Course Overview

You’re great at using your smartphone, but what about your computer? Do you try to be organized but your laptop is just a big, hot mess? Do you struggle with how to write an appropriate and professional email?

Knowledge of computer fundamentals and effective online correspondence are necessities in our increasingly digital world. Proficiency in these areas empowers students with the critical skills needed for their education and future careers. Gaining confidence in computer fundamentals will remove technical barriers and allow students to more readily focus on the content they’re studying. Knowing how and when to craft an appropriate and professional email helps students build reciprocally respectful relationships with professors and prepares them for engaging with potential employers.

By the end of this interactive, in-person course, students will learn how a computer works, digital organization and navigation, the meaning and use of cloud computing, how to back up their work effectively, and gain an understanding of tone and audience to confidently communicate in the digital realm.

All students who successfully complete the course will receive a Certificate of Completion and have the opportunity to request a Syracuse University noncredit transcript.

Learning Objectives

After taking this course, the students will be able to:

  • Understand the functionality and fundamentals of a computer landscape and operating system, including critical differences between a Mac and PC.
  • Create, organize, navigate, find, and save files and folders efficiently and effectively.
  • Understand cloud computing options and advantages.
  • Save and back up files to work seamlessly from any location or device.
  • Build a technical vocabulary and gain an understanding of computer terminology.
  • Confidently craft a professional email using proper etiquette and tone.

Course Information

Course Prefix and Number: SCN 166

Format: On Campus (at Syracuse University)

Eligibility: Students must be of rising high school sophomore, junior, or senior status – or a 2024 high school graduate.

Students should possess strong English skills and have general familiarity working with a computer. 

Credit: Noncredit

Grading: Pass/Fail


  • Residential: $2,195
  • Commuter: $1,726

Program rates are subject to change and will be approved by the board of trustees. Discounts and scholarships are also available.

Program Information

Summer College – On Campus: Experience what college is really like: take a college-level course, live in a residence hall, have meals with friends in a dining hall, and participate in activities and events on campus.

Course Dates and Details

ProgramCourse Dates Class Time (Eastern Time) Credit/NoncreditStatus
Summer College – On Campus 1-Week Session I: Monday, July 8 – Friday, July 12, 2024MTWThF;
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Class times subject to change.

Typical Day

Tentative Schedule

This is a skills-oriented course that can best be described as “tell, show, and do.” Each day highlights a specific course objective.

After allowing time to settle in each morning, we will move through an interactive lecture in which engagement is welcome and expected. After lunch, we’ll apply the learnings from with real-time demonstrations and hands-on student discovery. We’ll take another short break and then conclude the class with group readings and/or working time, giving you access to your professor for questions and guidance.

When class is over, and on weekends, students can look forward to various Summer College – On Campus activities to meet and connect with other students! Check out our On Campus Experience page for more information!

Instructor Bio

Rachel Aubrey

Syracuse University School of Design

Associate Teaching Professor, Communications Design

Professor Rachel Aubrey’s 15-year professional design career was based in Manhattan, where she has worked in various creative roles for both in-house design departments and specialty firms. Her background emphasizes creative strategy and problem-solving, relationship building, and effective verbal and visual communication.

Professor Aubrey has produced work for a wide range of clients from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies including Google, Colgate Palmolive, 21st Century Fox, CBRE, and J.P. Morgan. She received a BFA in Graphic Design from the New York Institute of Technology. She has extensive experience in high-pressure, deadline-driven environments where working collaboratively, creatively and efficiently is of the utmost importance. To students, she brings a pragmatic approach to design ideation, processes, and client communication with a strong emphasis on project management and professionalism. Professor Aubrey has been teaching at the School of Design for over 7 years. She lives in the suburbs of Syracuse with her wife, 5-year-old son, and two cats. In her free time, she enjoys true crime podcasts and documentaries, intelligent and open conversations, hilarious memes, being goofy, and investigating new technology.