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Learner II

Are registration emails sent to users setup via SIS import?

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I'm importing a large volume of users and enrolling them in a couple of courses via SIS import.  The only thing is that I don't have a password for these users so I'm setting them up with a username (email address) and and SIS Id only.

My problem is that the Registration email, that prompts the user to setup their password, doesn't see to be triggered when creating users and enrolments via SIS.   I've tried this a few times but no email is being sent.

I tried 'Resend Invitation' but the email generated as a result asks the user to login, which they can't do without a password!

Does anyone have any ideas on how to get around / address this?


1 Solution

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Community Member

This is a great question  @barbaracoen ​, and you have a couple options! First off, you are correct in your observation that users who are added to Canvas via the SIS imports tool, will not receive a "registration email." This email can only sent when manually adding individual users to the system via Admin console, or when manually adding a group of users into a course.

Below, you will find two ways to get your new Canvas users logged in. Note for both options below; You can run a report (from Settings > Reports > SIS Export) to get a list of all users who have a Canvas account

  1. Allow Canvas to automatically manage user registration
    Send a mass email to all users with some instructions on how to set up their Canvas account. Specifically:
    1. Provide a link to you Canvas instance.
    2. Tell them to click the link "Don't know your password?"
    3. Tell them to Enter their email address, then click the "Request Password" button
    4. They will get an email (like this) and can reset/create a password for their account
  2. Manually add/distribute passwords to manage registration -
    Send a mass email to all users with a Canvas Password you create for them:
    1. There are several options of how to do this:
      1. Set a Birthday or other common info as password to all users (more secure)
        1. first initial, last initial, last 4 of social - e.g. jd5422
        2. leverage birthday/month/year - e.g. jd031981
      2. Set a random password to all users (more secure)
        1. Use excel to create some random passwords (how-to)
      3. Set the same password to all users + encourage them to update their pw (less secure, not ideal)
    2. Update user accounts with passwords
      1. Update your users CSV file to include passwords (from any of the above methods) for all users
      2. Use SIS imports to import your new Users.csv file that now contains passwords
      3. Run SIS Export Report from your admin console to get a list of your existing Canvas users
      4. Use a tool to create some kind of mail-merge email that sends an email to each user, containing their username (email) + password.

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13 Replies
Community Coach
Community Coach

 @barbaracoen ​, I'm not sure what to do in this situation, but I'm going to share this question with the Canvas Developers​ group to see if they have any suggestions.

Thanks Kona.


Barbara Coen​ did you include the students email address in the User SIS Import file? The field isn't required but if it isn't included the system doesn't have an email address to send to.


Field NameData TypeDescription
user_idtextRequired field. A unique identifier used to reference users in the enrollments table. This identifier must not change for the user, and must be globally unique. In the user interface, this is called the SIS ID.
login_idtextRequired field. The name that a user will use to login to Instructure. If you have an authentication service configured (like LDAP), this will be their username from the remote system.

If the account is configured to use LDAP or an SSO protocol then this should not be set. Otherwise this is the password that will be used to login to Canvas along with the 'login_id' above.

If the user already has a password (from previous a SIS import or otherwise) it will not be overwritten

Setting the password will in most cases log the user out of Canvas. If the user has managed to change their password in Canvas they will not be affected by this. This latter case would happen if your institution transitioned from using Canvas authentication to a SSO solution. For this reason it is important to not set this if you are using LDAP or an SSO protocol.

authentication_provider_idtext or integer

The authentication provider this login is associated with. Logins associated with a specific provider can only be used with that provider. Legacy providers (LDAP, CAS, SAML) will search for logins associated with them, or unassociated logins. New providers will only search for logins explicitly associated with them. This can be the integer ID of the provider, or the type of the provider (in which case, it will find the first matching provider).

first_nametextGiven name of the user.
last_nametextLast name of the user.
full_nametextFull name of the user. Omit first_name and last_name if this is provided.
sortable_nametextSortable name of the user. This is normally inferred from the user's name, but you can customize it here.
short_nametextDisplay name of the user. This is normally inferred from the user's name, but you can customize it here.
emailtextThe email address of the user. This might be the same as login_id, but should still be provided.
statusenumRequired field. active, deleted

Yes Emily I included the email address. I don't think the SIS import would have worked without it. Thanks.


If a student when to the log in page and click Forgot Password, do they get an email from Canvas with a link to create a new password?

Well the problem is that if they never received an invitation in the first place, how would they know to try and log in - the URL to use etc.?

I want to setup over 20k users so don't want all of them trying to ring me because they don't know what to do!  Thanks for trying to help figure this out though.

 @kona  do you know how to escalate this to Canvas to get their response?  Thanks.

 @barbaracoen ​, yep, click on the Help link in Canvas (top right) and "Report a Problem." Then explain your problem and what you've already tried - you could even include a link to this discussion.

Sorry you're having so many problems with this, but hope support can help!

Community Coach
Community Coach

At our Technical College, we are not sending e-mail notifications to students when they are enrolled in Canvas courses.  We use Banner as our SIS (Student Information System), and we have a SSO (Single Sign-On) process to get from our portal system directly into Canvas.  Students and instructors know they need to sign in to our portal first, and then we have an icon for Canvas at the top of the portal page they click on...and they go directly to their Canvas courses.

 @barbaracoen , our setup is very similar to that described by  @chofer ​. Because they register in Banner and are enrolled in Canvas courses through SIS, students do not receive email notifications of their enrollments. All teachers are expected to contact their online students directly before the first day of classes and regularly thereafter to tell them how to access their Canvas courses; in our setup, students log into Portal and click on the Student Academics tab, which is where their current courses display. If your particular integration allows for it, students can also access their courses directly, and teachers who want their students to access Canvas in that fashion can provide the URL to their students if they so desire.

The student support specialist at our online department usually has a busy first week making sure that online students who don't check or read their email are directed to the correct path.

The 5things blog I wrote recently describes my process for bringing students into the fold: Starting the new school year (or semester): Herding cats.​ Maybe it will help your teachers get started too!