WebCT Orphaned Users

The application formerly known as WebCT CE (Campus Edition) 4.x sometimes leaves you with what the documentation sparingly refers to as “orphaned users”. This often occurs during the student import process, or while restoring course backups in a manner that restores students and their data (i.e. a “replace users” restore). Here’s how you might be able to restore those orphans.

How do I know if I have orphaned users?

Symptoms include a “+” (that’s a “plus”, or “addition” sign) nexxt to the user’s id in the manage students listing. The student often won’t see the course listed in their “MyWebCT” area when they log in, even though they are listed in the course with the fated plus mark next to their id.

How might one find a home for orphaned users?

It seems that one cause of orphanage among users in WebCT concerns how they are marked for inclusion in the course via the “Courses” field and the “Registered Courses” field. For example, the course in question might be listed in their “Registered Courses” list for the user, but not listed in their “Courses” list. The solution is to add them to the course (in other words, in admin you are making the courses field look the same as the Registered courses field). This can be done, starting in Admin -> User Management:

  1. querying for the student,
  2. checking the box next to their name
  3. clicking on the “Courses” button
  4. adding the student to the course.

The student should no longer be an orphan. Logging back into the course should show them without a plus next to their name.

Great! Now how do I do this for more than one?

Easy enough for one user, but how about a whole course full of users? This was a little harder to find, since it doesn’t seem to let you add more than one user to a course. Until you find the “Add Multiple Students” button. Then it goes something like this (once again in User Management):

  1. Perform a query on the “Registered Courses” field, where it equals the course id (not equals, as there may be other courses in the fields you are searching for).
  2. This should give you a list of students. Choose “Select All”.
  3. Click “Add Multiple Students”.
  4. Select the course or courses you wish to add the students to and select add.
  5. Click “Verify” (you might be able to just continue here, but verify seems to work).
  6. Select all
  7. Add.

You should now have a course full of non-orphaned users.

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About this article

Green Galoshes is a weblog written by Justin D. Henry. This entry was published on or around August 21, 2007.

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