Starfish – but do not forget Star power and Star thrower.

For the past two weeks I have been reminded that I need to Starfish “no shows” which is “slick and quick,” and I just finished the second installment of Starfish regarding progress surveys which is “handy and dandy.”

Then I had a revelation: Starfish has 5 appendages, arms, or? And I have two hands which have 5 fingers (4 fingers and a thumb) which are my two portable “Star Power” and “Star Thrower.” There is a philosophical principle, namely, we often overlook the obvious. With a pen in my “starfish hands,” I daily write numerous comments on papers that I collect from my students – “Star Power” – along with comments on word documents from my students – “Star Thrower.”

I interviewed slightly over 100 students in my 4 in-person classes, and I asked them, “How many of you have been Starfished? For what reasons? How many of you receive written comments on your submissions? Do you read them for guidance and support? In essence, the majority of students were familiar with Starfish and being Starfished which they appreciated as a reminder of their status, performance, and progress. However, many of them thought the contacts were “formal, cold, and impersonal.” Whereas, those who received written feedback on their submissions appreciated the feedback, support, and encouragement .  In addition, they found themselves keeping those papers and reviewing the written comments from time to time which seemed to cling to the inner sanctum of their accomplishments and well-being.

Yes, Starfish is “Slick and Quick” and “Handy and Dandy,” but remember, Star Power and Star Thrower can still be “Twice as Nice.”

Roger J. Vanden Busch

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