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Allow Students to Change ONLY Display Name

Allow Students to Change ONLY Display Name

(7)
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."

48 Comments
Renee_Carney
Community Team
Community Team

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Thank you for your Feature Idea submission. We wanted to call your attention to   which was submitted in a different voting period, but archived due to lack of votes or inadequate response. You may want to reference this idea for any insight.

Your idea will be open for vote in the next voting cycle.

In the meantime, help your idea gain traction by posting a link to this idea in the comments of the other, archived idea (which will notify author and anyone who is following the idea) and share your idea to colleagues and peers who you think would be supporters, as well.

snugent
Lamplighter II

This is the main reason why we have not enable the full profile. It seems like this should get some attention so all schools can use the full profile. There was some awesome comments on the my " modifiedtitle="true" title="archived request.

scottdennis
Community Team
Community Team

This idea has moved to the next stage and will be open for voting among the Canvas Community, from Wed. November 4, 2015 - February 3, 2016.

Check out this doc for additional details about how the voting process works!

kroeninm
Explorer II

Yes!  Display Names can vary significantly from legal names...doesn't has value for me as an option unless the legal name is the one showing in the Grades.  Allowing students to change both would allow this.

- Melanie

andrewleung
Community Member

Right now when it comes to allowing students to change their names, it's all or nothing. But we, and I suspect many other institutions, synchronize legal names with external student information systems, so allowing users to change their full/sortable names is undesirable. At the same time, we still want to give them the option to change their display name.

millerjm
Adventurer

If implemented, this needs to be a permission for institutions to choose.  We only allow display name changes as requested for faculty who go by a different name, and for students who have a very special case.  We would not want to have this enabled at our institution by default. 

jis16
Community Member

I don't see where students/faculty can change their names at all. Where is this found? Is this somethingi that has to be enabled by the institution?

kmeeusen
Community Coach
Community Coach

Joseph:

Yes, this ability can only be enabled by the administrator of Canvas for your institution. If it is enabled, then you change your name by editing your Profile in your personal settings.

You can learn more  @How do I edit my Profile?

klm

Jeff_F
Adventurer II

Permit me to quote myself:

"On a different system, when given the option, I've seen use of meaningless nicknames being entered by students. It was rather distracting."

andrewleung
Community Member

That's definitely a common concern. Right now in terms of name changes, Canvas takes an all-or-nothing approach: you can either change all your names, or none at all. Even with this feature implemented, I assume Canvas would still give you an option to turn off name changes entirely.

We want to allow students to responsibly specify their display name, but still keep the full (legal) name untouched for grading purposes. That's why this feature is important to us.

Jeff_F
Adventurer II

Andrew, I am curious if our faculty would request and sanction students be given the capability to change the display name in Canvas.  That is, so students would have the capability to change their display name so that it no longer matches what appears in Grades.  And perhaps do so repeatedly over the course of a term.

Let's ask a few of our peers and report back. 

xxg1
Community Member

As said above, this feature can benefit many institution. That is, allow students to change their display name only, while show whether display name or legal full name based on different pages. For example, in Grades page, show legal full name only.  In People section, show display name for students and legal full name for other roles, so that instructors can view all users with legal full name participation in the course on People page, while students can let their classmates to see their display name to avoid embarrassment, and to be consistent with their names in discussions, announcements, etc.

Related feature request is

Please vote up this feature if it benefits your institution as well.

dtm124
Community Member

The "all or nothing" approach to changing display names seems riddled with issues.  It seems our IT folks don't want to enable it and rightly so.  Students can and will use anything that they want, whether it be obscene or vulgar.  I've added a new idea to the queue in hopes that they can help out.  I know facebook has built in filters that prevent users from using vulgar display names so I'm wondering if canvas can't do the same?

Jeff_F
Adventurer II

I was distracted more by the possibility of someone changing the name to something irrelevant or dissociated with the legal name.    However the vulgarity issue certainly exists as well.   A system such as you propose would also need to account for made up names such as ibetreschic, onecoolpanda, etc. 

To me, giving such an option is creating a problem that would be much larger than one that may already exist.  And then we would have to create a new solution for the new problem we just created?  Such as monitoring user names?  I'd rather spend my time and the developers time to focus on other, more mission critical elements.  Hence my down vote.

jis16
Community Member

While I agree with you that the all or nothing approach is not a good option and that there is also a possibility of students using obscene or vulgar names, I disagree that this is a reason to not move forward. There are many other issues that students (and faculty) face that this function would take care of -- with the added responsibility of asking our college students to be adults about a display name that would be visible to all faculty and students in the system. For example, an instructor I was working with had two students with the exact same first name, middle initial, and last name, and their numbers were 1 digit apart in the user ID. Changing the display name would make it easier to differentiate between students. Another example, a transgender student going through a name change would benefit from having their display name changed before everything is legally changed. There are many other reasons that run the spectrum of need for this that, for me anyway, outweigh the threat of college students using inappropriate display names. But our institution at this point doesn't allow any changes to names, so this request is something that might have more impact in other educational settings while our institution keeps it turned off.

millerjm
Adventurer

Yes, in addition to the obvious vulgar names, we could also have Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston taking classes.  Students also may decide to just change their name every week and thoroughly confuse everyone.  I've seen both of these scenarios in a previous LMS.  Plus, people can use punctuation and other "license plate" sort of spellings for inappropriate names so the standard filter wouldn't catch those. 

If a faculty member would like a name change because they go by their middle name or perhaps a shortened version of their legal name, we take care of that manually.  It's by request and we don't advertise that we do this.

The only student name changes we have changed the display name for are transgender students who haven't legally changed their name yet.

dtm124
Community Member

I'm completely with you, Joseph.  The benefits far outweigh the possible issues.

andrewleung
Community Member

I understand the concerns and drawbacks mentioned here, but just to put this into perspective: Canvas already provides the option to allow name changes. Institutions already have the ability to allow/disallow name changes.

In fact, in the 2015-07-18 release​, the account setting Users can edit display name was renamed Users can edit their name. That probably means Canvas used to give to option to allow display name changes only, but it was broadened over time to include all names.

We are asking to make this option more fine-grained, rather than to force everyone to use it.

andrewleung
Community Member

Jeff, we have a rather inelegant workaround to allow users to change their display name in Canvas, and we've been using it for a while already. It's not really a problem for us that students' display name doesn't always match what appears in Grades. For example, some students have an anglicized name, but they are known by a completely different English name.

I realize that not every institution wants this flexibility, but it makes sense for ours and others too.

learym1
Community Member

This is not a bad idea however, have a history in K-12 and now in Higher Ed,  Students at times, decide to put names that are inappropriate.  If the feature is added, there needs to be admin control to turn this on or off.