STARFISH FAQs

Starfish Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is Starfish and how does it support student success?
  2. What is a Flag?
  3. What is a Kudo?
  4. What are Referrals and when should I use them?
  5. What are progress surveys and when will I receive one?
  6. Can I raise a tracking item (flags & kudos) outside of the progress surveys?
  7. How do I change when and how I am emailed by Starfish?
  8. I am an academic advisor and have received a flag for one of my advisees. What should I do with it?
  9. How do I get more detail on a student?
  10. What is a Student Success Network?
  11. Why can’t I see students who are not in my classes or my advisees?
  12. Including Starfish on your syllabi

What is Starfish and how does it support student success?

Starfish is a retention software that allows for a clear collaborative effort among faculty, advisors, administrators, and staff, allowing us all to engage in the active process of supporting student success and retention.

While it certainly does not replace individual outreach or face-to-face conversations with students, this new technology platform does promote important interactions and provide the space for quick and simple notification of Academic Advisors, Academic Advising Services staff, and others on the Starfish Core Team when there is a concern about a student. This enables these support providers to reach out in a timely and effective way, leading to more efficient student support services and increased student success.

Ultimately, Starfish supports Fredonia's retention efforts by providing an intentional, efficient method of sharing critical information across divisions, tracking students about whom there are concerns, and providing impactful outreach and support services.

What is a Flag and what happens when a flag is raised?

A flag is a Starfish notification designed to raise an alert that a student is not meeting expectations in some way. Flags can be raised by instructors for many academic reasons.

When an instructor shares a concern about student in Starfish by raising a “flag,” the system alerts staff and faculty who can respond to that flag and provide the resources and support needed. Some flags also generate an immediate notification to the student outlining the concern and directing them toward campus resources.

Flagging a student in Starfish creates a transparent communication trail that allows individuals working with the student to see a clear picture of the student’s performance. All flags are stored in Starfish, even after they have been “cleared” or “resolved.” All flags will be cleared at the end of each semester, but some flags are cleared as the student performance improves or an issue is resolved.

What is a Kudo and what happens when a kudo is raised?

A kudo is another type of Starfish notification that is designed to send positive feedback to students. Faculty, staff, and administrators are able to send kudos to students for various reasons. Students are sent an immediate notification outlining the kudo and reason for it.

What are Referrals and when should I use them?

Referrals are designed to direct the student to a particular campus service. For instance, if you know a student is struggling in a course or with a with written assignments, you can refer them to the Learning Center. Or, if a student has question about resumes, job opportunities after graduation, etc, you can refer them to the Career Development Office.  Referrals are more of a suggestion to a student rather than an assigned task.

What are progress surveys and when will I receive one?

Progress surveys provide instructors a quick way to share information about a student’s performance in their class. These surveys will be distributed to faculty at specific points each semester. Though there are only a few times that progress surveys will be used for all students, we have the capability to implement additional progress surveys for specific groups of students if needed.

Progress surveys include all students in each class an instructor is teaching. They allow for flags and kudos to be created for each student as well as the option to include comments for each of those items.

Can I raise a tracking item (flags & kudos) outside of the progress surveys?

Absolutely! You can log into Starfish at any time to raise a flag or kudo for a student – you do not have to wait for a progress survey. To learn more about this, view the Getting Started Guide!

How do I change when and how I am emailed by Starfish?

Starfish will send you a daily summary email of academic progress items (flags or kudos) activity for the students with whom you have a relationship in the system. You can change these settings by clicking Profile, and navigating to the Email Notifications tab. To learn more, please view this quick tip video on alert and referral notifications.

I am an academic advisor and have received a flag for one of my advisees. What should I do with it?

If one of your advisees receives a flag, we recommend you reach out to them. However, not all flags warrant immediate outreach. For instance, if a student receives a general academic concern in just one class, and that concern is Level 1 flag (ex. Missing/Late Assignments), there may not be a need to provide outreach. However, if there is a more high-level concern or multiple flags for one student, that might warrant quick outreach.

It is our hope that these early alerts will make students more aware of areas in which they can improve, but also improve communication between students and staff, advisors, and instructors. Any outreach you can provide, which might be as little as an email letting the student know you are there to help or as much as setting up a meeting to provide direct advice and support, will be helpful to the student!

How do I get more detail on a student?

Within the Starfish system, you can search for a specific student, or visit your “Students” tab. Anytime you see a student’s name as a hyperlink, you can click on that to go to the student’s folder. This folder contains the following information:

  • The student’s contact information (bottom right corner)
  • General information (information tab)
  • Courses in which the student is enrolled
  • Tracking items (flags and kudos) and associated notes raised for the student [which tracking items you can view depends on the permission of your specific role]
  • Notes shared by you or others [notes by others can only be viewed by some roles in the system]
  • Student’s Success Network

What is a Student Success Network?

A student success network is the group of faculty, staff, and resources a student has a relationship with on campus. This includes the student’s advisor and all of their instructors. It may also include their residence hall director if they live on campus.

Why can’t I see students who are not in my classes or my advisees?

Starfish provides you with viewing options only to those students with whom you have a direct relationship. For faculty, these relationships are created with students in your courses or who are your advisees. Administrators or specific service providers may have access to all students or specific groups of students within the context of the work they do with students.

If you think there is a student with whom you should have a relationship but who is not present in your list of students, first ensure that no filters have been inadvertently set, and then reach out to Early.Alert@fredonia.edu or contact Nicole Hohenstein, Early Alert Coordinator, at 716-673-3188.

Including Starfish on your syllabi

Instructors are welcome to share information on Starfish and how it will be used in the classroom. An example is included below:

"We Care About your Success! This course is part of a Fredonia initiative that utilizes the Starfish Student Success Network. It is designed to promote student success through coordination and communication between students, instructors, and support staff. Throughout the semester, you may receive emails regarding your attendance, course grades or academic performance. To benefit, it is important that you check your Fredonia email regularly and take recommended actions. You may be contacted directly by an Academic Advisor or Campus Support Professional."