Yes, a combination of things would help the profiles. Like Natalie mentioned, convention; perhaps adding a "how to use the course... tools". It could explain a best practice and sequence of things to do. Like set up discussion profile, then xyz using profile link, etc. Essential tips like this should be listed on homepage or the syllabus.
In software, I suppose it could try to do some auto-matching of names. Having a "Link your Profile" edit form might also encourage and/or confirm profile correctness. Perhaps the names in the chat window could be UI-actions or have the ability to see profile info; like discourse app does.
On the flip-side, the current limitations did force many of us to engage in chat or hangout sessions to share additional info about each other; which was a good thing.