NameCoach, a tool that allows students and faculty to create audio recordings that help peers better pronounce their names, currently is available in all officially provisioned Canvas courses, Information and Technology Services has announced.

The program can be used to both record one’s own name and to listen to name recordings made by others within Canvas.

“We are committed to creating an inclusive environment as we welcome students back to campus,” said Ravi Pendse, vice president for information technology and chief information officer. “It is our hope that tools like NameCoach enhance our community’s teaching and learning experience.”

The tool has two parts: NameCoach Recorder, which allows users to record their own name, and NameCoach Roster, which allows students and instructors to listen to and learn the names of others in a Canvas course.

“Connections between students and instructors are important to students’ academic success. We’re pleased to have this new tool to help support this critical relationship,” said Provost Susan M. Collins.

Making an effort to learn other students’ names can have a major impact on their experience in the classroom. For students with diverse identities especially, it can help combat feeling invisible or like they don’t belong. Additionally, research indicates that students’ sense of belonging directly impacts their academic performance.

“We’ve heard from students how much it improves the learning environment when an instructor knows their name,” said LSA Dean Anne Curzan. “Knowing students’ names and making the effort to say names correctly are an important part of inclusive teaching. I appreciate the value this new tool will provide in helping students feel recognized, respected, and welcomed in our classrooms.”

While this initial launch of NameCoach is focused on supporting the teaching and learning mission, ITS is working to incorporate NameCoach functionality into other applications used by the U-M community in the coming months.

Additional details, including instructions on how to record a name and use the tool in a course, are on the NameCoach service page on the ITS website.

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