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Starfish Early Alert for Faculty and Staff

TMCC faculty may begin submitting Early Alerts using the Starfish Early Alert™ system the second week of the term.

Faculty are asked to identify students in their classes who may be in danger of failing, as well as the reason for their concerns. Alerts may be issued for attendance problems, trouble with subject matter, not completing assignments, writing deficiencies and any other concerns that arise.

Designated staff will receive notifications directly, and will contact students within two business days via phone and email. Students will also receive notification about the alert, and an automated email message from the instructor. When an alert is closed, faculty will receive a message summarizing the interaction with the student.

Starfish is integrated into all TMCC WebCollege Canvas courses. Look for the link to Starfish in the course section menu within a Canvas course. It is strongly recommended that faculty update their Starfish profile with a picture, review their contact information, setup up email preferences and office hours.

Starfish Login

Flags, Kudos and Referrals

Using Starfish, faculty may issue flags, kudos and referrals to help a student be more successful.

  • Flags are early alerts that trigger a notification directly to the student, instructor and Academic Advisement, and may be raised by either faculty or students.
  • Kudos are positive messages sent directly to a student to recognize a student’s good work or improvement.
  • Referrals may be added to a student’s Starfish Center to encourage connecting with appropriate support resources at TMCC.

Faculty Raised Flags

Faculty are able to raise six different flags in Starfish:

  • Attendance Concerns: Raise this when a student is not attending regularly. Please include the last date and attendance and the number of absences.
  • Student Academic Progress Concern: Raise this flag when a student is in danger of failing and may need to withdraw or audit a class. Please note: this flag will only be available until the last date to withdraw or change to audit each semester.
  • General Concern: Use this flag to express any concerns about a student that are not related to absences or grades.
  • Sensitive Concern About a Student: Use this flag when there is a sensitive concern. Please provide detailed information. Students will not receive notification about this flag. Notification of this flag will only go to Academic Advisement.

Student Raised Flags

Starfish Early Alert allows students to request assistance by raising a flag on themselves. Two flags are available:

  • I Need Help in a Course: This flag will trigger an email notification directly to the instructor in a specific course identifying the type of help being sought. The student will also receive a confirmation email recommending speaking with an instructor during office hours.
  • I Need Help: This flag will trigger an email notification to Academic Advisement. An Academic Advisor will contact the student within two business days to determine the type of assistance needed and make referrals to appropriate offices.


Instructors may raise two kudos using Starfish. A kudos is positive feedback about a student's performance that triggers an email to the student and posts a kudos star in a student's Starfish Center.

  • Keep up the Good Work: Use this when a student is doing well in a course.
  • Showing Improvement: Use this when a student shows improvement throughout the semester.


Instructors may make referrals using Starfish in order to recommend resources to help students be successful. For example, a referral for tutoring will send an email notification to the student with a direct link to schedule an appointment with the Tutoring and Learning Center.

Starfish Early Alert Help

For general inquiries and training questions, or to request a classroom presentation to increase student awareness about Starfish, please contact the Starfish administrator by email at or call 775-673-7286.

For technical issues, please contact IT Customer Service.