Please note that this program is now closed and is not accepting additional students. You may be interested in this other program:

Program Overview

This summer program for high school students offers a highly visual, non-mathematical introduction to computing and computer programming. Our vehicle is the Alice development environment, which allows students without prior experience to rapidly create 3D virtual worlds like those seen in video games. Alice programmers choose environments, populate them with features, creatures, and sounds, and animate these elements in simulated three-dimensional space to tell stories, play games, give interactive instructions, etc. Students become the masters of domains of their own creation.

Students work in small teams creating virtual worlds for assignments and learn the principles of computer programming in the process. They will see the results of their efforts immediately. We aim to improve students’ skills in exact thinking, analysis/design, and problem-solving, while providing an enjoyable path to more formal study of computing and programming.

  I liked that I was able to learn more about game design and animation on a college campus and get the experience of college life.  -Computer Animation and Game Design Summer College student, 2018.

Program Objectives

  • Learn Elementary Universal Computing Concepts
  • Learn Animation Basics using the Alice/3D development environment
  • Learn Fundamental Concepts of Programming Languages:
    • Variables/Types/Expressions/Functions
    • Conditional Execution
    • Iteration (Looping) Constructs
    • Methods
    • Events and User Interfaces
    • Structured Data
    • Recursion
  • Learn Object-Oriented Programming Concepts, in general

Learn more about Computer Animation and Game Design:

Program Dates & Details Eligibility Requirements Program Cost Program Requirements Typical Day Faculty Bios

Program Dates & Details

Session Dates

Session III: July 27 –August 9, 2019
Duration: 2-weeks


Credit: Noncredit

Grading System: Pass/Fail

Eligibility Requirements

Students must be a minimum of 15 years of age by the orientation and move-in date. For full Summer College admission requirements, view the Admissions Overview and Eligibility page. 

No previous programming experience is required. Summer College students should be juniors and seniors, who have passed Algebra I and Geometry with understanding, and whose reading comprehension is sufficient to negotiate a textbook used in colleges and high schools.

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Program Cost

Program Costs:

  • Residential: $3,360*
  • Commuter: $2,566*

*Please visit our Program Costs page for more detailed information. Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees in March.

Program Requirements

Required Materials

Students will be required to bring their laptop to class every day. Specific details regarding the laptop are available here. The minimum hardware recommendations are as followed:

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB or more is strongly recommended, but not strictly required)
  • Graphics card capable of high (32 bit) color and at least 1024×768 resolution (a 3D video card gives faster performance, but is not required)

The laptop must be powerful enough to run Alice IDE; bare minimum requirements can be viewed here.

Additionally, students should budget for the purchase of required course textbooks.

Student Expectations

  • 100% attendance
  • 0% lateness
  • No web-surfing, social media use or other distractions while in class
  • Assignments (reading and programming) completed by the start of the following class session
  • Attendance at office hours at the first sign of difficulties, or
  • Use of the class’s online Q&A facility if difficulties are encountered outside of office hours

This is an academically rigorous, college-level program. Students are expected to complete nightly homework assignments and actively participate in group projects. Students are expected to attend all classes every day, arrive on time, and meet all academic obligations. Free time will vary as each program is unique, as is the subsequent workload.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

This intensive course runs for two weeks, from 9:00am – 1:00pm, Monday – Friday.

The first day is spent on installation and check-out of the required (free) software on students’ laptops, and on covering basic computing and programming concepts.

Each succeeding day typically begins with a review of previous coverage and proceeds with coverage of new topics, based on the reading assignment given the day before. Coverage includes demonstrations of the new concepts and play-alongs allowing students to practice new techniques before having to apply them in daily homework assignments. Students must bring their laptops to class in order to participate in play-alongs.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College trips and activities. Check out our Campus Activities page for more information!

Final Academic Obligation

Students are permitted to leave on Friday, August 9, 2019 upon the completion of their course at 1:00pm. If students have any questions regarding their final academic obligation, we encourage them to reach out to their instructor. Please refer to the Move-Out page for important information regarding the checkout process.

Faculty Bios

Dr. Robert J. Irwin

Dr. Irwin is a recently retired SU Faculty member from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University. He has served as Assistant Professor of Computer Science at SUNY Oswego, was visiting faculty at Hamilton College, and has also taught at Le Moyne College and Pace University. Prior to returning to academic life, Robert was a research engineer at TextWise, LLC., natural language processing specialists in Syracuse and the Director of Software Engineering for Applied Intelligence Systems, Inc., an AI development firm in New York City. He was also a member of the research staff at Riverside Research Institute and a project manager at Merrill Lynch in New York City. His chief research interests lie in theoretical computer science, and he has published in the areas of generalized dynamical systems, high-order theory of computation and complexity, and artificial intelligence.