cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Allow Students to Change ONLY Display Name

Allow Students to Change ONLY Display Name

(11)
Resurrect this feature request, I want to vote in favor of it!

On Profile Allow Students to Change Display Name Only

"It would be great if users had the ability to edit their display names but not their "full names" or "sortable names" in Canvas. We have a lot of cases where a student may go by a nickname or other name but their legal name is something else. This would allow the user the freedom to change their name but would not create confusion for the instructor (in the Gradebook for example). Currently you can either allow users to change all their names (full, display and sortable) which would could be problematic if it is changed to something that isn't easily tied to what's on the course roster."

49 Comments
kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

I'm not opposed to students being able to change their name, but I am concerned about potential confusion it might cause with Instructors and grading. For me, the only way I'd be ok with this is if Instructors got to see both the "changed name" and the "official name" in People, Grading/Grades, and Inbox. The reason this is important to me is that I believe that the Instructor should be able to see the name the student would like to be called (this helps with transgender students and students who just preferred to be called a different name) so they can use this name in conversations, discussions, grading, and in the classroom. Yet, for official grading purposes and Institutional communication (ex: TRIO, Advising, Tutoring, Accommodations, & Testing - just to name a few - often contact Instructors about students) it is important that the Instructor also see students "official" name. Along with this, Canvas Admins need to see (and search by) both names when looking up student information or checking course information, etc for students.

So no, I'm not opposed to this, but all names must be completely transparent to faculty (and Canvas admins!!).

andrewleung
Community Member

I totally agree that admins need to be able to turn this on or off.

The account settings already has a similar checkbox: Users can edit their name. This feature request is more like a refinement of that option; it's not a brand new feature.

Jeff_F
Community Champion

Good insights  @millerjm ​.  In well over a years time, out of over 30k users, we have received three requests to edit names.  And two of these were for instructors that wished for their degrees to be added.  Given students with a documented need can currently request an edit via the IT/ Canvas admin, my sense is this is not a pressing issue and resources are more wisely applied elsewhere.

In a post below  @kona ​ speaks of both names being present, the legal name and the student selected name.  Setting aside my personal preference, which is to be required to only know one name per person.  I know that sounds a little greedy of me but I am like that sometimes.   So what if an instructor addresses a student by the incorrect name?  With nicknames it is no big deal, however mentioned in the board here is an entirely different scenario with students transitioning genders.  Would the instructor be in trouble for 'outing' the student?  Would this then be a HIPPA privacy violation issue? 

Just some thoughts...

kona
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @Jeff_F ​, you bring up an important point about transgender students. At our College we don't care if a transgender student has been able to legally change their name or not, we will go ahead and change their name in our system (what shows up in Canvas, student email, and our SIS). We keep the legal name hidden away in our system (so we can pull it up when we need to), but for all intents and purposes the College considers the student's name to be the one that they identify with. This makes it so the student doesn't have to worry about an Instructor (or anyone else) accidentally outing them. Yet, I know not all Institutions work like this, so your point is quite valid and should be taken into consideration.

Jeff_F
Community Champion

This sure is a common sense approach!

millerjm
Community Contributor

We have also had very few requests for name changes like  @Jeff_F ​ mentioned.  Over 4 course management systems in 12 years, I've had requests from 4 transgender students who have not yet legally changed their names.  Other than that, we have faculty who go by their middle names or Richard -> Dick, Frankie -> Frank etc.  We have changed those by request. 

However, we have over 30,000 users per term at our college, which also includes an Adult High School, Dual Enrollment High School Students.

Considering that right now, certain restrictions aren't being enforced in regards to permissions (TAs can now edit course settings? ) and the lack of granularity in other permissions, I have concerns about this being implemented.  I feel that these resources required to allow users to change their display name could be better allocated to more important usability and security enhancements, and that this could be revisited at a time when some of these other issues have been resolved.

Beth_Young
Community Contributor

As an instructor, I completely agree. I would want to see both the display name and the official name.

And perhaps the vulgarity problem could be avoided by allowing only instructors to change a display name. Students would have to ask their instructor to do it for a particular class. This solution is less good for a lot of reasons, but it would dramatically cut down on the likelihood that vulgarities would appear in the display name.

allison
Instructure
Instructure

Thanks, everyone for your good thoughts around this. I'd like to consider this idea when we do some research around permissions this summer since, as you've noted, different institutions will likely want to approach this problem in different ways, which alludes to a permission enhancement of some kind. The other side to this problem is ensuring that we are clear where the student short name should appear (and for which users) throughout the platform. That increases the scope of this project quite a bit. This isn't something we'll be focusing on in the next six months (time to archive), but it is an idea I'd love to see come back for consideration in the fall. If any of you would like to participate in the permissions discussion this summer, please email me: allison@instructure.com

Jeff_F
Community Champion

Thanks for the reassurance that this will not be mandatory.  I've many other things more important than having to think about fixing funny names.

ps. remember this guy?  Now he at least changed his name legally....

funny-nickname-450x351.jpg

kroeninm
Community Champion

Hi Allison,

This question recently resurfaced for me (in working with our students with names not matching their identities) and I was curious if you have any updates about this possibility?

Thanks, feel free to message me as well.

- Melanie

Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team
  Idea is currently in Product Radar Learn more about this stage...
matthahner2
Community Member

I hope this becomes available, My mom added HER name instead of mine in error and now I cannot change it to MY Name Smiley Sad 

abbyzahugmonste
Community Member

I'm so confused, why can't I change my display name? i mean my real name is Abigail for crying out loud even my Facebook says ABBY! I've never gone by abigail my whole life for anything except legal terms. This just isn't fair to not allow me to change my name its not like any of my class mates online will know its me, I don't go by my birth given name, I have a nick name. -Abby

rosemckeon
Community Member

I'd be happy with a dropdown list of options made from my real name - the way WordPress user accounts work. And, for middle names to be included in the real name, as they're missing at the moment. That way I could choose to use my middle name as the display name. So, if you're called "John James Smith" you'd get options as follows;

  • John
  • James
  • Smith
  • John Smith
  • James Smith
  • John James Smith

That way there's no worry about vulgar/distracting choices. I'm not sure this approach helps with anglicised names, though, unless they've been made an official name part.

twillmse
Community Member

Could it also be a possibility of managing even further by Student, Teacher.  Similar to how we manage permissions.

257070_pastedImage_1.png

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Hi abbyzahugmonster‌ &  @rosemckeon ‌

The ability to change your display names is already available in Canvas, but your Canvas admins have the ability to shut the feature off. We did so at our school because faculty were having a hard time knowing who the student was when posting final grades at end of term - many were  not as obvious as Abby/Abigale.

Kelley

andrewleung
Community Member

Yes, the ability to change display names is available, but enabling it also enables the changing of their full (legal) names. I think we'd like Instructure to decouple/limit that setting so it only controls the ability to change the display name and nothing else.

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Oh, I agree, andrewleung‌!

I was just answering the questions of those two nice ladies.

scoivi8138
Community Member

Hi, I know this has been a long time being reviewed.  I wanted to add my two cents here if I may.  I am a transitioning student, and every single term I've outed myself with the intent on getting the students to call me by my preferred name instead of my legal one, which I will not be able to change for another six months or so.  In most cases only the instructor bothers to call me by this name (Ashlynn, or Ashley, or even Ash), and it has been very disheartening.  I contacted my school about getting my name changed so I didn't have to go through this ordeal anymore but they said they had to use my legal name.

Please please please... I need this functionality because the other students don't even reply to my discussion posts most of the time and I fear it's because I'm outing myself.  I just want to have a normal life, at least when it comes to my school, but even here I am frustrated.

Thanks for your time.

~Ashley

jcox6
Community Member

Hi, I believe this feature should be available. I recently got married and my legal name and school name is showing my married and updated name, but my display name is still my maiden name. This will only confuse students and possibly the teachers if not changed. Who can I speak with about this issue, like is there a way they can change it?

About Idea Conversations
In the Canvas Community Ideas space, you can share, converse, and rate idea conversations related to software improvements to Canvas products.