Starfish Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Starfish?
Starfish is an online tool designed to enhance the way we work across campus to help students succeed by:
- Facilitating communication and connections between instructors, students, advisors, and support services
- Providing a streamlined means for faculty to give feedback to students on course performance and/or attendance through progress surveys
- Helping us prioritize and coordinate outreach for students
- Keeping students informed of their own progress and achievements and prompting them to action if needed.
- How do I log in to Starfish?
There are three ways to log in to Starfish:
- eWeber – search for the Starfish app or find it under the “Browse All” category
- Canvas – Open one of your courses and a link will be listed at the bottom of the menu bar
- Click on the “App” link on the menu bar of this page
- I tried to pull up Starfish but the screen is blank. What do I do?
Verify you are using the most current version of your browser or try another browser. Starfish works best with Chrome. If you continue to have issues, email email@example.com.
- What is a Progress Survey?
A Progress Survey allows a faculty member to raise concerns (flags) or send compliments (kudos) related to a student's academic performance at specific points during the semester. Each raised flag or kudo sends a standardized email, including any notes entered, directly to the student on behalf of the faculty member. The message is shared with the student’s academic advisor, keeping advisors better informed about student performance and possible needs.
Progress Surveys are only open for a specified period of time, usually one week. If your course is included in the Progress Survey, you will receive email notification including the open and close dates. If you miss the window to provide feedback via the Progress Survey, you may raise flags or give kudos manually at any time.
- What is a flag and when should I use one?
A flag is a tracking item within Starfish that allows a faculty member to notify a student about a concern relating to his or her course. Flags may be raised manually at any time during the semester or as part of a Progress Survey. The following flags are currently enabled in Starfish:
Never Attended - raise this flag to indicate that a student has never attended class or logged into Canvas for online courses.
Attendance Concern - raise this flag when you are concerned about a student's attendance, particularly when the student's grade could be negatively effected by not attending and/or if you/your department has an attendance policy.
Low Quiz/Test Scores - raise this flag when a student's grades are below the course expectation. Course expectation is defined by the individual faculty member according to the class syllabus.
Missing/Late Assignments - raise this flag to alert the student of missing, late, or incomplete assignments. It is at the discretion of the faculty to determine the type of assignment to consider when raising this flag.
In Danger of Failing - raise this flag when a student is in danger of failing a course.
- What is a kudo and when should I use one?
A kudo is a tracking item within Starfish that allows an instructor to provide positive feedback to a student. Kudos may be sent manually at any time during the semester or as part of a Progress Survey. Currently, the “Keep Up the Good Work” kudo is enabled.
- What happens when I raise a flag or kudo on a student?
Whether the flag or kudo is raised manually or through a Progress Survey, the student is sent an automated email (see templates) on your behalf notifying him or her about the concern or encouragement. Any comments written are also sent directly to the student as part of the email.
Academic advisors and some specialized support staff monitor flags and may follow up with the student based on the nature of the concern and number of flags raised.
If the student responds to outreach attempts, or if the concern no longer exists, the faculty member who raised the flag and/or the student’s academic advisor can mark it as resolved. Some flags are informational in nature and may not be cleared until the end of the semester. These flags are important to help advisors know how a student is doing overall and can be aggregated to help us identify and prioritize student outreach as an institution.
- What is a To-Do and when should I use one?
Utilizing a To-Do in Starfish can automate processes and communications through due dates, selecting multiple students or as part of a group, and automate standard work flow (see complete list of To-Dos in Starfish).
Starfish allows staff and faculty to create a To-Do item to be completed by the selected student(s). This is a tracking itemthat prompts students to action. The staff/faculty member who raises the To-Do is responsible for assigning and following up with the item that is raised through Starfish (see the PDF with screenshots).
- Am I required to take attendance?
No, although, faculty have been encouraged by the Provost to take attendance in Canvas if possible. In the future, attendance information pulled from Canvas may be used to create automatic notifications in Starfish to students who miss a certain number of class sessions.
- How does Starfish comply with FERPA?
Starfish is already in use at more than 300 institutions throughout the United States and takes FERPA seriously. Starfish takes data (educational records) that many of us already have access to through Banner, CatTracks, Lynx Self Service and/or Canvas and organizes the information in a way that we can collaborate and communicate across campus to help students succeed.
As with any software or database system used by the university, Starfish has been reviewed by the Information Security Office to ensure the system complies with information-related laws, regulation and policies.
Starfish gives schools the option to put a FERPA notification on many screens to remind faculty and staff of their duty to comply with FERPA. This feature has been activated for Weber State. Nonetheless, all who interact with student data should be vigilant of the policies and regulations surrounding FERPA.
For more information see: Q&A: Starfish and FERPA
- Who can view information in Starfish?
Levels of access to information within Starfish are role-based and closely mirror access that faculty and staff have already been granted through the provisioning process. This was done to ensure that users are only seeing the information pertinent to the role they have in relation to their student.
- Faculty teaching a course will only be able to raise or view flags or kudos about students in their course.
- Student support advisors will be able to see specific information about students assigned to their area.
- Faculty advisors and academic advisors will be able to see a holistic view of the students, similar to what they already are able to access.
- Why are advisors and other support staff resolving/clearing flags for my students?
Advisors and other support staff are monitoring flags and reaching out to students based on the nature of the concern and number of flags raised. Advisors resolve/clear flags after successful or unsuccessful attempts at outreach. This function is used for tracking and assessment purposes. The advisor will indicate one of the following reasons for resolving/clearing a flag:
The concern was successfully addressed (i.e., student responded to outreach)
When this reason is selected, it is not meant to indicate that the specific concern or issue is necessarily resolved but that the student is aware it and has discussed a course of action with an advisor or other support staff. If the student’s behavior or actions continue to cause concern, faculty members are encouraged to raise another flag.
The concern was not successfully addressed (i.e., student did not respond to outreach)
This reason is selected to notify the faculty member that an advisor or other support staff has attempted to contact a student by phone and/or email but the student did not respond. If the student has not reached out to the faculty member to address the concern, the faculty member is encouraged to raise another flag.
The concern is no longer relevant
This reason is most commonly selected when a student has dropped the class for which the flag was raised.
The flag was raised by mistake
I don’t have enough information
- Can I resolve/clear my own flags?
Yes. Faculty members are encouraged to resolve/clear flags if a student talks with them about the concern raised by the flag. Instructions can be found on our How-to Guides page.