to the task of making this happen, so I present it to the community in the hope that it inspires some productive discourse!

Linking your Teaching: A Pedagogy Plugin

The #1 regret I’ve heard from Zettlers across the internet is I wish I started my note-taking journey earlier. I also share this sentiment, having only joined the community after finishing my undergraduate career, where I would have loved to have a better note-taking system. The problem is that systems like collaborative learning, Zettelkastens, knowledge bases, or Wiki building, aren’t integrated into schools and curricula, where most of us build the foundation for our sense-making journeys. I can imagine why: building a curriculum around an intangible (and ostensibly hard-to-grade) resource like a Zettelkasten sounds extremely tricky. However, if we could devise a way to teach around the idea of students building their own second brains, I think the benefits would be invaluable. Not only would students leave with a resource that would grow in value with age, but their mastery of a subject would be founded on interconnected learning, rather than on rote reproduction.

(I suppose) I am proposing a toolset plugin that helps teachers manage classrooms of Vaults, and help students create their own Course Vaults both collaboratively and with guidance from their teacher. Such tools include admin tools (like a Core Curriculum Vault with group sharing/privacy policy tools), collaborative tools (like commenting and quoting from other students and common resources), ethics tools (like plagiarism, statistics on blocks of Cited Work v.s. Individual (self-written) Work), and grading tools (like how often one student’s work is cited by others, how often each student cites other students or the Core Vault/textbook, percentage of exercises done from the textbook, etc.) What this plugin is not (yet) is a curriculum (how to judge true student aptitude off of the grading metrics, how to integrate this into a real classroom, etc.), nor is it a SaaS-type plugin (with server/School/centralized management, deployability, backup, etc.). More fundamentally, I would hope to see a testing suite produced to prototype what a curriculum might look like, and test the potential of some future system.

Classes as Vaults

To discretize students’ performance into Courses, each Course would have its own Vault. However, these Vaults will also exist within the student’s Personal Vault which overarches all classes, encourages/allows for connectivity between subjects, and can house academic resources like students’ CV’s, extracurricular experiences, etc.

Encouraging Collaboration

  • What Individual Works are cited the most by their peers? This should be greatly rewarded as work done well enough that others would find it worth including in their own Vaults.
  • How often are students citing each other?
  • How often are students commenting on one another’s work? (asking v. suggesting?)

Discouraging Plagiarism

  • Easy to cite external resources
  • Plagiarism checker for Vaults, Textbook, Wikipedia, Internet in general (Turnitin integration?)
  • Suggested places to rephrase/write in your own words over citing (discouraging information hoarding, too)

Is this proposed undertaking to create the equivalent to a learning management system in Obsidian?


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I guess so! Although, I don’t expect to create something fully robust, that includes for example grade management, test/quiz proctoring, etc. (Like a full Canvas replacement, for example). Maybe more like collaborative Vaults with parent-and-child like tools, sharing+privacy, feedback, and interconnectivity.

I’m also not in a position to mess with this, but I think one direction might be to fork and customize the git plugin. Git would support collaboration. The existing git plugin commands could be expanded and renamed to support students and handle (or at least warn) about conflicts.

I’d be curious how far this idea might go. May you find the interest that you believe it deserves and the audience who will recognize that they need the result even when they don’t know it now.