Teachers unite!

When we talk about academic workflows in the PKM field, we tend to focus mostly on research and not so much on teaching workflows. I wan’t to hear from everyone how they use Obsidian for course planning, making material for the students and administration. I can start with myself and where my workflow is right now (this has changed several times and I am still not sure about how to proceed).

I wander between having an oldschool folder system where each course had its own folder with subfolders for each term (named course code + term + year) or a more P.A.R.A.-oriented system. The problem with P.A.R.A., at least for me, is what to put where, mainly thinking about Areas and Resources.

The regular folder system is based on having a folder note as the landing page for each course and also having a kanban board for the course-term.

I also wan’t to use Obsidian to create all kinds of learning material, being it presentations, exercises and different kinds of handouts but I haven’t gotten to that yet.

To much fiddling with the system has been in the way for me to actually implement a system. Next term I will choose one system and use until the end of the term where I will examine how it went, changing it where needed.

Please join me in a discussion on this topic!

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Very useful discussion.
Personally I haven’t started using this tool for planning but mostly for taking notes on different subjects in order to interconnect my thoughts.
I would consider my self as a beginner to amateur with markdown language but I can see the great potential of obsidian.
I find your initiative as obviously very important for Educators and Teachers.
I will keep on following and trying to submit my little stones to this topic.
Best Regards.

Thanks! I’m glad you’re interested.

To add some topics worth discussing:

  • Folders, MOCs or no folders?
  • P.A.R.A., Zettelkasten, GTD, LYT or Johnny Decimal
  • Task/project management inside or outside Obsidian
  • PDF, presentations, spreadsheets etc inside or outside Obsidian
  • Reusable material from one term added to next term (template structure for course or new setup each term?)

I teach law so some aspects of what I do with Obsidian may not translate that well to other fields, but here goes:

My primary goals for Obsidian with respect to teaching are 1) having good, usable notes on which to rely in the classroom and 2) minimizing the amount of duplicative effort if and when I teach the same class again. The first is pretty easy—I prepare a pretty extensive outline for each class. The second is where the fun happens.

I’ve started including a YAML block at the top of every class notes file with the date of the class, the topics covered, and the cases discussed (with links to my notes on each case, which tend to be pretty extensive). I use Dataview to create a note with a table of each class session’s date, topics, and cases. This helps me figure out where to look for things when responding to student questions, planning what to cover next time around, etc.

Keeping separate notes for each case makes it easier for me to move them around during the course; instead of typing all that material into my class outline, I embed the case note as a callout. I also have a Dataview note that gives me a table of all the cases covered in the course, with columns for each term in which I’ve taught the course and links to the class notes for any class session in which I covered each case. Again, this is very helpful when responding to questions and planning future semesters.

My approach is, of course, constantly in flux. I am still figuring out how best to modularize different aspects of my notes, for example. I don’t currently use Obsidian for slides or other course materials; I likely never will for slides, but I may begin drafting e.g. class exercises as notes in the course folder. Currently I do that in Atom so that I can easily push them to the course website.

I run an in-home preschool with my wife and plan to use Obsidian publish to curate a digital garden of resources for parents of young children -everything from a backlinked parent handbook to resources on things like sleep and potty training to deeper thoughts on child development that address social-emotional issues. Setting up my ZK with guidance from Brian Jenks’s videos as I like his approach. Likely not the response you were expecting!