Charity Bike Ride Serves as Vehicle for Interactive Learning Program

RIT multidisciplinary student team hones skills outside classroom




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A student team from Rochester Institute of Technology brought their own talents, experience and knowledge together in a unique out-of-classroom learning experience. Imaging science, engineering and computer science students united to provide communications networking and support for the Upstate New York MS150 Charity Bike Run, a bike ride to raise money for multiple sclerosis research, held last month.

The team developed and operated a command post/network operations center for the two-day ride, which included multiple routes between Buffalo and Rochester. The team provided the communications for two 100-mile courses and four separate shorter courses. Among the tasks associated with the project, students configured GPS tracking equipment and radio communications gear. The hardware provided interface with computers over wireless networks to properly track and connect racers on the course with officials and medical personnel.

The interactive project included eight students and faculty advisor James Stefano, systems administrator for RIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering.

“Working in a real-life situation with inevitable failures in equipment and technical problems enforced the need for teamwork and cooperation in the out-of-class learning experience,” Stefano notes. “They capably used team technology to track and locate riders to connect with emergency medical personnel as needed.”

The program is part of an interactive learning grant funds program sponsored by RIT’s Student Affairs Division. Participating students were Jack Breese, Justin Morse, Tim Guyot, Jameson Finney, Lee Burton, Dave Snyder, Patrick Montalbano, and Christian Rahl.