Collaborative Digital Media Project

Co-authored by Monique Mair, Joshua Yammouni, Wei GaoLaura Maree Cantillon and Jemmy Augustian Rostandy (Group 25)

Below is our co-created ‘surveillance story’ that takes place in the form of a short 5-minute news report, presenting the varying opinions on surveillance in schools. Following the video, we discuss the collaborative process we underwent in order to produce this final product and the messages we intended to convey through our video. Enjoy!



Preparation and Brainstorming

To brainstorm and plan for our video, we used Twitter,, Google Docs and Skype to communicate suggestions and ideas. Our Twitter group chat acted as our main communication medium, allowing us to have quick, back-and-forth communication to plan our meetings, discuss topics for our video, and share updates in regard to the progress of each team member. However, Twitter lacks functions that allow us to express higher levels of creativity for online group collaborations. This is where brainstorming applications/websites like, Skype and Google Docs came into play.

We experimented with which provided an online mind mapping function where we were able to simultaneously input our ideas and proposals onto a mind map as a group, creating a fun online experience that was also productive and time-saving. Google Docs, on the other hand, does not necessarily provide a fun experience, but similar to, it is useful to brainstorm, draft ideas and collaborate as a group. It is also a great tool to organise documents online which made it easy to keep track of the progress of each group member.

Before deciding on a final idea for our script, we explored a range of ways we could present our ‘surveillance story’. Whilst in a skype call together as a group we used the different collaborative tools mentioned to brainstorm a few topics we could base our short video on. The strongest topics we had come up with were, “the differing opinions of surveillance within schools”, “how surveillance can be used against us for crime”, or “the psychology behind the paranoia of surveillance”. With these topics in mind, we began to list certain genres we could form our topics around. After discussing genres such as, Comedy/Sketch, Mockumentary, News Report and Found Footage/Horror we then discussed which topics would work with each genre.

Our final decision was to create a News Report on, “the differing opinions of surveillance within schools”. We made this decision because we all concluded that the topic would be easier for all of us to write about and form a solid opinion on due to the fact that we have all experienced surveillance within schools. The News Report genre was chosen for similar reasons, we thought that because of the limited time we had to write a script, film and edit the video, creating a News Report would be a quick and easy process because we are all familiar with the format.


The Process

The process undertaken to prepare and make our video was fairly simple and easy-going. Each group member contributed an equal amount and we managed to successfully collaborate as a team. In preparation for the shooting of our video, we utilised various online collaboration tools to brainstorm ideas and effectively work together to create a finalised video script. Our main form of communication was a Twitter group chat, which we found to be a great tool to set deadlines, allocate roles, ask questions etc.

As previously mentioned, we used, Google Docs and Skype to brainstorm and plan our content, then once we agreed on the final concept, we set up a ‘Video Script’ document on Google Drive where all group members were able to write together and contribute their individual research. Our group activities tracking document on google drive was also a great way to keep track of who had completed what.

When the video script was finalised we moved on to filming. In order to complete this group assignment effectively with all of our busy schedules, we opted to filming separate, individual clips in our own times that we could then combine later on. Once everyone’s clips were filmed, they were uploaded to our group Dropbox by the deadline we had set. From here they could be easily accessed by Monique (video editor), so she could then proceed to put them all together using iMovie to create our final product.  


Intended Meaning/Messages

In our final product, we present three different opinions on the matter of surveillance in schools.

In response to mounting security concerns in schools, many schools are choosing to expand their current camera surveillance systems or to upgrade to more technologically advanced security systems. The primary aims of surveillance systems are to enhance the safety of schools and school property and to protect students from any violence or criminal activities (Morones 2013). In today’s schools, many criminal cases have occurred, with bullying, theft, drugs, sexual assault and acts of violence on the rise (Gerler 2004).

Schools are searching for ways to increase security to provide a much needed sense of safety to their students and staff. For example, by installing security cameras at the entrance to buildings, car parks and campus ground, security can monitor people who come in and out of the school. This is an efficient way to prevent suspicious people from entering the premises. Network based video security systems allow school staff to monitor all activity going in and around schools. This enables the school to evacuate students in case of emergency situations. Surveillance camera systems at school have a significant impact to observe students and monitor unsafe behaviours, assisting in security.

While there appears to be some benefits to having surveillance in the schooling system, equally, there is considerable opposition surrounding its merit.

Taylor argues (2013, p.4) that while surveillance may provide for safer and more secure settings, many students perceive it negatively for a culmination of reasons; it undermines their privacy, contributes to a manifestation of distrust, hinders creativity and denies opportunities for social interaction. From this perspective, surveillance is seen as a mechanism for controlling the student. Accordingly, in our video we refer to the opinion of a student who argues that surveillance mechanisms, such as CCTV are exhibiting unfair control over the student. The student portrays his dissatisfaction with the school and expresses concern about how video footage of himself and other students is stored, and equally, who has access to it.

In order to present an unbiased opinion on the matter, our video also features a professional surveillance expert. This is intended to provide a comprehensive analysis on the subject that is beyond the mere opinion of two lay persons. The professional surveillance expert, provides a sociological perspective on surveillance and encourages the audience to think about it from a panopticon theory; when teachers and students know they are being watched they will generally behave appropriately.

All in all, this collaborative digital media project was an interesting and enjoyable process. We’ve learnt a lot about online collaboration and are now well equipped to use a range of tools for future projects.

We hope you enjoyed our video and thanks for watching!

Reference list:

  • Gerler, R 2004, Handbook of School Violence, The Haworth Reference Press, London.
  • Morones, A 2013, Surveillance Cameras Gain Ground in Schools, EdWeek, retrieved 26 September 2017, <>.
  • Taylor, E 2013, Surveillance Schools: Security, Discipline and Control in Contemporary Education, Palgrave Macmillan: UK.



No, unfortunately I am not referring to Marvel's X-Men character "Nightcrawler", I am actually referring to the 2014 thriller movie “Nightcrawler”. For those of you who haven’t seen the film, it is about a man named Louis Bloom who discovers a new possibility for work within the world of L.A. crime journalism as a freelance camera operator. The job involves camera men/crews filming crashes, fires, murders and other crimes around the L.A. area, to then sell their recordings off to TV News agencies to be used in the News broadcasts. The job referred to as a “Springer” or “Nightcrawer” in the film, seems to be very dangerous, demanding and competitive. In the film, Lou is scavenging and resorting to crime to survive, and once he begins his new job nightcrawling he is seen going to extreme lengths to capture the shots he needs; To stay ahead of the competition, he resorts to misleading individuals, tampering of crime scenes, handling of dead bodies, and even creating murders and crimes himself.

Whilst watching the film I noticed that it touches and draws upon a few points in relation to privacy and surveillance, and how things can be manipulated easily by the media and individuals for their own purposes and gains. Throughout the film, Luo is breaching people’s privacy to gain “the money shot”, in multiple scenes he decides to shove his camera in people’s faces and break in and trespass onto private property as he tries to interview and film certain situations. These moments can be directly compared to privacy issues in real life.

For instance, “With the growing presence and use of digital cameras and smartphones in public places, paired with the uploading and sharing of these images in different web sites; it is changing people’s perceptions and expectations about public places, behaviours, and practices. (Lasén & Gómez-Cruz 2009, pp 206)” This is especially evident within popular online videos shared to sites such as Youtube and Facebook, where people are being harassed or ‘pranked’ (as the video description outlines). Most of these situations, the ones creating these popular videos don’t seek or show any proof that they have the consent of the people they have filmed. Which to many, including the law, is a breach of privacy. But on the other hand, people may argue that because it is in a public space you should expect everything to be public, including any images or video taken of you. To put this in perspective, would you be okay with someone approaching you in public to then harass you to provoke a response? Probably not. Furthermore, would you like them posting video footage of that interaction? And if they asked for your consent would you give it to them?

Another real issue that I noticed within the film, is how Luo and the news agency edited video footage of crime scenes to withhold and skew information shown to their audience, as to draw them in for further updates and so that they can gain more television views. This provoked me to think that yes, this can very possibly happen within today’s media coverage. In fact, I can recall news agencies online and even on local television being outed for withholding or, even more common, skewing information to draw in a wider audience. This should cause us to question if news and media agencies are following ethical and moral principles when publicising news medias. (Novaria, 2014, pp 301)

Please listen to my podcast below for further discussion.



-       Lasén, A, & Gómez-Cruz, E 2009, 'Digital Photography and Picture Sharing: Redefining the Public/Private Divide', Knowledge, Technology & Policy, 22, 3, p. 205, MasterFILE Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 5 September 2017.

-       Novaria, M 2014, 'PIRACY OF ONLINE NEWS: A "MORAL RIGHTS" APPROACH TO PROTECTING A JOURNALIST S RIGHT OF ATTRIBUTION AND RIGHT OF INTEGRITY', Journal Of Art, Technology & Intellectual Property Law, 24, 2, pp. 295-338, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 6 September 2017

-      Music: Jeff Kalee - Pillow Talk - Royalty Free Vlog Music [BUY=FREE] by Fox Beat 2 is licensed under a  Creative Commons License.

Artificial Intelligence Shaping Our Surveillance


So usually when I hear “Artificial Intelligence” I immediately think about some big, scary, army of robots that are going to take over the world, a lot like Skynet and Arnold Schwarzenegger from The Terminator franchise. Or any other Sci-Fi movie that explores futuristic AI, like the films ‘Chappie’ or ‘Bicentennial Man'. As much as myself and many others may think this is cool, unfortunately it seems that there won’t be an AI program becoming self-aware any time soon. 


So what is Artificial Intelligence if it isn’t a world dominating robot? Well, Ai is basically an intelligent computer system that was built to complete tasks that would usually need the intelligence of a human to do, and often times be made to complete the tasks better than a human can.

Mary-Anne Williams, professor of social robotics at the University of Technology in Sydney explains, “An intelligent computer system could be as simple as a program that plays chess or as complex as a driverless car”.

AI, these days, are involved in most people’s day to day life. In fact, you probably already use AI, like the Google and Apple assistants, or any map/navigation app found on most smart phones. AI systems can detect and perceive verbal and written language, helping us through search results, to sort our emails or even recommend what you should buy or watch next. 

These intelligent computer systems have already been implemented in a lot of our cities and online technologies to help in public safety, surveillance and security. It is predicted that by 2030, the typical modern city will be relying heavily on AI systems in these fields. Today we already see AI benefiting things like cybersecurity, detecting crimes such as credit card and identity fraud and even CCTV, where an AI algorithm will monitor surveillance systems, searching for anomalies in shapes and movements, then alarming us of crimes and disturbances that may be happening. Applications such as this have already started turning CCTV into more of a crime prevention tool rather than just a tool we use to help solve them. 


Unfortunately, there are downsides to the uses of AI within surveillance and security. It is possible for these systems to be used by companies and governments for greater mass surveillance, creating further privacy issues not only online but in the real world. Even malicious groups can easily use AI to surveil the mass to collect data for their malicious purposes.

Either way, I do welcome Artificial Intelligence into our surveillance and security systems and even within other fields, as I believe AI can certainly be used to help create a much more efficient and safer world. But we’ll have to be cautious, as even Elon Musk and Stephan Hawking believe AI will surpass humanity, comparing it to ‘summoning the demon’.



-       ETZIONI, A, & ETZIONI, O 2017, 'Should Artificial Intelligence Be Regulated?', Issues In Science & Technology, 33, 4, pp. 32-36, Applied Science & Technology Source, viewed 5, 6, 8 August 2017, (Scholarly)

-       STONE, P, & BROOKS, R, & BRYNJOLFSSON, E, & CALO, R, & PARKES, D 2016, ‘ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND LIFE IN 2030’, One hundred year study on artificial intelligence, pp. 36-40, Stanford, viewed 5, 6, 8 August 2017, (Scholarly)

-       DR. MAHESH SAPTHARISHI, AVIGILON, 2014, ‘The New Eyes of Surveillance: Artificial Intelligence and Humanizing Technology’, Wired, retrieved: 6 August 2017,

-       O’NEILL, M 2017, ‘Explainer: What is artificial intelligence?’, ABC News, retrieved: 8 August 2017,