Academic Section

Academic bodies of universities are hierarchically structured. A university contains faculties which again host departments. The latter offer courses (course units) and study programmes (courses of study). A course is a series of classes or lessons on a particular subject. This can be a lecture, tutorial, seminar, practical work offered by a lecturer of the department over a period of an academic term. A course can also be only an exam at the end of an academic term. A study programme is defined by a set of course units to be taken at various programme levels and by an academic degree certificate, which is issued at the end of the programme. Information about universities, their study programmes, lecturers and courses can be found in the university prospectus.

Kofa’s academic section takes on the task of the university prospectus. It is build to disseminate information about faculties, departments, courses, study programmes and the sets of courses to be taken. The academic section reflects exactly the universities’ hierarchical structure as described above. Technically speaking, the academic section is a container of type FacultiesContainer with id academics which contains faculty subcontainers. They again contain department subobjects and so on. This leads to a treelike storage of objects:

Academic Section (FacultiesContainer)
+---> Faculty
      +---> Department
            +---> CoursesContainer
            |     |
            |     +---------------------> Course
            |                             ^
            +---> CertificatesContainer   |
                  |                       |
                  +-----> Certificate     |
                          |               |
                          +-----> CertificateCourse


Faculties are container objects of type Faculty. They have a code, a title a title_prefix and two officer name attributes: officer_1 and officer_2. Officer names are not made use of in the base package. They can be used in custom packages to ‘sign’ pdf slips and reports. Usually, officer_1 is reserved for the Dean of Faculty. Furthermore, faculties and departments have a longtitle property which composes and returns the full title as it appears in tables, in breadcrumbs and in many other places:

longtitle = title_prefix + title (code)

The following local roles can be assigned at faculty tree level:

Faculty.local_roles = ['waeup.local.DepartmentOfficer', 'waeup.local.DepartmentManager', 'waeup.local.ClearanceOfficer', 'waeup.local.UGClearanceOfficer', 'waeup.local.PGClearanceOfficer', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser100', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser200', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser300', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser400', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser500', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser600', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser700', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser800', 'waeup.local.LocalStudentsManager', 'waeup.local.LocalWorkflowManager', 'waeup.local.TranscriptOfficer', 'waeup.local.TranscriptSignee']


Additionally, each department object has the attributes certificates and courses. These attributes again are containers which hold certificate and course objects respectively. A traverse method leads the user to believe that certificates and courses are the ids of objects stored inside a department container. De facto they are not. However, it doesn’t matter if we store a subobject ‘in’ or ‘at’ a parent object. The result is exactly the same: a hierarchical, treelike storage of objects (see also diagram above).

Department objects have four officer name attributes. Needless to say, officer_1 should contain the name of the Head of Department. The title of the name fields can be localized in custom packages.

The following local roles can be assigned at department tree level:

Department.local_roles = ['waeup.local.ApplicationsManager', 'waeup.local.DepartmentOfficer', 'waeup.local.DepartmentManager', 'waeup.local.ClearanceOfficer', 'waeup.local.UGClearanceOfficer', 'waeup.local.PGClearanceOfficer', 'waeup.local.ReportsOfficer', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser100', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser200', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser300', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser400', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser500', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser600', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser700', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser800', 'waeup.local.LocalStudentsManager', 'waeup.local.Lecturer']


The Course class inherits from grok.Model which means it is designed as a pure model and not a container. Courses are tips of the database tree branches. Course objects contain information as they are offered by the department. In the base package these are: code, title, credits, passmark, semester and the boolean attribute former_course. Like all objects in the academic section, they also have a longtitle property. A former course is an archived course which had been offered in the past and is no longer part of any curriculum.


Only the manager of the department, which offers the course, decides how many credits can be earned, which pass mark must be achieved and in which semester the course can be taken. The manager cannot decide whether a course is mandatory or not, or at which study level the course has to be taken when studying a certain programme. This information is stored in CertificateCourse objects, see below. Therefore it does not make sense to speak e.g. of a 300 level course. Also course codes like AEE311, which tell the student that the course is primarily intended for 300 level students, is somehow misleading. There might be other study programmes which recommend to take this course earlier or later.

The following local roles can be assigned at course tree level:

Course.local_roles = ['waeup.local.Lecturer']


In Kofa, the terms ‘certificate’ and ‘study programme’ are used synonymously. A certificate object holds information about the study programme. Important data for further processing in Kofa are: the various school fees to be paid at certain levels, programme start and end level, the study mode and, last but not least, the application category to which the programme belongs.

Certificates are containers which contain CertificateCourse objects. That means a certificate defines the curriculum, i.e. the list of course units which have to or can be taken within the programme.

The following local roles can be assigned at certificate tree level:

Certificate.local_roles = ['waeup.local.CourseAdviser100', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser200', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser300', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser400', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser500', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser600', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser700', 'waeup.local.CourseAdviser800', 'waeup.local.DepartmentOfficer', 'waeup.local.ClearanceOfficer']


Do not remove certificates without backing up the student data of this department. If a certificate or even one of its parent containers is removed, students studying this programme are ‘homeless’ and need to be re-allocated to another study programme.

Certificate Course

CertificateCourse objects point to Course objects which means they have a course attribute which is one of the course objects stored in the portal. If the course is removed, an event handler takes care of deleting also all referring certificate courses. The same happens if a course is beeing marked as former course (see above). A former course cannot be part of a curriculum.

Certificate courses have three more attributes: level (integer), mandatory (boolean) and course_category (choice). Simply put, certificate courses carry the information at which level a certain course can or has to be taken to meet the current curriculum. Course categories are not available in the base package but can easily be defined in custom packages. Some universities distinguish e.g. core, required and elective courses and need this information in reports.

No local role can be assigned at certificate course tree level.

Browser Pages

In the user handbook we do not describe how to browse the academic section. The menu navigation is self-explanatory and it’s quite easy to follow the menu prompts. However, in the beginning of the development of Kofa, we used extensive doc tests which describe the navigation very well. Thus navigating through the academic section and other parts of Kofa with a test browser is perfectly described in pages.txt.