RMIT has established a partnership with the State University of New York (SUNY) to develop online collaborations.
Dr Lisa Dethridge, lecturer in the Masters of Media program at RMIT and Professor Damian Schofield, Director of Human Computer Interaction from State University of New York (SUNY) initiated the partnership in 2013.
Masters of Media and Literature students from RMIT and Robotics and Computer science students from SUNY first used teleconferencing tools to synch up across 16664km and a 14 hour time difference. They discussed themes in Transhumanism - the complex relationship between humans, robots, technology, “real“ science and science fiction. .
All students enjoyed online discussion of the various technical and ethical issues raised by robots and Artificial Intelligence. The challenge was to depict these in a short film using real programmable humanoid robots.
The global team’s first project was the scripting and production of three short science-fiction movies using programmable NAO robots as central characters. The second project was a documentary about the global collaboration process.
The hothouse effect of online collaboration allowed groups to work together over time to develop an organized framework for their research, storytelling and production ideas.
During the face-to-face visit to RMIT by SUNY staff and students, three scripts were developed. The American students specialized in interaction design, robotics, cognitive and computer science and acted as consultants to the Australian screenwriting team.
The Australians acted as media specialists and advised on the issues related to mythology, comedy and science fiction film-making.
According to RMIT’s Lisa Dethridge, a lecturer in the Masters of Media, “the students created a cool sci-fi media project using a variety of simple and complex tools with a global approach to collaborative production.
“In line with our State Uni of New York partnership, we used low-cost conferencing technology to provide global reach for a diverse, multidisciplinary student population.“
The Media and Communication will host another visit from SUNY students in May 2015. They will collaborate with Masters of Media students on scripts and movies in documentary and fiction genres..