Starfish connects our current student outreach efforts with the goal of making our support around student success a smooth, efficient, and easy process by enhancing student, faculty and staff engagement.
Get started – update your profile
Updating your profile
- Review and update your Institutional Profile. Select the main menu icon, top, left of page. Next, select your name or the down arrow icon, then select Edit Profile. Add a picture if you like!
- Do not put 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
- Select "Save Changes", then select the next tab, Appointment Preferences.
- It is critical that you add your location(s) and include your appointment preferences. Select "Save Changes", then select the next tab, Notifications. Make sure "tracking items assigned to me" is selected. Then "Save Changes".
Watch the Starfish Introduction and Institutional Profile video tutorial for details. Always remember, information placed in Starfish is student facing.
Advice from our Faculty Ambassadors and Advisory Council:
- Your Starfish profile is pretty much set for you but make sure to offer a quick word about yourself in the biography section.
- Create as many locations as you have (office, phone, online, elsewhere). This makes using Starfish scheduling easy to use. For online, put your WebEx address in the instructions so your students always have it handy.
- Under Appointment Preferences, use a minimum appointment length of 15 minutes and do not set a scheduling deadline. This makes it easy for students to connect with you for office hours.
- Since the Starfish calendar syncs automatically to your Outlook Calendar, you do not need to sync your Outlook calendar to Starfish. If you do use this feature, your appointments do not show to students.
- Set your summary emails to 7 a.m. daily. You receive a helpful email reminder of what is happening that day via Starfish.
Set up office hours / academic advising appointments
Starfish is easy to use for scheduling office hours and advising sessions as well as editing any times you already have set. You are only offering times in Starfish that you have available and students connected to you will select the times that work best. Any information put in Starfish automatically updates your Outlook calendar.
Select Appointments from the main menu. The next screen offers you three views of your calendar: Agenda, Day and Week. Office hours and Scheduling Wizard are the two tabs at the top that you will use most.
Adding information in the office hours popup is intuitive. Just make sure a.m. and p.m. are listed appropriately. Use Scheduled and Drop-Ins for your office hours and offer instructions. Help the student be prepared for what you expect. Make sure to offer an end date.
Adding advising hours is easy if you use the Scheduling Wizard tab. Input is intuitive, just make sure to schedule enough time for your advising sessions and offer instructions on what you expect of the advising meeting.
Advice from our Faculty Ambassadors and Advisory Council
- 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.
- Don't forget that the system automatically creates individual meeting times for you. If you have 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. available for advising, place that time-frame in the Wizard and the system will automatically create 4 appointments in Starfish and on you Outlook calendar!
- 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. Creating a message is especially important if a student was scheduled.
- Encourage your advisees or student to use Starfish for appointments by taking five minutes in class to discuss how Starfish works and where students can find access. Use the Starfish Syllabus Statement that has been created by the Advisory Council: "Hello students/advisees, I am using Starfish to schedule office hours/academic advising appointments. Login to myRedDragon and select the Starfish Tab. I will be listed as your instructor/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 Directions to Make an Appointment is helpful to share with your students/advisees. You can also direct them to the Starfish for Students website.)
- The Outlook Calendar Integration with Starfish feature is something to carefully consider. If you rely heavily on Starfish, you will love having Outlook talk to Starfish. If not, you do not have to use this feature.
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.
Working with the Students link – attendance / class roster
There are several options to work with your students within the "Students" link in Starfish. You can sort through your students based on specific classes with your "Connection", keep track of "Attendance", review "Tracking" information, and offer feedback using the "Progress Survey" feature.
Watch this brief video for an overview of Starfish on how to use all of these features on the Student link. Giving feedback can happen at any time of the semester. Starfish never closes! The Progress Survey time-frame offers a formalized approach, by class, to give feedback. A separate video on how to respond to a Progress Survey can be found below in the next accordion tab.
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 (PDF) 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 (PDF) to create a simple way for excel to count the attendance for each student.
Advice from Faculty Ambassadors and Advisory Council
- You can easily search for your students on Starfish but using the "connection" drop down tab at the top of the page organizes the students by class or your advisees. Make sure your TERM when reviewing your connections is always on "ACTIVE". This offers you the latest information from our Student Information System (SIS).
- Sending a flag to a student is an important way to establish the need of that student to reach out to their resources whether this is an attendance or other issue with the student's work. They tend to read and respond to the Starfish messages.
- Send Kudos! The students really like hearing that you appreciate their work. It may be the thing that encourages them to keep it up throughout the semester. This demonstrates your care and concern for your students' success.
- Use the attendance feature! If a student has questions on their attendance, it's all recorded each day of class so there should be less "challenges" from the student.
- Review the tracking feature when meeting with advisees one-on-one, it allows you to see what others are saying about your advisees, very helpful!
Progress survey / notification descriptions
The Starfish 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 offer notifications.
Full Semester: Sept. 23 to Oct. 9
First Quarter: Sept. 16 to Sept. 21
Second Quarter: Nov. 4 to Nov. 9 (deadlines are at 11 p.m.)
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!
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 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.
Reviewing or Clearing Alerts:
If you ever need to access an alert you sent to a student, simply search the student's name under the My Students or Tracking tab, select the student. Once in the student's online folder, under Tracking, find your item and select the plus sign to reach the alert and comments or with your cursor, hover over the flag icon and the alert will open, giving you access to read the content, edit the message, comment on the alert, or clear the alert (if the student has responded to you and addressed the concern).
Advice from Faculty Ambassadors and Advisory Council
- Raise only one alert on a student that represents the most appropriate feedback. Your student might be having issues with attendance, engagement, failing quiz and tests, etc. But flooding their email with all the alerts you raise on one student is excessive and may disengage the student in reading the alerts they receive.
*Always remember content you input is student facing and can be reviewed by the student and other colleagues (advisor, chair, dean, coach, etc.).
Flag Alert Definitions
- Attendance Concern - raise this when a student is not attending class regularly (email notification to student).
- Critical Concern - use this alert when there is a critical/urgent academic 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).
- 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.
- Open Ended Comment - This alert will be available throughout the year but not part of the progress survey. Raise this when you want to send open ended, student facing comments to your students when the other notifications do not capture the feedback you need to provide (email notification to student only and viewable by all).
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 private nature of the alert, it is best to make a 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.
Syllabus and advising statements / Services link
You may see emails from firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Academic Advising Email Statement
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.
The Services link on the Starfish main menu is essentially an alphabetical listing of our student support offices. Student have the same link so you can utilize this list when referring students to another office for assistance.
Starfish help / faculty ambassadors and advisory council
Starfish Help: You are encouraged to contact us at Starfish@cortland.edu with questions. Online training sessions offered via WebEx:
Additional sessions available soon. Call 607-753-4726 or if you have questions or need immediate help.
Please join us. No need to RSVP:
Get started with this 1-hour session focusing on basic features of Starfish (including setting up your profile and advice from faculty). Winter and Summer faculty should attend these sessions.
- Tuesday, August 23 at 3 p.m.
- Wednesday, August 24 at Noon
- Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 1:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 10:30 a.m.
- Additional dates TBD
Dive into the features you want to use this semester. Maximize your time by choosing this 30-minute session focused on a specific Starfish feature.
- Faculty Office Hours and Appointment Scheduling
- Friday, August 26 at 9 a.m.
- Wednesday, August 31 at Noon
- Taking Attendance
- Thursday, Sept. 8 at 9 a.m.
- Friday, Sept. 9 at 2 p.m.
- Offering Feedback during and outside Progress Survey time-frames
- Monday, Sept. 12 at 8:30 a.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 10 a.m.
- Academic Advising Appointment Scheduling
- Wednesday, Oct. 5 at 11 a.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m.
Please contact your colleagues if you have Starfish questions:
- Helena Baert - Physical Education - PS
- Eric Edlund - Physics - A&S
- Jake Hall - Childhood/Early Childhood - SOE
- Jaclyn Pittsley - English - A&S
- Helene Schmid - Physical Education - PS
- Paul van der Veur - Communication and Media Studies - A&S
- Ryan Vooris - Sport Management - PS
- Susan Wilson - Recreation, Parks and Leisure Studies - PS
- Eric Edlund - Physics - A&S
- Jake Hall - Childhood/Early Childhood - SOE
- Michelle LoGerfo - Marketing Office
- Jaclyn Pittsley- English - A&S
- Barry Schecter - Health Department - PS
- Lori Schlicht - Advisement and Transition
- Helene Schmid- Physical Education - PS
- Abby Thomas - Advisement and Transition
- Michael Turner - Writing Center
We are looking to include additional representatives for our Faculty Ambassador program as well as the Advisory Council. Ambassadors serve as a resource for colleagues who may have Starfish questions. Council members offer platform advice, assist with template creation and discuss notification workflows, etc. Reach out to email@example.com for additional information.
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).