Starfish facilitates communication among academic advisers, instructors, students, and others who are here to support student learning.
Starfish provides students with a central location to connect to the people and services that can help you engage with their education.
Three things students should to do in Starfish:
- Set up your profile
Make it easier for your instructors and advisors to get to know you and stay in contact. Upload a photo so they will recognize you.
- Connect to people who can help you
Use your personalized My Success Network and Courses channels for quick access to contact information, appointment scheduling, and course help. Browse the Services Catalog if you can’t find what you’re looking for through your personalized channels.
- Stay on track
Use your Dashboard to stay on top of upcoming appointments and recommendations from your instructors and advisers.
Set up your Profile
Begin by setting up your student profile. Your profile lets instructors and advisors know who you are and how to contact you. It also gives you control over how you wish to receive messages from Starfish.
From here, you can customize your profile by uploading a photo and choosing settings for appointment reminders.
2. If you choose, you can enter additional ways for Starfish messages to reach you, including an additional email address or your phone via SMS. Messages will always be sent to your Penn State email, no matter what.
To have Starfish emails sent to your mobile phone (in addition to sending to your Penn State email address), enter the email address of your mobile phone in the Alternate Email. Click the Both radio button associated with “Send my correspondence to”.
NOTE: This address will be a combination of your phone number plus carrier information. Click the more information icon for a list of common carriers and email address formats.
3. Once you have made your desired changes to your profile, click the Submit button to save your updates.
Connect to people who can help you
The My Success Network, and Courses channels display the people and offices that are available to help you succeed. Here you can find key contact information as well as links to web sites and online appointment scheduling.
My Success Network
Click the My Success Network icon on your Home page to display your personalized network. This channel lists the people and resources that are available to assist you. (You can browse a broader list of available services in the Service Catalog). For each person or service listed you will find contact information, supporting websites, and, if online scheduling is enabled, a link to make an appointment. If a service includes a waiting room for walk-in appointments, you can click the “Waiting Room” link to find out how many students are currently in line.
Click the Courses icon on your Home page to display information about the courses you are enrolled in, including contact information for your instructors.
Make an Appointment through Starfish
If an individual has made times available for you to schedule through Starfish, you will see a Schedule Appointment link in their contact information.
- Click the Schedule Appointment link below the contact information for the desired person or service in the My Success Network or Courses
- Use the small calendar on the left to quickly identify days with available office hours (available days will be shown in bold). Click the desired date in the small monthly calendar to display availability on that day
- Available time slots on the selected day will include a Sign up Click the Sign Up link associated with the desired time slot.
- This opens the Add Appointment Complete the form by selecting a reason for the meeting (and a course if relevant). Include an explanation of what you need so that your instructor or advisor can be prepared for the meeting.
- Click Submit to set the appointment. You will get an email with the appointment details and the appointment will be listed on your Dashboard.
Change an Appointment
Upcoming appointments will be listed on your Dashboard in the time line view (left column). Click the edit icon (a picture of a pencil) to modify the appointment or the cancel icon (an X) to cancel it. If you do choose to cancel an appointment, please do so as far in advance as possible so the slot can be used by another student.
Stay on track
Use the tools in Starfish to help you keep track of your appointments and alerts from instructors and advisers.
Your Dashboard displays upcoming appointments and date-based tasks on the left to help you plan your week. The right hand column of your Dashboard highlights items that require your attention and may include alerts related to your class work, recommended referrals to campus support offices to help you succeed, and Kudos from your instructors.
Click the Messages icon on your Home page to display messages sent to you in Starfish. Click on any message in the list to display the full contents of that message. These messages were also sent to your Penn State email and to any alternate address you added to your profile.
The Plans channel will display any customized Plans created for you by your advisor. This might include an Academic Plan or a more targeted plan for a set of specific tasks with due dates. Click the View Details button associated with a plan to display a printable version of the plan.
Certain individuals may be listed in your personal Success Network channel, but other individuals and offices can be found in the broader Services catalog accessed from the top navigation bar. On this page you can search for a service or scroll through the list of available services. For each service you can view contact information, visit service websites, and schedule online appoints (if the office made them available).
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I can’t see a link to schedule an appointment?
Contact the office or individual directly. The Schedule Appointment link will only be visible for individuals who have set up online appointment scheduling.
When I try to schedule an appointment, I can’t select a reason.
Appointments are only available to students who are in a specific relationship with individuals. If you can’t select a reason, it’s because you are not in the right relationship with the individual for that appointment. In most cases, this will be because the appointment is only available to students who are assigned to that particular academic adviser. In these cases, the appointment should not even be visible to you, and we have reported the bug to Starfish.
What if I don’t see anyone listed in My Success Network?
Your advisor or instructors might not be assigned yet. Check back later or contact your college/campus advising office for additional assistance.
What if I click the Starfish link and get a “You do not have access” message?
Only currently enrolled students with an active Penn State Access Account can log in to Starfish. If you are a current student, contact the Accounts office to trouble shoot your access account.
What information about me is visible in Starfish?
Starfish is role and relationship based. Only individuals in particular roles (e.g. academic advisers, instructors) who are in a relationship with you (e.g. your assigned adviser, your instructors) can see information in Starfish, and then they only see information necessary for their role.
Instructors use Starfish to alert you to areas of excellence (through Kudos) and to areas where changes are needed (through Flags). These alerts are sent to your email. You are expected to read these messages and take appropriate action. Academic advisers can also see these alerts so they can help you develop strategies for building on strengths and for meeting challenges.
Academic advisers use Starfish to document the topics discussed in advising meetings. This documentation is an ethical standard for advising because it helps advisers better help you make your way through Penn State. Notes kept in Starfish need to meet professional and legal standards.