Welcome to the Uncommon Sense Teaching Cohort! Let’s introduce ourselves!

Hello Everyone!

Barb Oakley here, I’ll be your instructor for this Cohort. :wave: I’m so excited to be going on this journey with you!

Please familiarize yourself with our Code of Conduct for this program. It’s expected that you abide by these rules.

Next, please take the time to get to know your Cohort portal where, amongst other things, you’ll find the streaming schedule.

Finally, I’d love to get to know you! Please drop a reply down below telling us a little about yourself, as well as what you’re hoping to take away from this Cohort!

I’ll go first:

:wave: I’m Barb Oakley, I’m currently living in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I originally trained as a linguist at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, because I couldn’t learn math. But at age 26, when I got out of the military, I decided to try to change my brain and learn math and science. To my surprise, I’m now a distinguished professor of engineering at Oakland University in Michigan! Many of the techniques I used to help me learn effectively have been shown by neuroscience to be powerful learning tools for all kinds of subjects.

Along with Terrence Sejnowski, the Francis Crick Professor at the Salk Institute, I teach Learning How to Learn, one of the world’s most popular MOOCs. In Uncommon Sense Teaching, we take a fresh, science-based approach to teaching–which also means we add in plenty of humor! In this Cohort, I plan to help guide you through the key ideas of the Uncommon Sense Teaching course–and also give you a sense of the behind-the-scenes thinking that went into creating the course.

PS: If you’d like to customize your forum username and picture, here’s how .


Hello! I am Dhawal, the founder and CEO of Class Central!

A few years ago, I took Barb’s Learning How to Learn which changed my life.

At that time I was struggling to keep up with all the different tasks related to running a company. The tips and tricks that were shared were valuable, but really got me to implement those in practice was the explanation of the science behind it.

I can confidently say that if I didn’t take that course, Class Central might have fizzled away a long time ago.


Hello Barb, hello all, my name is Nielda. I’m a Brazilian ELS teacher and for this year I’ve established as both personal and professional goals to expand my knowledge regarding learning processes and second language acquisition.
I intend to apply what I learn during our studies directly in classes, to help my students reach their objectives and have more meaningful experiences; This cohort is my first step towards this aim. Studying online can be a lonely path and I believe studying together helps us to keep the rhythm and broaden our perspectives. So, I’m thrilled to be here with you all. Looking forwards to meeting you all next week. =)


Hello Dr Oakley, few years ago, me too, I took Learning How to Learn Course, and it changed my life too… as mentioned by others. I wish somebody told me this 30 years ago. Therefore, I am spreading the word.I am telling everyone that learning is fun, just do what Dr Oakley says. am so honored to be part of this course. I am looking forward to this!


My fingers were too fast. Forgot to mention that I have my BA from Sarajevo, Bosnia , my MA from Lester University in UK, then I migrated to Canada and repeated my credentials at University of Toronto.


Hello, my name is Erik. I am a homeschooled student, and am always interested in learning better ways to learn (and teach others).


Hi :wave: I’m Heather Sternshein, writing in from Durham, North Carolina. After completing my PhD in neuroscience, my career took a right turn into online learning first through OER digital book creation, then MOOC making, and now administration for a top online MBA.

I bought Barb’s Uncommon Sense Teaching book right when it came out (maybe even pre-ordered?) and I’m looking forward to diving in here and geeking out!


Professor Oakley interviewed me for her book Mindshift after I took her course Learn how to Learn during my time as a MOOCaholic in the early days of MOOCs. At the time I was also trying to figure out a scalable business model for teaching social and emotional learning.

The latter challenge proved too difficult. Today I am trying to teach a program how to better recognize the amount and kind of humor in movie and TV scripts for StoryFit
Professor Oakley has given me fresh perspectives before, so maybe it will help me teach computers how to learn better. :wink:


Hello Dr. Oakley and everyone, I’m Stephanie. I am an elementary school teacher in New Jersey. I’m interested in taking this course for a few reasons. Since completing my master’s degree and starting my teaching career, I’ve had this longing to further my career. I’m not at the point where I can invest in another degree, so I figured I’d take a variety of professional development courses in different avenues. I have a background in linguistics, which has surprisingly (and also not surprisingly) helped me in my teaching; and this is the basis of where my interests fall. I’m interested in learning more about how the brain learns to learn and how I can apply that understanding into my classroom through research-proven strategies. I’m really excited to be sharing and learning with all of you!


Hello! I’m Brandon Jubar and I’m a lifelong learner. I spent the first 40 years of my life in Michigan, which is why I have a Bachelor in Communications from UofM, a Paralegal Certificate from Oakland University, and an MS in Administration from Central Michigan University. After my family and I moved to El Paso, Texas, I completed a second Master degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University.

I spent the first 17 years of my career working in the automotive industry but have been working in the Federal government since 2009. Last year, I was selected as one of the FCW Fed 100 - people who had the greatest impact in Federal IT in 2021 - for my work in IT accessibility. I guess that means I’m doing something right!

I’ve read Mindshift and most of Uncommon Sense Teaching, looking for ways to improve the training my team provides on making IT more accessible to those with disabilities… and to help me teach others my RELAX Formula. (I’m talking all about that in my weekly Relaxed Leader newsletter.)

So happy to be here with all of you to collaborate and learn!


Hello Barb!
I’m Archisha Bhar from India. Can’t wait for the Cohort to begin. :blush:


Hello, my name is Carissa, I am 24, a writer, and student. I have a certificate in creative writing, which I earned in 2021. I plan to enroll at National University (online) to pursue a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies sometime this year. Currently I am working as a freelance content writer through platforms like Verblio, Constant Content, and Contently. I plan to open a marketing company by 2024.
I will leave my infamous professional quote below. I am excited to be learning in this course. I hope to learn new information to further my adventitious life endeavors. Thank you.
I do not write with ineffective language. I do not waste my time doing things that I doubt an outcome to be unsuccessful. I have never understood the morals that allow “completely wrong.” If something can be fixed, that is a mistake. If something never existed, and has no moral value the people involved, it should be refered to as a joke.
-Carissa Morrison


Hello all

I’m Hamish and I’m from Surrey, England. I work as a private tutor in Thailand, where I teach a wide range of students, from government officials and businesspeople to teachers and scholarship students, with a few kindergarten aged ones to mix it up a bit.

Work has got in the way of studying over the last couple of months, and especially interfered with the live study group sessions. I’ve been doing a few of the MIT OCW courses as they are primarily reading based, as well as trying to work my way through a mountain of books that is cluttering up my home.

Like other here, I’ve taken the Learning How to Learn course, and have acted as a TA on it. I’ve also taken Barb’s Learn Like a Pro on edx and Mindshift on coursera. I’ve done Uncommon Sense Teaching twice - once before it went online, and then again as a student when it was released on coursera.

I’ll try to get home in time for the live sessions on Mondays, although may be a bit tired after 11 hours of teaching in an uncommon way.


Greetings to everyone. I am Thembelihle(Hope) Madondo from South Africa in the North Coast of the KwazuluNatal Province in the City of Umhlathuze that is characterized by being a mining ,aluminium and steel manufacturing. I am a teacher by profession and have taught Mathematics and Science in High schools for 17 years before becoming a Mathematics Education Specialist for 13 years now in the Department of Basic Education District. My district is named after the late Zulu King Cetshwayo and is demographically rural with large enrolment schools.
I am passionate about the teaching and learning of Mathematics and Mathematics Education is my field of study. I hold a Masters Degree in Mathematics Education with special focus on Curriculum Instruction from Concordia university in Port Land Oregon State.
I am a lifelong learners always looking for ways to better teach my subject Mathematics. I am looking forward to learning a lot new in this course that will assist me in shaping the classroom into becoming an interesting learning environment.


Hi Barbara, I am Sumaia from Yemen… I am studying translation and working as an English teacher … I’m interested in teaching and want to learn all new and different strategies about teaching to give the best to my students…and I’m so excited for this course and I hope to gain new experience and enjoy as well…


Nagasaki, Japan, Honolulu, Hawaii, Whidbey Island, Washington, and my hometown of New York City are a few places that I’ve lived and that have shaped me – I’ve been able to take classes of some sort in every new place I’ve lived.
I’ve taught English as a second language, and also web development. Currently working with the leading coding bootcamp in the U.S., I remain curious about learning and teaching.
Thank you Barb, and all, in advance: I am looking forward to the gems of knowledge shared here!


I’m Kyle, currently a manufacturing engineer in Mississippi, USA. I have a different way of thinking so I’m looking to see if a different way of learning would help. Won’t be able to get to the live sessions as I’ll be working then.


Hello Barb and all my peers in this cohort,

I am Sonal from Cambridge, MA in USA.
I am a lifelong learner.
I took this class on Coursera last year when it was first released and loved it. Now this is a treat to learn with you all the neurosvirnce of learning, make new links in my brain and have fun learning in diffused mode! I love to learn anything from Barbra, love her approach to teaching and always very cheerful nature.
Very much looking forward to meeting you all!


Hi! My name is Kristine from Manila, Philippines. I have been teaching for over 20 years, and loving it more and more each day! This is my first time taking an online course, so SURPRISE me!