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Tips for Diversifying Images in Presentations and Names in Exam Questions

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Susan Nolan, presenting at the Northwest Conference on Teaching Introductory Psychology, offered some suggestions on diversifying the images in your presentations – and I’d add diversifying name used in your exam questions – to ensure that all students see people and names that are both familiar to them and not familiar to them. I teach on a diverse campus where our students or their parents have come from all over the world. I use my students’ names in exam questions. Last term, I had one student, as she handed in her exam with a big grin said, “This is the first time I’ve ever seen my name on an exam!”

Nolan suggested visiting Wikipedia’s most common surnames page. Choose a name, and then, if you’re looking for a photo to use on a presentation slide, search that name in Google images. Be sure to click on “search tools” and then under “usage rights,” choose “labeled for noncommercial reuse.”

Alternatively, you can use a fake name generator, like, well, FakeNameGenerator.com. Choose the gender you’d like or leave it set to random. Choose your “name set,” such as “Arabic.” Click “Generate.” When I just ran it for Arabic, it generated Hafsah Yakootah Khouri. I can use that name in an exam question, or I can do a Google Images search for an image I can use on a presentation slide. Again, be sure to click on “search tools” and then under “usage rights,” choose “labeled for noncommercial reuse.”

Do you give your students case studies of fictional people? Fake Name Generator is a terrific site for creating a fake person. Not only does it generate names, it will generate an entire fake identify, including address (that’s what the “country” field is for), phone number, birthday, MasterCard number, occupation and company, height, weight, blood type, favorite color.

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About the Author
Sue Frantz has taught psychology in community colleges since 1992, and has been at Highline College in the Seattle area since 2001. She has served on several APA boards and committees, and was proud to serve the members of the Society for the Teaching of Psychology as their 2018 president. In 2013, she was the inaugural recipient of the APA award for Excellence in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at a Two-Year College or Campus. She received in 2016 the highest award for the teaching of psychology--the Charles L. Brewer Distinguished Teaching of Psychology Award . She presents nationally and internationally on the topics of educational technology and the pedagogy of psychology. She is co-author with Doug Bernstein and Steve Chew of Teaching Psychology: A Step-by-Step Guide, 3rd ed.