Instructor Starfish Resources

Starfish Early Alert is designed to help you communicate academic progress concerns with students in your classes, identify resources that might be helpful to their success, and provide them positive feedback on improved progress.

  • Increases communication between instructors, students, and support staff
  • Provides personalized feedback to students about their academic progress the moment a tracking item is raised
  • Catches students early in the semester to provide them opportunities to improve
  • Gives the ability to provide positive recognition to students
  • Creates a connection with advisors and other campus resources

For more information on the workflow, see the Starfish Flowchart. 

Getting Started with Starfish at Binghamton

Getting started is easy! Access Starfish by logging into and clicking on the Starfish login link under Useful Links.

Providing feedback using Starfish

There are two ways to provide feedback on a student using Starfish:

Method 1: Progress Surveys

Progress Surveys are academic surveys administered several times a semester to help alert students to their overall academic progress in the course.

Method 2: Manual Flags and Kudos

Flags and Kudos can be raised anytime during the semester and is ideal for faculty who have individual concerns (or praise) about a student. When you have a concern with a particular student, raise a flag to communicate your observations.

What happens when you raise a flag, kudo, or referral (either through a progress survey or manually)?

Flags are categorized into two levels - Level 1 and Level 2. Level 1 and Level 2 flags differ in the response that academic advising and other student support offices will provide.

  • Level 1 flag (Email ONLY) - The student is expected to address the issue independently. Supportive outreach occurs for multiple level 1 flags.
  • Level 2 flag (Supportive Outreach) - Academic Advising Services or other student support offices for students in special populations will reach out to the student.

For both Level 1 and Level 2 flags:

  • Students will receive a pre-configured email that includes your comments (except for the Behavioral Concern flag.)
  • Students are encouraged to reach out to you for additional information about these comments.
  • Academic advisors and other key support staff can see your comments for their assigned students. They are encouraged to reach out to students (although this is not always possible due to caseload management and availability).

Please also note:

  • outreach priority is for those students with 3 or more active Level 1 flags and/or students flagged with Level 2 flags. 
  • when reaching out to students, the academic advisor or other support staff will have the option to provide feedback to you by "closing the loop".

IMPORTANT: When you raise a tracking item, the student will receive an immediate email notification for each flag, kudo, and referral. These emails include any comments you entered. In all of the templates, instructors have an opportunity to outline details of the specific concern or praise in the comments section. 

Raising a flag simply lets the student know directly about concerns, or praise for progress. Students are very responsive to kudos that let them know their efforts are recognized and appreciated. The earlier an alert is raised, the better chance that potential success barriers are addressed. Once a flag gets a student’s attention, the flag has done its job.

Sample Starfish Syllabus Statement Template

Binghamton cares about your success! This course is part of a Binghamton initiative that uses Starfish. Starfish is an online notification system used by instructors to communicate with students and support personnel regarding academic achievements and to identify areas for improvement. In addition to awarding kudos to acknowledge excellent performance, Starfish is also used by instructors and staff to raise early alerts and to direct students to campus services and resources. Starfish referrals are designed to help students identify strategies to achieve their academic goals. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by Binghamton to promote academic success. To access Starfish, log into the MyBinghamton portal and click the Starfish link. To learn more about Starfish, visit the webpage at Note that when you set up your Starfish account both texting and email are options for notifications. If you need technical assistance with Starfish, contact the ITS Help Desk.

Would you like to have your TAs raise flags and submit progress surveys on your behalf?

Because TAs are not listed in BU Brain/Banner, TAs are not automatically added to Starfish attached to your course. If you would like your TA to raise flags manually or complete a progress survey on your behalf, they will need to be added to the system manually. This addition must be completed PRIOR to a survey being launched. After a survey is launched, there is no mechanism for adding TAs.

Complete the form below to have your TAs added. Allow for 3 business days for processing. 


Quick Information 

  • Setting up your Starfish Profile

    Your Starfish profile will let your students know who you are and how to contact you. Your profile also allows you to set appointment and email preferences. Some components of your profile, such as your contact information, are imported from Banner.

    1. Login to Starfish with your PODS username and password.
    2. Click on the triple bar icon in the top left corner then click on your name.
    3. Click on the Institutional Profile tab.
    4. Add information to the General Overview and My Biography sections to let students know more about you. This information will be visible to students who can make appointments with you in Starfish.
    5. Click Submit to save your changes.
  • Changing your email notifications

    Starfish will email you a summary of tracking item activity for your students. Use the Email Notifications tab of your Profile to modify details of how and when you receive these notifications.

    1. Login to Starfish with your PODS username and password.
    2. Click on the triple bar icon in the top left corner then click on Email Notifications.
    3. Navigate to the section labeled Summary Emails and select either "Daily" or "Weekly" to select the best time for you to receive these updates.
    4. Navigate to the section labeled Tracking Item Notifications to check, or remove a check from, any of the boxes.This section also contains a list of active tracking items you could receive about a student.
    5. Click Submit to save your changes.
  • Viewing your students

    In Starfish, you are able to see students that you have a connection with. These connections are coming from information entered in Banner. From the Students navigation item, you are able to find information about your students and communicate with a student or group of students.

    1. Login to Starfish with your PODS username and password.
    2. Click on the triple bar icon in the top left corner then click on the Students navigation item to see your list of students.
    3. Click on My Students.
    4. In the Search bar, you are able to enter a student's name or BNumber number to search for them.
      viewer 1
    5. Under Connection, you can filter your view of students by the connection that you have with them.
    6. Under Term, you are able to filter students enrolled in classes by the term. Your advisees are listed in the Ongoing Term.
      view 2
    7. To view a student's profile, click on their name.
  • Setting up your office hours

    The first time you login to the Starfish Portal, a ‘wizard’ to walk you through setting up your office hours will appear. This enables students to schedule appointments with you.

    If your office hours are different week to week, follow the “If your office hours don’t repeat weekly, click here” link.

    If your office hours recur, complete the fields presented to specify:

    1. What day(s) do you have office hours? Check the boxes for each day.
    2. What time are your office hours? Enter a start and end time.
    3. Where are they? Select the Type of setting and enter the Details in the field provided (e.g. the building and room number of your office).
    4. If relevant, provide Instructions for students who make appointments with you. For example: “Thank you for scheduling an appointment with me. Please arrive at my office promptly. Bring any questions you may have to discuss. I look forward to meeting with you.”
    5. Click the Set up Office Hours button to save your office hours