Starfish is an early-alert retention tool that works through Blackboard to support student academic success at ECU. Through Starfish, faculty can inform students of their academic performance within a course and connect students to appropriate support resources.
Starfish’s goal is to catch students before it’s too late and offer academic assistance
Starfish has the capabilities to engage students on many levels, but has been used at East Carolina University extensively to allow faculty to express concerns (flags) or offer words of praise (kudos). Some commonly used flags at East Carolina University have been low test/quiz scores, excessive absences, and stopped attending. Some commonly used kudos have been to keep up the good work, off to a good start, and outstanding academic performance.
In the 2013 – 2014 calendar year alone, College of Education faculty gave out nearly 18600 flags and kudos that without a doubt have proved to be very helpful to students. Faculty feedback is extremely important in helping students reach their academic potential and Starfish provides this in a simple, quick form. A specific flag indicates to the student the nature of the problem and this provides them with the opportunity to correct it. Since faculty have taken the time to address a problem, they are obviously more than happy to support a student through correcting the problem. A specific kudo indicates to the student that things are going well and should be motivation to keep things moving in that direction. I have received 2 kudos this semester so far and am motivated to receive more as I continue my graduate studies. Starfish data shows that the number of flags and kudos given by faculty continues to increase from year to year. Therefore, Starfish appears to be here to stay as it proves to be a very helpful tool for faculty and students alike.
MSA Principal Fellow
East Carolina University