Co-authored by Rachel Camm, Boris Musić, Caitlin Hynes & Hannah Tiziani
It’s hard to heed the warnings about the struggles of collaboration and communication with fellow students who are complete strangers. Instead it’s the potential for great innovative ideas that always seems to trump the possibility for white noise and unresponsive members. In the case of our group and communication efforts, the possibility of radio silence was extinguished within the first week of contact. Although slow to begin, the recognition of how important our collaboration and communication is ensured that our first group discussion on Google Hangout was arranged and carried out with equal patience and positivity. It is this patience and positivity that shone through throughout our collaborative process, as four distinctly different individuals sought to create something creative, each with a different skill to contribute. The most relied upon sounding board for on online meetings and to provide feedback and encouragement was Facebook. Being a social media platform that provides immediacy and flexibility for four individuals with distinctly contrasting schedules, interests and professions, Facebook provided a safe common ground for the entire group.
To successfully produce, refine and agree on our creative ideas and the creation of the Youtube video, these digital communication platforms were used: Google Hangout, Skype, Google Drive, Dropbox, Facebook and Google Docs. Naturally these group discussions varied in the number of members available, yet due to the different experiences, knowledge and social strengths, there was no chance for conflict or exclusion. This encouraging environment brought about by each team member created a resounding positive environment, fostering supportive communication and equal contribution.
The idea of doing a group assignment can be worrisome at the best of times, let alone when part of the assignment is to communicate online. These assignments are designed to build and advance our skills in communication and our ability to work with others. The possibility of hands-on such a creative and hands on project with a group of individuals who all lead busy lives can be daunting however with positivity and support we have been able to collaborate well. This was demonstrated through our creative process where ideas were discussed with the support and encouragement of others. During our group discussions there was a high importance put on the creation of the video and an emphasis on the tone and the feel of the assignment. This was done so we were all moving towards the same goal with sharing of scripts and ideas to ensure that the film flowed seamlessly.
The division of tasks proved to be a highlight of us as a group by working positively together to identifying members skills and assigning areas accordingly. Through the positive and supportive environment we created we enabled all group members to feel comfortable asking questions and clarify issues to ensure the best result for the team. This was only possible because the constant support provided through Facebook that allowed you to ask a question while we were filming to ensure there were no mistakes of information that could affect the assignment in the future. By all members being invested and supportive of the group we were able to collaborate to the best of our abilities.
Due to our excellent communication and collaboration, producing the video was quite a smooth and easy process. During our collaboration process, we were able to clearly decide on the direction we wanted to take with our video, making video production an enjoyable and time-effective experience.
We were able to establish each of our strengths early on and delegated roles according to these strengths. Each individual was able to bring something different to the group and work encouragingly with all other members. This ensured we were adequately prepared to begin filming and editing the video together.
iMovie was decided on early as the preferred video editing software due to its user-friendly nature and wide availability. Each group member in charge of filming was able to use the equipment that they had access to in a creative manner, within the time frame decided upon.
Our excellent collaboration allowed us to send and receive the different parts of the video through the use of Google Drive. From there, the footage was collected and imported into iMovie so the editing process could begin. Due to our clear communication and understanding of each other’s ideas, piecing together the various parts of the video was a problem free process. Each group member’s willingness to participate and put maximum effort into the assignment allowed us to develop the best final video that we could produce.
The video was exported and uploaded on YouTube, allowing each group member to easily view the video and constructively comment on it.
In the process of planning the basis for our video, we collectively decided to stray away from the common media trope of depicting surveillance from a dystopian viewpoint. Instead, we chose to assume a neutral stance which emphasized both the positive and negative aspects of surveillance. In order to do this, we chose to present our ideas in the form of a news story. We decided to split our video into two different stories, each conveying a different message. The first story adopts a more dystopian stance, as it addresses the matter of privacy and celebrity culture in relation to surveillance. It depicts the story of a celebrity couple whose lives have been drastically changed as a result of surveillance technologies compromising their privacy. The message conveyed is that behind the celebrity status, they are normal people just like us. The intention behind the story is to prompt viewers to put themselves in their shoes and to imagine what it must be like to have every aspect of your private life constantly under public scrutiny and surveillance. It emphasizes our fascination into their private affairs and how this apparent interest has driven the force for them to be surveilled in such a way.
Conversely, the second story conveys a more feel-good utopian message, as it highlights the positive aspects of surveillance. The story specifically relates to Augmented Reality games and their utilization of location tracking technology. In the context of the story, the family was able to reunite with their lost child thanks to the tracking function of a game he’d been playing. We felt as if this would be particularly relevant to current events given the recent hype surrounding ‘Pokémon Go’ and its many negative criticisms. The overall aim of the video was to demonstrate that just because these tracking technologies have the potential to be abused, does not mean they lack the potential for good.