Starfish: Connect, Find Resources

K. Patricia Bouweraerts

Starfish Icon Illustration

Starfish have five arms; symbolic for reaching out in many directions.

At Truckee Meadows Community College, Starfish is a new tool that has been integrated into TMCC's Canvas learning management system, allowing students to reach instructors, advisors, resources or information. It is now live for Fall Semester.

“All students, not just those in Web-based or hybrid classes, can use Starfish,” said Andy Hughes, Admissions and Records Director. “Starfish will help simplify communication between you, your instructors and student services at TMCC.”

Any TMCC student, even those taking only in-person classes can log in to Canvas (with the same user name and password that they use in MyTMCC). Once in Canvas, they will find Starfish as part of their listed courses.

First, students choose one of their courses, an in-person or online class. Starfish then appears as a menu option, leading to many convenient features. Starfish can be used for the following:

  • Customize a personal profile
  • Connect to instructors
  • Connect to advisors
  • Search TMCC resources
  • Access student services

Students can upload a photo so instructors and advisors can get to know, or recognize, who is contacting them. Instructors’ profiles and photos may also be viewed there.

There are three channels in the Starfish interface: "My Success Network", "Courses" and "Messages".

“Use your My Success Network and the Courses menu items for quick contact information,” he said. “Here you will find links to TMCC student service websites and online appointment scheduling.”

The "Messages" icon will bring up copies of messages sent through the Starfish tool. Faculty and staff can send email messages through Starfish to the student’s email account and a copy can then be found in the Starfish interface.

The Starfish Dashboard

A student’s main dashboard can be used as a helpful organizational tool. The dashboard includes the following functions:

  • Reminders of upcoming appointments
  • Instructor recommendations
  • Alerts of received messages
  • Service catalog for all TMCC student services

There is also an icon that is marked "Raise My Hand".

“If you need help in a course, you can raise your hand and the instructor will receive your message,” Hughes said. “If you need help with something outside of academics, you can raise your hand and complete the following statement, ‘I need help with…’ and an advisor will reach out to you.”

“Your success is most important to us,” added Hughes.