Fall 2021 Guidance/COVID-19 Information

Starfish for Faculty


Starfish is a communication tool that offers students early and ongoing feedback surrounding academic progress. Starfish connects our current student outreach efforts with the goal of making our support around student success efforts a smooth, efficient and easy process for all. Information submitted in Starfish is student facing


1. Set up Office Hours or Academic Advising Appointments (Starfish is a great vehicle to use for scheduling office hours and advising sessions). Set up your available hours and students will select the times that work best. You are only offering the times in Starfish that you have available. Any information put in Starfish automatically updates your Outlook calendar.

It is best to use the Office Hours feature strictly for your semester office hours and the Scheduling Wizard feature for academic advising appointments. The Office Hours and Advising Appointment video will describe this in detail as well as how to edit or cancel incorrect appointment times. 

To encourage your advisees to use Starfish for advising, you are welcome to use the following language: "Hello Advisees, I am using Starfish to schedule academic advising appointments. Login to myRedDragon and select the Starfish Tab. I will be listed as your Academic Advisor under the My Connections area on your dashboard. Select my name and you will then see my profile page. Select the blue "Schedule Appointment" link under my name. The system will walk you through the process."

Students tend to intuitively know how to use the system but the Directions to Make an Appointment is helpful to share with your students/advisees.  You can also direct them to the Starfish for Students website.

If you need to edit or cancel one of your blocks of time, go to the day and block of time in your Starfish calendar and hover your mouse over the clock icon. The edit or cancel options will appear. If students made an appointment in that particular block of time and you have to cancel, the students will automatically receive a notice from Starfish to reschedule. You also have the option to include a message when cancelling. 

2. To get started, review and update your Institutional Profile. Do not put in your campus title in the "Title" block (Starfish is relationship and role based so this box should remain blank in order for the system to link you with your advisees and students appropriately). If you want your students to know your title, place it in the Biography section. While you are setting up your profile, add your location(s) and include your appointment preferences (you might want to go ahead and set your email notifications). Watch the Starfish Introduction and Institutional Profile video tutorial.

3. Starfish Help: You are encouraged to contact us at Starfish@cortland.edu with questions. Online training sessions offered at:

   Please join us. No need to RSVP:

  • Starfish Basics: get started with this 1-hour session focusing on basic features of Starfish (including setting up your profile and advice from faculty)
    • Monday, August 16, 11:30 a.m.
    • Wednesday, August 25, 9 a.m.
    • Thursday, August 26, 1:30 p.m.
    • Tuesday, August 31, 10 a.m.
    • Tuesday, Sept. 7, 3 p.m.
    • Wednesday, Sept. 22, 10:30 a.m. 

  • Starfish Mini Sessions: dive into the features YOU want to use this semester. Maximize your time by choosing this 30-minute training focused on a specific Starfish feature. 
    • Faculty Office Hours and Appointment Scheduling
      • Tuesday, August 17, 2 p.m.
      • Wednesday, August 18, 9:30 a.m.
      • Friday, August 27, 10:30 a.m.
      • Wednesday, Sept. 1, 3:30 p.m.
    • Taking Attendance
      • Tuesday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m.
      • Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2 p.m.
    • Offering Feedback during and outside Progress Survey time-frames
      • Monday, Sept. 13 1 p.m.
      • Tuesday, Sept 14, 10 a.m.
    • Academic Advising Appointment Scheduling
      • Thursday, Sept. 16, 1:30 p.m.
      • Wednesday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m.

4. Notification Descriptions is a detailed list about each alert and who receives, views, and manages the information. As you will see, any action you take in the system is always explained to you so you know exactly what you are doing and who will be able to view feedback. This aspect is important as any information you submit through Starfish is visible to the student and becomes part of the student's academic record.  You can see the actual flag messages that are generated through Starfish when you select the specific flag alert. The Starfish Message Templates for Spring 2020 to Fall 2021 lists all of the messages if you want to read all the templates at once.

Each alert offers a specific message (email) to the student from Starfish Cortland. If you add additional comments to a flag alert, the comments will be embedded in the email stating they are from the instructor.

Flag Alert Definitions:

  • Attendance Concern - raise this when a student is not attending class regularly (email notification to student).
  • Critical Attendance Concern - use this alert when there is a critical attendance issue (email notification to student and associate dean, with additional outreach from a support office).
  • Never Attended - use this alert to indicate that a student has never attended your class (email notification to student and associate dean, with additional outreach from a support office).
  • Work not Meeting Course Expectations (Academic Concern) - raise this when a student is not meeting course expectations/performance. Room for improvement (email notification to student). 
  • Critical Academic Concern - raise this when there is an urgent academic concern (email to student and associate dean, outreach from support office).
  • At Risk for Failing - raise when student is at risk for failing course (email to student and associate dean, outreach from support office).
  • Stopped Attending - raise this alert when the student has stopped attending class on a regular basis. This alert will be added to the options after the progress survey.

Campus personnel with permission to see all of these student flag alerts include the: academic advisor, advisement and transition, associate dean and the instructor that raised the original flag. In all cases the student will receive an email notifying them of the particular flag alert and any comments about their academic performance. 

  • If you are concerned about the nature of the alert, it is best to make a private phone call to Advisement and Transition (607-753-4726) or to the respective Associate Dean.

Kudos Options (email to student):

  • Keep Up the Good Work
  • Outstanding Academic Performance
  • Showing Improvement
  • Stay Engaged and Connected - faculty asked for this kudo for those times when they do not have graded coursework but still want to provide feedback or offer an encouraging word. 

Student Raised Flag Alerts:

  • I Need Help In A Course - students can ask for help in a specific course, instructor will be notified.
  • I Need Help - students can ask for general help and the request will be reviewed and referred to the appropriate support office. 
  • I Need General Academic Help - students can ask for assistance from The Learning Center.
  • I Need Help With My Writing - students can ask for assistance from the Writing Center.

5. Working with the Student Tab: There are several options to work with your students within the "Students" tab in Starfish. Watch this brief video for an overview of Starfish on how to look up your students, find contact information, how to submit a flag alert or kudos, how to take attendance, and print a class roster.  You can also submit information for a Progress Survey from this tab. A separate video on how to respond to a Progress Survey can be found below, #8.  

6. Starfish Syllabus Statement:

You may see emails from starfish@cortland.edu regarding your academic performance in class as well as any recommendations to support you. To access Starfish, log into myRedDragon and select the Starfish tab to set up your profile. Make sure you check your email daily and respond to any notifications or recommendations you receive. Starfish is helpful and easy to use as you connect with me and all the resources on our campus. 

7. User Statement and Expectations and FERPA and Policy Definitions
: All records and information placed in Starfish are part of the student's academic record. Students will be able to read any information put in their online folder. Read the Starfish Privacy Policy regarding data collected by the Starfish Success Platform. 

8. Progress Survey:
The system will alert you when it is time to provide feedback to students in the form of a survey. Progress surveys offer instructors an at a glance/formalized opportunity to give feedback on your student's academic progress. Administration Dates:

Full Semester: Sept. 24 to Oct. 8 
First Quarter: Sept. 10 to Sept. 15
Second Quarter: Nov. 5 to Nov. 10  (deadlines are at midnight)

 Responding to a Progress Survey offers detailed information on how to use a progress survey. Or watch this brief video about responding to a Progress Survey!

9. Attendance:
For instructors interested in keeping track of attendance, Starfish will organize of all the details of a student's attendance, tardiness, and excused absences. You can also download the information into an Excel spreadsheet if you wish. View the Starfish Overview Video at the 3:37 point for details about how to take Attendance. Use the Pivot Table directions to create a simple way for excel to count the attendance for each student.

10: Outlook Calendar Integration with Starfish:
Starfish automatically "talks" to our Outlook calendars but you might be interested in having your Outlook (busy and tentative) appointments automatically added to your Starfish calendar. Students will not see the appointments. Similar to Outlook, your department secretary, if made a calendar manager, can see your appointments in Starfish but not the Private appointments. Some people might like this integration feature so their Starfish appointments, office hours, and advising appointments do not conflict with times already set on your Outlook calendar. 

Important Reminders:  

All information in Starfish and myRedDragon is disclosable under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). All information put into the system should use student-facing and student-friendly language.

Most academic flags in the system are viewable by the student they reference, the faculty or staff member who raised them, and any individual who may be associated with the flag. Flags are meant to connect everyone with the common goal of ensuring the student's academic success.


*Starfish is not intended to respond to mental health or safety concerns. If you have a significant concern about a student’s health, safety or well-being please contact the Behavior Assessment Team (BAT).

Additional Videos:

Starfish offers some video tutorials to assist faculty. Some of the content and screen captures are not the same as what we have on our campus, you may still find the information helpful.

Advisement and Transition
Memorial Library
Room A-111

Phone: 607-753-4726
Fax: 607-753-5593
8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.