Example Names

Why create diverse characters for learning scenarios or case studies in OER? Because characters should reflect the diversity of our audience. You might be wondering “Does it matter if we choose John instead of Bob?” – the answer – “yes.”

Different names have different implications of age, race, background, etc. If you only ever call your characters Bob and John, you never represent women or anyone that isn’t a white, middle-aged man.


  • Ensure that people’s names used in examples, exercises, and scenarios represent various countries of origin, ethnicities, genders, and races.
  • Ensure that names with particular ethnic or origin associations are portrayed properly; avoid negative comparisons or stereotypes associated with particular national origins or ethnicities.

Actions and Considerations

  • Consider the diversity and representation overall on a quantitative and qualitative basis.
  • Consider and seek other opinions – whether names indicate a particular race, ethnicity or national origin associated with negative concepts.
  • Diversify names used in case studies and learning scenarios. Consider replacing “John Smith” with more diverse example names.


Use the following resources to assist:



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