Starfish

Starfish for Faculty

Starfish is designed to help you communicate academic progress concerns with students in your classes, identify resources that might be helpful to their success, and provide them positive feedback on improved progress.

  • Increases communication between faculty and students
  • Provides personalized feedback to students about their academic progress the moment a tracking item is raised
  • Catches students early in the semester to provide them opportunities to improve
  • Gives the ability to provide positive recognition to students
  • Outreach also provided by other campus departments

Getting Started with Starfish

Getting started is easy! Access Starfish by logging into the my.vcccd.edu portal and clicking the Starfish link in the "Faculty Self Service" area of the "Faculty" tab.

Set up your Starfish Profile

Your Starfish profile will let your students know who you are and how to contact you. Your profile also allows you to set appointment and email preferences. Some components of your profile, such as your contact information, are imported from Banner.

  1. Login to Starfish with your portal username and password.
  2. Click on the triple bar icon in the top left corner then click on your name.
  3. Click on the Institutional Profile tab.
    • Help students put a face to your name by using the Upload Photo link beneath the photo placeholder to upload a photo.
  • Add information to the General Overview and My Biography sections to let students know more about you. This information will be visible to students who can make appointments with you in Starfish.
  • Click Submit to save your changes.

Change your email notifications

Starfish will email you a summary of tracking item activity for your students. Use the Email Notifications tab of your Profile to modify details of how and when you receive these notifications.

  1. Click on the triple bar icon in the top left corner then click on Email Notifications.
  2. Navigate to the section labeled Summary Emails and select either "Daily" or "Weekly" to select the best time for you to receive these updates.
  3. Navigate to the section labeled Tracking Item Notifications to check, or remove a check from, any of the boxes.
    • This section also contains a list of active tracking items you could receive about a student.
  4. Click Submit to save your changes.

View your students

In Starfish, you are able to see students that you have a connection with. These connections are coming from information entered in Banner. From the Students navigation item, you are able to find information about your students and communicate with a student or group of students.

  1. Login to Starfish.
  2. Click on the triple bar icon in the top left corner then click on the Students navigation item to see your list of students.
  3. Click on My Students.
  1. In the Search bar, you are able to enter a student's name or 900# to search for them.
    search bar in the My Students tab in the Bengal Success Portal
  2. Under Connection, you can filter your view of students by the connection that you have with them.
  3. Under Term, you are able to filter students enrolled in classes by the term.
    term dropdown showing a list of semesters
  4. To view a student's profile, click on their name.

Set up your office hours

The first time you login to the Starfish Portal, a ‘wizard’ to walk you through setting up your office hours will appear. This enables students to schedule appointments with you.

If your office hours are different week to week, follow the “If your office hours don’t repeat weekly, click here” link.

If your office hours recur, complete the fields presented to specify:

  1. What day(s) do you have office hours? Check the boxes for each day.
  2. What time are your office hours? Enter a start and end time.
  3. Where are they? Select the Type of setting and enter the Details in the field provided (e.g. the building and room number of your office).
  4. If relevant, provide Instructions for students who make appointments with you. For example: “Thank you for scheduling an appointment with me. Please arrive at my office promptly. Bring any questions you may have to discuss. I look forward to meeting with you.”
  5. Click the Set up Office Hours button to save your office hours.

How to provide feedback using Starfish

  1. Progress Surveys - are academic surveys administered several times a semester to help alert students to their overall academic progress in the course.
  2. Individual Flags and Kudos - can be raised anytime during the semester and is ideal for faculty who have individual concerns (or praise) about a student.
    • When you have a concern with a particular student, raise a flag to communicate your observations.

      1. Once logged in to Starfish, click on the Students tab.
      2. Find the appropriate student by searching for the student’s name, 900# number, or by using the Connection dropdown to view your students by connection (advisor, instructor, specific class, etc.).
      3. Click on the box to the left of the student’s name and select Flag (or Kudos or Referral). Only instructors are able to raise certain flags.
        1. The Flags displayed will depend on your connection with the student.
          flag raised on student
        2. For the Flag you raise, be aware of who can see the specific item. After you select a specific flag, you will see Student View and Permissions. Make sure the comments you include are appropriate for the audience that will read them.  Students are able to view the comments for almost all Flags.
        3. When finished, click Save.

      IMPORTANT: When you raise a tracking item, the student will receive an immediate email notification for each flag, kudo, and referral. These emails include any comments you entered. In all of the templates, instructors have an opportunity to outline details of the specific concern or praise in the comments section. The message template also encourages the student to see you to discuss any concerns. A copy of each message is sent to the student's Advisor and other key student support staff who may also be working with these students.

What are Tracking Items?

Within the system, you can raise flags, send kudos, and make referrals to campus services. Send a flag when you are concerned with progress in a course. Send a kudos when you are pleased with student progress or performance. Make a referral when you think a student could benefit from additional campus services. Students and any other relevant personnel will receive notifications about these items in the form of an email message.

Flags are intended to warn students that they need to take some action. Assigned Academic Advisors are also notified of these flags because they are a key resource to students who may not know how to best respond to the warning.
Once a flag gets a student’s attention, the flag has done its job.

  • Flags (Alerts/Notices) you can send:
    Flag Name What will happen Next Steps Resolution
    Attendance/Participation Concern Flag raised triggers Email sent from instructor through Starfish to student. Additional comments can be included to student. **3 or more of these academic flags will automatically raise a new flag. Their appropriate counselor (using the cohort priority) will then intervene Student and instructor meet/discuss the flag via email, phone or in person meeting (no counselor intervention) No Further Action Required
    Instructor clears the flag using closure reasons. Counselors can receive closure email or see closed flag on student folder.
    Further Action Required (at the discretion of the Instructor)
    Instructor raises an 'Intervention Needed' Flag in order to request Counselor intervention 
    Low Quiz/Test Scores Flag raised triggers Email sent from instructor through Starfish to student. Additional comments can be included to student. **3 or more of these academic flags will automatically raise a new flag. Their appropriate counselor (using the cohort priority) will then intervene Student and instructor meet/discuss the flag via email, phone or in person meeting (no counselor intervention)

    No Further Action Required
    Instructor clears the flag using closure reasons. Counselors can receive closure email or see closed flag on student folder.

    Further Action Required (at the discretion of the Instructor)
    Instructor raises an 'Intervention Needed' Flag in order to request Counselor intervention 
    Missing/Late Assignments Flag raised triggers Email sent from instructor through Starfish to student. Additional comments can be included to student. **3 or more of these academic flags will automatically raise a new flag. Their appropriate counselor (using the cohort priority) will then intervene Student and instructor meet/discuss the flag via email, phone or in person meeting (no counselor intervention)

    No Further Action Required
    Instructor clears the flag using closure reasons. Counselors can receive closure email or see closed flag on student folder.

    Further Action Required (at the discretion of the Instructor)
    Instructor raises an 'Intervention Needed' Flag in order to request Counselor intervention 
    General Academic Progress Update Flag raised triggers Email sent from instructor through Starfish to student. Additional comments can be included to student. **3 or more of these academic flags will automatically raise a new flag. Their appropriate counselor (using the cohort priority) will then intervene Student and instructor meet/discuss the flag via email, phone or in person meeting (no counselor intervention)

    No Further Action Required
    Instructor clears the flag using closure reasons. Counselors can receive closure email or see closed flag on student folder.

    Further Action Required (at the discretion of the Instructor)
    Instructor raises an 'Intervention Needed' Flag in order to request Counselor intervention 
    At Risk of Failing  Flag raised triggers Email sent from instructor through Starfish to student. Additional comments can be included to student. **3 or more of these academic flags will automatically raise a new flag. Their appropriate counselor (using the cohort priority) will then intervene Student and instructor meet/discuss the flag via email, phone or in person meeting (no counselor intervention)

    No Further Action Required
    Instructor clears the flag using closure reasons. Counselors can receive closure email or see closed flag on student folder.

    Further Action Required (at the discretion of the Instructor)
    Instructor raises an 'Intervention Needed' Flag in order to request Counselor intervention 
    Intervention Needed Flag raised triggers internal triage workflow to appropriate Counselors (based on cohort priority). Students are not notified.  Counselors review Starfish and assign these flags to themselves or the appropriate cohort counselor (following the cohort priority). They contact the  student and provide intervention or referral to appropriate resources. Flags can be reassigned as necessary. No Further Action Required
    Counselor or Special Population Counselor clears flag using the close reasons above and notes whether a referral was raised. Flag raiser receives email notification that flag has been closed.

    Outstanding Flags
    Triage coordinator at each college monitors for flags that have not been assigned or for those not closed.

    General Concern Flag raised triggers internal triage workflow to appropriate Counselors (based on cohort priority). Students are not notified.  Counselors review Starfish and assign these flags to themselves or the appropriate cohort counselor (following the cohort priority). They contact the  student and provide intervention or referral to appropriate resources. Flags can be reassigned as necessary.

    No Further Action Required
    Counselor or Special Population Counselor clears flag using the close reasons above and notes whether a referral was raised. Flag raiser receives email notification that flag has been closed.

    Outstanding Flags
    ​Triage coordinator at each college monitors for flags that have not been assigned or for those not closed.
    3+ Flag Flag Flag raised triggers internal triage workflow to appropriate Counselors (based on cohort priority). Students are not notified.  Counselors review Starfish and assign these flags to themselves or the appropriate cohort counselor (following the cohort priority). They contact the  student and provide intervention or referral to appropriate resources. Flags can be reassigned as necessary. No Further Action Required
    Counselor or Special Population Counselor clears flag using the close reasons above and notes whether a referral was raised. Flag raiser receives email notification that flag has been closed.
    Outstanding Flags
    ​Triage coordinator at each college monitors for flags that have not been assigned or for those not closed.

  • Referrals you can make:
    • CalWORKs
    • Career Center
    • Counselor
    • EAC
    • EOPS
    • Financial Aid
    • FYE
    • Health Center
    • Library
    • Personal Counseling
    • Program Dean
    • STEM Center
    • Student Food Pantry
    • Transfer Center
    • Tutoring
    • Veterans Center

  • Kudos (Positive Feedback) you can share:
    • Great Follow Through
    • Keep up the Good Work
    • Outstanding Academic Performance
    • Showing Improvement

What happens when you raise a flag or kudo?

  • Students will receive a pre-configured email that includes your comments.
  • Students are encouraged to reach out to you for additional information about these comments.
  • Students are sent links to campus resources.
  • Academic advisors can see your comments for their assigned students.

Video Reference