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Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL)

Starfish Early Alert

Student success is a high priority at Minot State University, and day-to-day student performance and behavior are among the most useful indicators of issues related to student success. Starfish Early Alert is a tool that supports student retention and helps improve communication among students, faculty and staff regarding students’ academic progress. Students do not succeed alone but are more successful when direct faculty-student communication is combined with effective support from advisors and other support staff on campus.

Instructors/Advisors/Staff - Please click here for more detailed information on use of the Starfish Early Alert System.

  • Instructors - MSU requests that all instructors identify students experiencing difficulties in individual classes through use of the Starfish Early Alert system either by submitting flags through an early alert report or raising flags manually throughout the semester. When all instructors submit early alerts it creates a complete picture for advisors and support staff to recognize a need for action. As instructors see that the issue causing the flag has been addressed or resolved they are asked to log into the Starfish Early Alert program and make notes or possibly clear the raised flag.

    Instructors may also send Kudos to students manually or via an early alert report. Kudos might be used as positive feedback for grades, attendance, or participation at the start of the semester. Kudos can also be used as a follow up when academic concern flags are cleared and a positive change has been made.

  • Advisors and Support Staff - MSU requests that advisors and support staff follow up on assigned advisees and students who they have a connection with as identified through the Starfish Early Alert system. This is the opportunity for advisors to communicate with students that a change is necessary and to activate outreach of additional resources that can support students' learning and goals. Advisors/support staff are asked to make notes on actions taken or clear the flag in the system when they have visited with the student regarding the issues raised. A response to the instructor who raised the flag can be generated at this time. 

Viewing PrivilegesViewing privileges for instructors, advisors and support staff are determined by permissions in Campus Connection. Instructors can view student information related to the course(s) they are teaching. Advisors can view all of their advisee’s information. Support staff can view information for those students they have a direct relationship with or students needing assistance from their department.


  • Students receive email notifications regarding flags raised in the Starfish Early Alert system and are responsible to take action based on the recommendations given. These actions may include meeting with the instructor and/or advisor or seeking assistance from an appropriate campus/community referral, i.e. tutoring center, writing center, counseling, career services, etc. The purpose of this assistance is to assess the severity of the issue, accurately assess its potential impact on academic success and to plan actions to prevent negative consequences, enabling the student to realize their goals of graduating from MSU and finding meaningful employment.


Blackboard/Starfish Login Page
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