University of Wisconsin–Madison

Improve Course Inclusion with NameCoach in Canvas 

Everyone has had their name mispronounced, or mispronounced someone else’s, and it can feel embarrassing for both parties as well as others present. Saying a name incorrectly can cause anxiety and embarrassment in a classroom setting, damage credibility, and make either party feel excluded.

“[NameCoach] is part of an overall effort to build inclusion features into our campus tools and systems alongside the pronoun feature in Canvas and preferred name display across campus,” Gabe Javier, associate vice chancellor for student affairs in the areas of identity and inclusion. “Taking the time to learn and correctly pronounce a person’s name is one simple, and important, way to respect and honor their identity.” Name pronunciation feature added to Canvas, Campus News, Jan 13, 2022

NameCoach allows students and instructors to record their name in one place and then be accessible to all of their classes, which increases inclusion.

When can NameCoach help?

  • small groups who need how to say each other’s names correctly
  • instructors calling on students in lectures or discussions
  • students requesting help from instructors and TAs

A great orientation activity

As part of class orientations in the first week, you may want to prompt your students to record their name outside of class. This could be part of an assignment or discussion that you already have in your course.

Where is NameCoach?

You may have noticed the new tool has shown up in your Canvas course menu as NameCoach Roster; this is where your students’ name pronunciations will be accessible to you after they are recorded. A recording of their name can help you get to know your students in a similar way that adding a picture to a roster is, or their Canvas profile picture.

Follow How to record your name pronunciation to record your own name, then share that link with your students, such as in a Canvas announcement, quiz, or assignment.

For additional guidance on how to use pronouns, visit the Gender and Sexuality Campus Center’s Pronouns Matter webpage.