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Lifelong Learners (L3) - Enrollment Process

This document describes the enrollment process for Lifelong Learners starting after payment and registration for a noncredit course, up to logging into the Canvas Dashboard.

  1. After registration a copy of this e-mail is sent from to each learner - and to the person who placed the order, if different. This is merely a purchase receipt. The full text under the "What to Do Next" heading may differ from course to course, but the instructions shown here apply to all courses.

  2. After the registration receipt is received, an additional "Get Started" e-mail is sent to each learner within minutes of completing their registration (shown below).

    Subject: "UW-Madison: Access Your Online Course Site"


    The link in the "Get Started" button is unique to each learner and takes the learner to a personalized web page hosted at

  1. You will arrive at the website with the link in your personal Getting Started email.

  • If you are sure that you have never had a UW-Madison "NetID" account, click No - I definitely never had a UW-Madison NetID.
  • If you have any previous affiliation with UW-Madison, even if it is no longer active, click Yes - I might already have a UW-Madison NetID.
screenshot of question asking whether learner might have a NetID already
  • If you select "No - I definitely never had a UW-Madison NetID," then the system will next determine whether you can activate your NetID immediately:
    • Immediate Activation: In some cases, your new NetID will be immediately ready for you to activate it. In that case you will next see these instructions. Click Set up your NetID. If you need to return to this page for any reason, simply use the "Get Started" link in the e-mail sent to you previously with the subject line "UW-Madison: Access Your Online Course Site."

      If you are presented with this screen, proceed to the next section ("3. Setting up NetID").

      screenshot of message with available button 'Set up yuor NetID'
    • Wait Before Activation: In other cases, you may have to wait, typically around 20-30 minutes after you completed your registration, but in rare cases when thousands of new on-campus students are simultaneously activating NetIDs before a fall semester starts, then up to 24 hours or more. If there is a wait, you will see the following screen:

      screenshot of message 'We're in the process of creating a NetID for you ... We'll send you an email when it's time for to follow the simple steps in preparing your NetID'

      In these cases, you will be asked to wait for a separate e-mail notifying you when your new NetID is ready to activate. If you have been waiting for over an hour and have not yet received an email, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.

      Subject:Next Step: Activate your NetID for your UW-Madison course

      Click Begin NetID Activation which will take you to a personalized web page at

      screenshot of e-mail sent with 'Begin NetID Activation button'
  • If you select "Yes - I might already have a UW-Madison NetID" then you will see four options. The first three are relevant options if you believe you do already have a NetID. The fourth option allows you to change your mind, and decide that in fact you do not have a previously-issued NetID. Note: Creating multiple NetIDs for yourself may cause significant access problems for you.

    Screenshot of the options presented when you select "Yes - I might already have a UW-Madison NetID."

    If you select any of the first three options, a new browser window will open offering you the appropriate tool. So you can still change your mind after seeing one of those three tools by simply closing the new browser window, leaving you with the above four options still available to you.

    If you select the fourth option, "I don't have a NetID and would like to set one up," then you will proceed to the steps described above in step 2.2 as if you had originally selected "Yes - I am new to the UW."

    • If you proceed by one of the first three options and successfully log in with your existing NetID, then you will accomplish a "self-link," meaning your lifelong-learner record is now permanently linked to your NetID. This means you will not need to answer any of these questions in the future. You will next see the following invitation to proceed to your Canvas Dashboard, possibly with a briefly displayed preceding message to wait up to 5 minutes while our systems catch up to your successful self-link.

      Screenshot after NetID activation success

      After your successful self-link, you will be asked to log in with your NetID one more time, and then you will see your Canvas Dashboard where your online course site is available.

    • In some cases your "self-link" attempt may be prevented by policy, for example relating to name spelling differences between your records. Then you would instead see this message under the title "Account Self-Linking Tool": "Sorry, we were unable to link your accounts. You will be contacted by the DoIT Help Desk. Please do not attempt to activate an additional NetID." You will receive assistance to get your existing NetID linked to your lifelong learner record.
    1. Whenever your new NetID is ready for activation, the website will show you the message below. Click Set up your NetID. If you need to return to this page for any reason, simply use the "Get Started" link in the e-mail sent to you previously with the subject line "UW-Madison: Access Your Online Course Site."

    2. A separate browser window will open up and take you through the standard UW-Madison NetID activation process. Be sure to keep a record of your NetID! The first screen is shown below.

      The entire NetID activation process is described separately at NetID - Activating Your Account. You must complete this process within 30 minutes. If you do not complete it in time, return to the screen that should still be open and start the activation process again. If necessary, you can also start over with the "Get Started" link in the e-mail you previously received.

    3. Once you see the screen below, your NetID is ready for use. Be sure to record the choices you made. You can now close this browser window.

    4. After closing the separate NetID activation window, the website will automatically show the message below within seconds of successful NetID activation. If necessary, you can instead return here by using the "Get Started" link in the e-mail you previously received. Click "Login to Canvas." You will then be asked to log in using your brand-new NetID.

      screenshot showing button 'Log in to Canvas'
    1. After you log in with your NetID, you will arrive at your Canvas "Dashboard." You should see links for the online course site(s) for the course you just registered for. You can bookmark this page to quickly return to your course site(s) in the future. The address is

    If you do not know your NetID, but you do know your password, you can recover your NetID via the Recovery Utility:

    If you have forgotten your password and need it reset, please contact the DoIT Help Desk for assistance. Please note that you will need to be able to access the email account that you used to register for your course during the call, as that will be used in the password reset process.

    Keywords:lifelong learner life-long life long learners enrollment netid registration l3 handling online learn@uw canvas courses continuing studies professional usi noncredit non-credit engineering epd wisconsin pharmacy "professional development" business "copy center" ischool getting started   Doc ID:58890
    Owner:Nick W.Group:DoIT Help Desk
    Created:2015-12-11 17:30 CDTUpdated:2022-06-15 17:35 CDT
    Sites:DoIT Help Desk
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