SPeCTRUM V3 – Handling parallel courses with group settings

There might be small number of cases where a course with a single code being taught in parallel by different departments of different educators. The necessity for this type of courses may be due to a different language of instruction or different academic departments teaching their own set of students.

The SPeCTRUM LMS is equipped to handle this situation when and where it arises.

Overview of differentiated groups in parallel courses

Courses should be set-up with ‘Flexible sections format’ in the Course format and ‘Separate groups’ selected in the group mode, as shown in the following video.


From there, groups can be created and assigned to specific section within the shared SPeCTRUM page.
Students who belonged to a specific group/section will only be to access resources and activities within their section only. Other sections will be unavailable to them as shown in the following screenshot.

The students who belonged to ‘Jabatan A’ will only have access to the ‘Sumber Umum’ and ‘Jabatan A’ Section and all resources and activities there.

Separating course materials

When the Flexible section course format is used, educators can add subsections like they normally have done in the old platform. What’s better, the Section could be collapsed so that what the students sees within the platform is just the educators resources and activities only.
The video below shows the collapsed section in action.


The important thing is, once a Section is locked to a specific group, only members of that group will have access to it.


SPeCTRUM v3 – creating and managing groups

An important feature of the new system is the Program Based Structure by which for each course code, only a single course instance will be created. This is a departure from the old system where each academic gets a course even for team teaching.

The university have concluded that the Program Based Structure is more in-keeping with the Outcome Based Education and the Student Centered principles that serves as the base for UM’s pedagogical approach. All other internal process have adhered to this for example the use of a single pro-forma and a single exam question set for each course. It is high time that the learning management system reflects the greater university approach.

However, for courses that will still need differentiation for valid reasons, one way that could be managed is by using the groups and groupings feature in SPeCTRUM.

What are groups and groupings?

Groups: As the name suggest, you can group students within your class for them to work on a learning task in several groups.

Grouping: A grouping is a collection of groups within a course. Using groupings allows you to direct tasks at one or more groups in your course, so that they can work together on the tasks.[1]

Grouping example

  • You teach students in a course called ‘The Art of Language’.
  • Your students are divided into four groups, Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing, and for much of the course they work in these groups.
  • You wish the students to work on a project, exploring passive and active language. You create a grouping Passive Language and assign the Listening and Reading groups to this grouping. You create a grouping Active Language and assign the Speaking and Writing groups to this grouping.
  • Using the Restrict access feature you set certain tasks only for the Passive Language grouping and other tasks only for the Active Language grouping.
    Now the groups can work together, within their grouping, on their respective focus areas.
  • At the end of the project you can bring the groups together in an activity for all participants to share their learning.

For some courses, especially large ones like the university courses, groups have been pre-set by the coordinating PTj using the ISIS system.


  1. https://docs.moodle.org/35/en/Groupings

Creating groups in SPeCTRUM

Please watch the video below to learn how to create groups for you class.

Groupings can be created together with the groups to allow for differentiated grouping when assigning several coursework. Watch the following video.

Working with groups to create group submission

After the groups have been created, you can use the ‘Students submit in groups’ for group submission inside the assignments module or any activities that allows group submission. This function is particularly useful because from one submission, you may mark all the group members together. Watch the video below to look at the settings.

Allocating access to specific groups

Resources can be made to appear or accessible only for specific groups. This function allows for differentiated facilitation within a course for special group of learner, or simply to break up tutorial resources for students with different instructors. Watch the video below.

Spectrum v3 update

As the campus community should have realised by now, we have introduced an updated SPeCTRUM platform this semester. This new platform is running alongside the older version which will cease operating in the coming semester.

New spectrum

For this semester, lecturers are encouraged to migrate to v3 (which we will simply call SPeCTRUM next semester) and use the new features available in the platform to enrich student’s blended learning experience.

The upgrade allows for better navigation on mobile devices (it called Responsive Web Design) as well as security and features update.

New features

We are introducing H5P that will be an addition to the assessment category. There are a selection of assessment activities that you could use formatively or summatively e.g. memory game, image pairing, drag and drop etc. There are currently 36 activities available in the H5P library! Do take the time to explore them and please tell us which do you like the most. Further information on H5P capabilities and features can be seen in h5p.org.

Instead of taking attendance manually on a sheet of paper, you can now save the environment by using the QR code attendance feature. Get the students to scan the codes using the UM Mobile app and use the scan feature to automatically mark their attendance. No more fake signatures after this.

The selection of course formats are expanded with the flexible section format, that allows the creation of subsections within the main section on the frontpage. Do try out this format to see whether it’ll help with better organisation of your course contents and activities.

Migration procedures

Migrating your course can’t be easier. First you need to login to the new platform using the CAS system similar to the old SPeCTRUM. Refer video below.

You should find that you have access to your current semester courses, along with the students that have registered for the course. We are giving you a blank slate to start from, but you still have the option to backup and restore courses from the old platform into the new one. The video below will show you how.

If you decide to migrate now, make sure that your students use the same SPeCTRUM v3 to access their learning contents. For this semester, the URL is https://spectrumv3.um.edu.my/

We will continue with more resources for you to successfully get on with the new SPeCTRUM before the mandatory switch next February.

Hello to ADeC’s blog page.


Welcome to the first page of ADeC’s blog. Here’s hoping for more postings in the near future on the activities of ADeC and the running of a small yet very influential centre in University of Malaya.

“Who lives sees, but who travels sees more.” ― Ibn Battuta

On a good starting note, we are happy to inform all campus community that we have made the move back into the thick of the action in UM campus. With this shift, the passionate educators of UM no longer have to fret about having no parking spaces when going for training at ADeC.

Our new office is situated at level 2 HIR building, above Bank Islam UM Branch. There is ample parking space next to the building as this was the old exam hall. Do pop in for a visit sometimes.

Our new office was conceptually designed as an open plan collaborative space by our own staff who has been involved in the design of UM’s new learning spaces. So when you come to our office, you can experience features of learning space look and feel incorporated in the office design. We still have our ILR room that we also brought over from Wisma R&D. Its a bit of rough and ready so far as we have not yet finished unpacking.

ADeC’s office can be contacted by this new number: 03-7967 7022. ext 2056

Our training programmes are now back at full swing. In the mean time do come and visit us!


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