Starfish for Faculty & Staff

Starfish is a success-oriented tool used to facilitate communication between students and their support network at Alma College. All faculty and staff can use Starfish to support the students they interact with at Alma College by raising flags and sharing kudos.

Click here to access Starfish


This new system makes it easier for Alma College to coordinate and communicate among stakeholders, monitor student progress and help students make wise choices.

In the related links section of this page you’ll find links to an Alma College Starfish help guide (that covers everything we covered in the workshop training) as well as some helpful videos from Starfish.

Starfish FAQ

How will Starfish help college faculty, staff and students?

Among other functions, Starfish gives instructors a quick way to report and track their students’ academic performance and other concerns by raising “flags” when a pattern of behavior that causes concern is apparent or by sending “kudos” to acknowledge positive contributions to academic success. Staff can also raise flags if they know of a student who needs assistance. Faculty and staff can refer students to services they may need and can receive feedback from administration on efforts to assist their students.

What is a flag in Starfish?

Flags are raised by faculty (as well as various other staff) to communicate a concern about a student. The email includes faculty comments.

Who can see the flags?

Each flag has different viewing privileges and we limit viewing privileges to only roles who can actively work towards supporting the student for the particular item. When raising a flag, explicit information on who will be able to see that flag is listed on screen. As an example, most academic flags go to the student, retention team, academic advisor and other academic support services.

What am I supposed to do with flags after I have raised them?

In short, if the behavior changes or the issue is no longer a concern, you may clear the flag. For example, if you raise a Low Quiz/Test Scores flag, and the student has since improved their performance on quizzes and tests, it would be appropriate to clear the flag. If the problem is not resolved, it is appropriate to leave the flag raised.

Will I get feedback on actions taken on a flag I raised?

When appropriate, you will receive feedback from administration on actions taken to assist the student on which you raised a flag. This is a process called “closing the loop” to help keep you as faculty informed of the action that was taken from your flag and what next steps you might take to help the student.

What is a kudo?

A kudo is a means of expressing positive feedback to students by faculty. You can let them know to Keep Up the Good Work, that they have achieved Outstanding Academic Performance or that they are Showing Improvement. Students will be notified and will see it highlighted on their front page of Starfish when they enter the system.

What is a referral in Starfish?

A referral is a way to tell a student to go to a specific office or access a specific resource. Referrals are more supportive than just telling a student they should visit a particular office because they generate an email that tells the student how to connect with that office (where to go, who to contact, etc…) The system also lets the relevant office know you sent someone their way along with context for the referral. 

When will instructors be notified to submit the progress surveys?

Emails notifications are sent to instructors for each progress survey. There are three progress surveys for each 14-week course. During a 14-week course, faculty will receive short progress surveys during the second, fifth and seventh weeks.

How does Starfish connect with Moodle?

If you use the Moodle Grade Book, Starfish will pull over up-to-date grades into its system. These will be available to a student’s advisor and can help the retention team identify students who may need assistance even if a flag hasn’t been raised.

Can I use Starfish to help me schedule advising meetings?

Yes. You can choose to add “office hours” specifically for advising meetings and give students the ability to sign up for 15, 30, 45 or 60-minute sessions during the time you are available. Then students can sign up for the advising meetings through Starfish on a first come, first serve basis.

Are there instructional videos I can use to learn more about Starfish?

Yes. You’ll find them in the related links section of this page. There are videos available on a variety of tasks within Starfish.

Is there a written training guide for Starfish?

Yes. You’ll find the Alma College Starfish guide in the related links section of this page as well.

Can I get more one-on-one training in person?

Yes. If you have questions or would like more guidance in using Starfish please contact Andrew Bare at x7420 ( who can coordinate further assistance.