Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885. Sound Design and Audio Production & Technology programs prepare students for their careers as audio content creators in any context.
Professor Christopher Plummer runs the sound programs at Michigan Tech. He sees the purpose of his work in the success of his students — when they walk into high-level jobs right after graduation. His students have been on tour with Taylor Swift, Madonna, and Lady Gaga. Some of them do award-winning sound designs for video games and work in the National Archives, the Smithsonian, installing Iron Man.
Prof. Christopher Plummer’s classes go way beyond music and sound coursework. His vision is to build a culture where students create mixes, support one another, and learn from each other’s creativity. He only lacked the means to enable such creativity and collaboration. Having looked at other tools, Prof. Plummer ultimately decided on Pibox.
Challenges and Goals
Previously, Michigan Tech had its own gigabit network with shared drive space. Students would turn in their mixes in a folder there. Then the professors typed up comments and added timestamps separately. Because they had to be looking through so much student work, the feedback might not be that detailed. Quite often, the teachers had to review the work and schedule follow-up one-on-one meetings with students. When the number of enrollments increased, professor Plummer realized the process wasn’t feasible anymore.
Prof.Plummer started looking for tools to enable detailed timeline commenting and discovered Pibox.
After switching to Pibox, Christopher can focus on his work and his students’ work without any distractions.
Five-six hours saved on system setup
With Pibox, Michigan Tech made vital improvements to its educational process. First of all, when onboarding new students, Christopher doesn’t have to write step-by-step instructions on how to use different tools, and where each student needs to go to start working.
Pibox saves Christopher up to five-six hours per semester since the system is set up exactly the way he needs.
A simple tool enabling creativity
Now the entire class is in a single Pibox project, and everyone posts their work there. Students go through their classmates’ mixes and comment on them. Often, that process of listening to other people’s work, seeing other people’s approaches brings out the best ideas and encourages students to strive for more.
Effortless remote collaboration
Pibox also levels up remote collaboration with professional actors for Michigan Tech. Since the university is located in a remote part of the United States, the artistic community in the area is small. So Michigan Tech is hiring outside professionals to work with students on directing and producing radio dramas. Thanks to Pibox, it’s easy for the actors to listen to the student’s mixes to see how their performance is fitting in with the sound effects, and then create another version of their performance if needed.