Creating a New User Onboard in WordPress

I'm finishing up a website for a private project which allows for people to register and create posts as members. The client wanted to have a specific onboarding flow which moved users from account creation to a terms page before finishing on a brief site overview.

I started by hooking into registration_redirect and pushing the user to a simple terms page.

add_filter( 'registration_redirect', 'new_user_redirect' );
function new_user_redirect() {
    return home_url('/complete-registration/');

This didn't work because the user was immediately redirected to the terms page instead of on their login. This meant my terms form (using Gravity Forms) couldn't collect the user_id field because it didn't actually exist yet.

To fix this, I hooked into the user_register action to capture the new user. There are several validation steps on the front and backend that I won't detail, but in the end, the user is written to the database and emailed a secure link to set their password. I created a new user meta key called is_first_login and set it to true. This was added when the user was written to the database.

update_user_meta( $user_id, 'is_first_login', true);

Now, I can check that key and send the user to the correct page when they log in.

add_action( 'login_redirect', 'redirect_user_on_login', 10, 3);
function redirect_user_on_login( $redirect, $request, $user ) {
    if(get_user_meta($user->ID, 'is_first_login', true)) {
        // Since it's the first login, set this to false
        update_user_meta($user->ID, 'is_first_login', false);

        // push to the terms page
        return home_url('/complete-registration');
    } else {
        // Check the user role and redirect appropraitely
        return (is_array($user->roles) && in_array('administrator', $user->roles)) ? admin_url() : site_url();

If it is a new user, they are shown the terms page. Accepting the terms allows for accountability. Gravity Forms handles the next redirect when the user submits the terms form.

Change Course Role in Canvas via the API

Continuing my Canvas excursions...

We recently made a change where teachers could not manually add students to their courses. The change was made because manually enrolling a student breaks the grade passback to our SIS, which causes double the work to fix the problem in the first place.

But, this also affects manually-created courses that don't need the grade passback. One workaround is to add all students as a TA or teacher, but then you run into issues where students have access to grades.

The API doesn't allow you to directly change a user's enrollment status. You need to delete the user object from the course and then re-enroll to change the status. The change in the UI on the website does the same thing, but they make it look nice with a dropdown and it doesn't actually tell you that the user was deleted and re-added all in one step.

The nice thing about the API method is that you can set their enrollment state to active by default, which removes the course invitation notification and acceptance step for someone who is just having their status changed.

The example below is what I used to convert all students who were added as TAs back into Students. As always, I'm using the UCF Open Python library to handle the API calls.

from canvasapi import Canvas

canvas = Canvas('your_url', 'your_key')

course = canvas.get_course(course_id)

enrollments = course.get_enrollments(type='TaEnrollment')

for stu in enrollments:
    user_id = stu.user_id

    # the `deactivate` method takes a **kwarg to define what type of deactivation.
    # accepted strings: ['conclude', 'delete', 'deactivate', 'inactivate']
    course.enroll_user(user_id, 'StudentEnrollment', enrollment_state='active')

This does wipe out the 'Last Activity' field in the People tab, so if that's important to you, make the change before the course is published. I made the change for a user, going from student to teacher and back with no loss of grade data, which was nice to see.