What’s In a Name… Pronunciation?

Part of feeling included and welcomed in a community starts with people knowing your name. One of the challenges that both faculty and students can find is uncertainty about name pronunciation: faculty want to pronounce names — even complicated ones — correctly, and students may not feel comfortable correcting a faculty member after the early days of the semester. One option to help prevent that awkwardness, and to help foster a sense of inclusion and belonging, is a Canvas-integrated tool called NameCoach.

Emory’s Teaching and Learning Technologies team piloted and, as of the fall 2019 semester, has implemented the product Canvas-wide. ┬áNow everyone in Canvas, from the Audrey Andersons to the Suman Srinivasans (names do not reflect real people at Emory) can record the correct pronunciation of their names for each other and for their teachers at Emory.

You will usually see the NameCoach link in the course navigation of some of your classes, and you can always access it by clicking on the Account link on the left-hand side of your Canvas interface. It can be done from your computer or phone and takes a few minutes. Once recorded, your name will be available for your faculty to hear in all of your classes.

With a goal of creating a more inclusive campus community and classroom, NameCoach tackles the problem of name mispronunciation. With NameCoach, students and faculty can voice-record their names for their peers to learn, practice, and remember.

NameCoach is available by default in all of your Canvas courses. Although you will only need to record your name once, you can re-record your name at any time. User recordings will remain accessible and automatically sync with your future Canvas enrollments or appointments. Faculty can also send requests to record directly to students from NameCoach.

More information and research on the power of hearing the correct pronunciation of your name being part of the process of community inclusion can be found here, as well as a story about the origin of NameCoach:

NameCoach and Stanford at AACRAO 2017: Respect and Belonging (Part 1)

Belonging, Student Success, and Persistence: the Simple Power of Names

https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2020/2/inclusive-teaching-and-course-design