This article provides an overview of External IDs and how they are used and updated in the NovoEd platform.
What is an External ID?
An external ID is a field that is associated with a user’s NovoEd account. External IDs are assigned by the customer and can be used as a data point for authenticating a user’s identity through SSO. The External ID may also be used by customers for reporting purposes.
External IDs must be unique to the user and non-changing. Also, External IDs are case-sensitive in the NovoEd platform. The mapping of External IDs is not required for SSO, but it is strongly recommended to avoid the creation of multiple accounts for the same user..
How is an External ID assigned to a user?
External IDs can only be assigned to users through the following methods:
- SSO: The institution has single sign-on (SSO) enforced on their institution. The SSO configuration is set up to receive and store an External ID value. When the user logs into NovoEd with SSO, the customer’s identity provider sends NovoEd the user’s information which should include an External ID.
- Enrollment API: The customer’s enrollment API includes a value in the External ID field.
If you are finding that External ID is not being captured, please contact NovoEd Support (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How are External IDs used for logging in with Single Sign-On access?
When a user logs into NovoEd using SSO access, the identity provider sends NovoEd the following attributes:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Email Address
- External ID
If this is the first time the user has logged into NovoEd, the External ID is stored for the user.
For all other times the user logs in using SSO access, NovoEd uses the External ID to validate the user’s account. If there is a change in First Name, Last Name, or Email Address, then the change is updated. Please see the next section for additional information.
A new SSO/SAML session must be initiated for updated information to be passed from the identity provider to NovoEd. Typically, the specifications of the length of sessions are determined by the identity provider. If information is not being updated, please ask the user to clear their browser’s history (cookies and cache), restart their browser, and log into NovoEd again.
How are External IDs used for updating a user’s name or email address?
The user’s updated information will be sent or uploaded to NovoEd. NovoEd will lookup the user’s record with the matching External ID. Then, the user’s name and/or email address will be updated.
What occurs in an upload with a CSV file?
External IDs cannot be assigned to users through an upload. In the course enrollment or Org Profile upload, the External ID field is only being read (not written) by the system to identify any updates to a user’s first name, last name, or email address.
When an enrollment upload includes External IDs, the following occurs:
- The NovoEd system will search for existing user accounts with the matching External IDs.
- If a user with the matching External ID has a different first name, last name, and/or email address from what is already on file, then the information will be updated.
- If the new email address is already used by a different account, an error will be displayed. Please update the file with the email address that matches the External ID and retry. Please contact NovoEd Support at email@example.com if further support is needed.
What happens when an External ID is not mapped/received through SSO or Enrollment API?
When an External ID is not mapped/received through SSO or Enrollment API, users’ email addresses will be used to authenticate and identify users. If the identity provider sends a new email address for a user, a new NovoEd account will be created. In the event that one user has two NovoEd accounts with two different email addresses, the two accounts cannot be merged together if account activity is found within both accounts.
A course or Org Admin would need to manually update the user’s email address in NovoEd prior to the user logging in with the new email address to prevent the creation of a secondary account. To avoid this manual overhead, we recommend using External IDs.
How can a user’s External ID be cleared or updated?
Although it is a requirement that External IDs are unique and nonchanging, there may be instances when they need to be cleared or updated in NovoEd. A request must be sent to the NovoEd Support Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to clear or update the External ID. Please include the following information:
- Institution URL: For example abc123.novoed.com
- Current External ID
- New External ID: If applicable