Preferred Name in Gradebook - Using Display Name workaround



Hi there, 

Since our institution has decided to disable the "Canvas Users can edit their Names" option, I have had the pleasure of creating a workaround for a handful of students who have a preferred name.(This is not a legal Name Change so their account name stays the same for many reasons). 


After the student sets up a Preferred Name option with our Admissions department, I take that information and apply it to the display name area in that user's account info in Canvas. 


In Canvas the user account name is the legal name: John, but the display name is now the preferred name: Pearl. 

 Positive Outcomes: 

  • The student when (he/she) logs in and navigates the account will see the preferred name. 
  • When the student interacts with Discussions or other posts in Canvas and such the preferred name will be seen. 

Negative Outcomes:  (There are a few workarounds I suggested)

  • The legal name is still associated in the Peoples Tab to students and teachers - (Hide Tab)
  • The legal name is still associated with the instructor's Gradebook - (In Notes Column Add PN)
  • The legal name is still associated with the student Gradebook  


 Add (Display Name) option to the secondary identifier list in the Instructors Gradebook. I would also include this as an option for the student gradebook. I have attached a screenshot of where that option would be added to in the gradebook. 


If this was done the teacher could add a secondary identifier to the student's Name in their gradebook. Also, the student would see both names displayed on their gradebook as well. Then the workaround would accommodate all parties: the legalities and still be inclusive to the student’s identity.   


Suggestion Idea Screenshot - Secondary Info Tab in Gradebook.JPG

Community Team
Community Team
Status changed to: Open

Hi @HeatherMCash87 -

Thanks for sharing your idea! It is now open for general conversation.

Please double-check that there is no student-identifying information in your screenshot. If you need assistance to replace it, please let me know.

Community Member

Thank you for all your help. : ) I have taken care of it. : ) 

Community Member

I think if there was an option for students and instructors under "account" to put a preferred name and pronouns, and it could show up in the formal preferred name format of "Bobby (Robert Smith) (they/them)" or the other way with the preferred name in parenthesis.

Community Member

We have employed the same approach for non-legal name changes/preferred names but with one modification: we put the preferred name in parenthesis in the full name field, e.g. Emily (Ezra) Smith.  This way, it shows everywhere in Canvas, not just discussions, comments, and messages.  This way, the legal first name, Emily, is preserved in Canvas to visually tie back to our SIS (PowerSchool), while the convention at the school is if you see a name in ( ), that is what the student prefers to be called.  

Status changed to: Archived
Comments from Instructure

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