|The NSE Communication Lab is a departmental resource launched in 2014 to help strengthen the written, visual, and oral communication skills of NSE undergraduate and graduate students. It relies on a 1-on-1 peer coaching model originally piloted in the Department of Biological Engineering (BE), and was adapted to meet the specific needs, conventions, and academic rhythm of the NSE community. Prof. Scott Kemp has served as the NSE Comm Lab’s faculty advisor since the program started.
Because the Comm Lab is embedded within the community that it serves, it is able to quickly adjust its practices, organically collaborate with faculty, and innovate locally. In addition, the Communication Fellows are NSE students themselves who have taken many of the same classes as their clients, and are able to engage with their peers on an authentic level. “Fellows can identify with my own experiences,” one student wrote, “and help me express them for writing assignments in a way only other NSE members can.”
Although coaching is the Comm Lab’s main mode of service, the Fellows also offer workshops, create online communication resources, and constantly try to find ways to better support the NSE community. They approach the latter by listening to, and learning from, those they aim to empower.
– Zach Hartwig, Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering
You can read more about us here:
- Our educational model
- Comm Lab statistics
- Other Comm Labs at MIT
- Scholarly publications describing both our organizational model and the educational impact of our work:
- Paper describing the Communication Lab model. Hanson et al., “Technical Communication Instruction for Graduate Students: The Communication Lab vs. a Course,” 2017, Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education
- Paper describing the adaptation of the model beyond MIT. Summers et al., “Experiments in the Communication Lab: Adaptations of the Comm Lab Model in Three Institutions,” 2019, Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education
- Paper about the quantitative impact of Comm Lab coaching. Volpatti et al., “Quantitative Assessment of Students’ Revision Processes,” 2020, Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education