Kirkwood students begin using virtual combine to study agricultu - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Kirkwood students begin using virtual combine to study agriculture

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

Most college students spend their class time reading text books or taking notes.

But Kirkwood College students like Rita Urmi drive virtual combines instead.

"It's almost identical to a real combine," Urmi said as she drove the virtual combine.

Urmi is an Ag Geospatial student at Kirkwood.

When the combine simulator arrived on campus a few weeks ago, she and other students were eager to give it a go.

"I enjoy driving the actual combine, and this is really fun," she said.

Urmi has real combine experience, but many students in her field don't - making the simulator the ideal practice tool.

"It really gives them an opportunity to be not nervous about wrecking a machine that can cost 3 to 4 hundred thousand dollars," said James Jordan, an ag geospatial instructor at Kirkwood.

But the simulator perfectly mimics the inside of a real combine.

And the students showed me how it works.

After you set the simulator into high gear, you just engage the throttle to start moving, and you're harvesting corn.

Urmi and her classmates are still learning how to use the simulator.

But she's excited to perfect her skills and help other students do the same in the coming semester.

"It's gonna help kids that have never driven a combine before a lot, because they have no experience," Urmi said.

Kirkwood is the first two year college in the country to use the simulator.

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