Starfish for Faculty and Instructors

How do instructors use Starfish?

1) Starfish EARLY ALERT is an early warning and student tracking system at UNCG that takes a more holistic approach to student success rather than concentrating solely on students with traditional at-risk characteristics. Starfish is accessed through Canvas and relies on reporting by the campus community to identify students who need additional academic support. How does it work?

Step 1: Instructor Feedback: At any point in the semester, instructors can raise alert flags, congratulatory kudos, and helpful referrals to provide students with feedback. To allow for more efficient reporting, instructors will receive an email invitation to complete Academic Status Reports at 4 and 7 weeks of each semester and will be asked to make note of academic and/or personal concerns. Here are the options for feedback that instructors may provide:

Flags are used to let students know of an instructor’s concern for their performance. Instructors can raise academic flags (excessive absences, low test/quiz scores, and unsatisfactory coursework) and behavioral flags (academic integrity concerns, disruptive behavior, and personal concerns).

Kudos are used to recognize student accomplishments and to congratulate them on their academic performance.

Referrals can be raised to suggest a helpful campus resource that may aid in a student’s academic performance.

*For instructional guides on how to raise flags, kudos, and referrals, please visit the Starfish How-To page on the Students First Office website. Instructions for raising items manually are provided, as well as how to complete Academic Status Reports.

Step 2: Student Notification: When an academic flag, kudos, or referral is raised on a student, the student is automatically notified via email and is invited to meet with a member of the Starfish Outreach Team to develop a plan for success. Any comments provided by the instructor when raising an academic flag, kudos, or referral will be seen by the student and comments from instructors are encouraged. NOTE: If a behavioral flag was raised for a student, the student will not receive notification of this. Instead, the Dean of Students Office will provide outreach to the student or to the instructor, depending upon the nature of the concern. For this reason, comments must be provided when raising a behavioral flag. Behavioral flag comments will not be seen by the student.

Step 3: Student Action: Any time an academic flag or kudos is raised on a student, that student receives instant notification and outreach from the Starfish Outreach Team. These students are provided with information about campus resources that may help them be successful and an invitation to meet with a staff member in the Students First Office who serves on the Starfish Outreach Team. When a student is referred to a resource, they receive instant email correspondence from the referred office. It is always up to the student to seek support and take advantage of the resources to which they have been directed. Student action in response to behavioral flags will vary based on Dean of Students outreach and instructor action.

Step 4: Clearing Flags: Once a student takes action, the original flag may be cleared by the advisor or support staff member with whom they interact. The instructor who raised the original flag is also encouraged to clear the flag if a student’s performance has improved in the course. Because an advisor, support staff member, or instructor must intentionally clear a flag, many flags may remain “active” for the duration of the term. However, this does not mean that the student has not taken action and instructors are encouraged to raise new flags if their concerns persist or worsen.

2) Starfish CONNECT allows faculty and staff to create office hours in Starfish so students can easily make appointments. This appointment management system ensures that students, faculty, and staff stay connected and save time scheduling appointments. Faculty and staff can customize appointment preferences including appointment name, length, scheduling deadlines, locations, and instructions. Office hours can be set up on a recurring basis or as a one-time occurrence and can be limited to a specific population of students (i.e. your advisees or students in your courses). Instructors can also set email reminder and notification preferences to suit their needs. Lastly, Starfish offers the ability to sync your Starfish calendar with your iSpartan calendar to allow for easier calendar management and avoidance of double-booking. For instructions on how to sync your calendars, please refer to our instructional guide on the Starfish How-To website.

How do instructors get guidance on using these features?

For step-by-step guides and tutorials on how to use Starfish EARLY ALERT and CONNECT features, refer to the Starfish How-To page. Faculty and staff who have Starfish questions can also contact the Starfish Outreach Team at for additional support.

How are instructors kept up to date on Starfish news and features?

Starfish updates are communicated at the beginning and end of each semester via Campus Weekly. Additionally, a Starfish newsletter is emailed twice each semester to inform UNCG instructors and advisors of any important updates, news, and events related to Starfish. The newsletter is sent to all undergraduate course instructors and advisors. All released newsletters are also accessible on this page at any time.

September 2017 Newsletter

November 2017 Newsletter

February 2018 Newsletter

April 2018 Newsletter