Customer Stories

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High-flying university succeeds with online assessments

A success story of a Mexican UNAQ university and Testportal-based remote tests

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Universidad Aeronáutica en Querétaro - also known as UNAQ – is not an ordinary university. While typical higher education institutions offer various faculties such as medicine, law or administration, all of UNAQ’s programs concentrate on aeronautical and space industries. This unique public university is located in Queretaro De Arteaga, Mexico.

UNAQ university passenger aircraft for student training.

One of UNAQ university aircraft available to the students

Flying high towards hybrid learning

 Just as everywhere else in the world, the pandemic has forced some changes. The main problem was obviously if students were honest during the exams prepared by the academic teachers.

Faculties at UNAQ were designed for the aerospace and aeronautical industries. That means the biggest companies in that sector are constantly recruiting fresh graduates who studied in the heart of Mexico. Each year, hundreds of people apply for UNAQ from all over the country. But there is more.

 The university has people coming from Ecuador, Colombia, and Argentina. People come from the United States and even African countries. It also has agreements with the Mexican Air Force, so they regularly send their students to study specific programs.

We use Microsoft suite, and we used to use Microsoft Forms. Forms, however, have certain limitations, so we wanted a platform to meet our current needs. We were looking for a way to conduct exams remotely. I started to look for options online, and I went for several free software. Among these options, there was also Testportal.

Felipe Augusto López Garduza

Director of the Engineering Department

Bird's eye view of the UNAQ university campus.

Bird's eye view of the UNAQ campus

Why Testportal?

Extraordinary times call for appropriate measures. When face-to-face education was no longer viable for health reasons, higher education had to transition to online teaching and remote knowledge assessments. Fortunately, there was a platform ready to address all Covid-related problems.

I really liked Testportal, because it was very intuitive. It was so easy to assign a test in Microsoft Teams. This was a huge advantage for our team. We discussed the tool as a department, and eventually, our authorities agreed to go for Testportal. This is how it started. We have a lot of people applying for a small university. Before the pandemic, we noticed that it was hard for them to travel to Queretaro to take the admission test. That is why we created a preparation program that ends with an online admission test on Testportal. Now, candidates can stay in another country, far away, take the program, and then take the test. In 2021 we did that for the first time, and the improvement on what we had had before was amazing.

Felipe Augusto López Garduza

Director of the Engineering Department

Universidad Aeronáutica en Querétaro is a rather small university, with 1200 students total. However, each year over 600 people apply for engineering faculties only. This is why admissions play a significant role.

UNAQ university aircraft engine

UNAQ facilities feature modern exhibits, including large jet engines

 Creating professionals from scratch

Before graduates start their careers at Airbus, Bombardier, General Electric, Continental or Harman, they spend many hours learning science and technology, but a practical approach is equally important. UNAQ is located in close proximity to the airport, capable of accommodating even the largest aircraft in the world. This is where students are able to learn and work on all of university's large aircraft fleet.

Currently we have 13 aircraft at the university. All for educational purposes, so students can even disassemble and assemble the parts.

Felipe Augusto López Garduza

Director of the Engineering Department

Apart from regular exams conducted with Testportal, UNAQ is also authorized to run the license test required by the Federal Civil Aviation Agency in Mexico. It is responsible for conducting the tests and reporting the results to Mexican authorities.

 In addition to sharing knowledge with students, the university often sells its courses to companies. It's hard to get better proof of quality of what they do.

UNAQ university F-86 Shooting Star fighter plane.

In addition to its civilian planes, UNAQ also has a collection of military aircraft

The original approach and the transition 

The university moves with the times. At UNAQ, no one is afraid of change, because it is the driving force of development. 50 people from UNAQ use Testportal in their daily work, and they want this number to grow as the transition from standard to hybrid learning is definitely there to stay. In the beginning, we the university had some doubts – was this going to work or not? They were uneasy about remote tests' unreliability, but with the right platform, it turned out to be just so simple. With Testportal in Microsoft Teams, UNAQ has a certain level of control over the students' progress, and all teachers feel better about it.

When sharing the test via MS Teams, UNAQ academics usually ask students to turn on their cameras. Everyone quickly got used to the novelty, and now, almost all evaluations are done this way. The method also is used regularly in groups of 7-8 candidates when it comes to admission tests.

One thing that has not changed and will never change is our commitment. We always create questions so that we can really assess what the students have learned. Thanks to Testportal, we are sure of their knowledge.

Felipe Augusto López Garduza

Director of the Engineering Department

What comes next for UNAQ and Testportal? It looks like months of hard work that will allow hundreds of people to change their lives and make their career dreams come true.

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