A Tool to Help Advisors and Faculty Serve Students

Seattle Colleges has been using Starfish to improve communication and day-to-day services for students since May 1, 2019. In the first year of Starfish use at Seattle Colleges, there were more than 41,000 student services appointments scheduled, with 28.5 percent of appointments scheduled by students themselves! There are also 70-plus student services departments available to students in the system.

Students can use Starfish to:

  • Schedule advising appointments and find information about drop-in advising hours
  • Make appointments with tutors and find information about drop-in tutoring services
  • Schedule other kinds of appointments with campus services
  • Access information about student support services on campus
  • View their current instructors and courses 
  • Find digital to-do items and checklists assigned by their advisors
  • View all messages sent from advisors, instructors, and other services through Starfish
  • Request follow-up support from campus services

How Students Make Appointments

To make an appointment, students go to their college’s Students/Current Students webpage and click on the Starfish icon. Students can also access Starfish from most advising and tutoring webpages. From there, they log in using their MySeattleColleges username and password and then view their My Success Network page to find advisors, instructors, and other service providers.

Check out these videos to see how students make appointments.

For more information about how students navigate Starfish, please visit the IT Services Starfish student page.

How Advisors and Faculty Use Starfish

Although there are a lot of student services providers using Starfish to serve students, two important groups are advisors and faculty.

Advisors use Starfish to:

  • Schedule and document meetings and workshops with students
  • Create tasks and Success Plans to support student progress toward their academic goals
  • View and manage their advising caseloads
  • Add case notes about students for other advisors to reference
  • Manage drop-in advising queues
  • Communicate with instructors who have reached out through student-assigned notifications and referrals

Faculty can use Starfish to find their current and past class rosters and view students’ Success Networks, which include a student’s primary advisor, secondary support connections, and current and past instructors. Faculty can also:

  • Set up their course office hours in Starfish so students can see them and either make appointments or drop in, making it easy to track who has attended office hours and/or group sessions and follow up with students
  • View a student’s previous course history at Seattle Colleges
  • View which students are accessing tutoring services (for all tutoring services using Starfish)
  • Record class attendance
  • Make referrals for students who need extra support
  • Provide progress feedback to students that is also visible to advisors by submitting progress surveys
  • Add case notes about students that advisors can reference

For more information about using Starfish, please reference the Seattle Colleges staff and faculty Starfish resources in Canvas, which is a repository of step-by-step visual guides and videos.

Access to Starfish

Faculty teaching in the current term have automatic access to the system and do not need to complete training. Faculty should reference the resource repository to get started.

All student services and instructional division staff, as well as faculty who have non instructional positions, must enroll in the Starfish training for new users and will be given access upon completion of the course (about 90 minutes).

About Starfish

Starfish is a student success platform that provides online advising, appointment scheduling, early alerts, and other tools. It is a software-as-a-service platform provided by a company called Hobsons. It was selected by a districtwide committee and is currently in use at South Puget Sound Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College District, Edmonds Community College, and 450-plus community colleges and universities across the country.

Starfish and Privacy

Starfish is FERPA compliant and uses a robust and flexible combination of roles, relationships, and privileges to govern access to system tools, enter notes, and view student information. Seattle Colleges maintains control over the student data and makes all decisions about who can access information. We have worked with a cross-functional team of student services staff, IT, and others to carefully configure access.

Generally speaking:

  • Instructors will see only the records of students currently in their classes.
  • Students cannot see any information about other students.
  • For instructional and student services staff, we have balanced privacy with the understanding that staff need basic access to student information to provide a high level of service.

For more information and better understanding of working with student information, please enroll in FERPA Training for Seattle Colleges via Get Inclusive app (accessed through MySeattleColleges login).