Penn State, University of Freiburg seeking proposals for virtual classroom award

Nathan Rufo
August 05, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State and the University of Freiburg in Germany are embarking on a novel initiative to pilot an online classroom project.

The universities are seeking proposals to create collaborative, integrated virtual classroom courses. Selected proposals will be eligible for funding in the amount of 10,000 euros at the University of Freiburg and $12,000 at Penn State. The project also provides development and implementation money for faculty teams to construct an integrated virtual course, deliver a pilot program, and assess and modify the program operation for future virtual instruction improvement.

“The strength of the strategic partnership between Penn State and the University of Freiburg is allowing us to pursue joint ventures by leveraging our complementary capabilities,” said Marty Trethewey, director of Penn State’s global partnerships. “I believe the partnership future is extraordinarily bright. The universities are able to accomplish together what neither could do separately.”

Successful proposals should cover a topic that is an integral educational component of existing programs, which will ensure regular future offerings. The pilot should not be a one-off activity, but should kick off an annual virtual classroom offering between the universities for years into the future.

Proposals also should help to create an e-learning environment between the universities by providing a model structure and strive to leverage complementary academic capabilities of the universities to create learning opportunities that wouldn't be possible without the partnership. 

“I am very excited about the development and implementation of a virtual classroom initiative with the University of Freiburg,” said Alexandra Persiko, strategic initiatives coordinator for Penn State Global Programs. “This is a wonderful opportunity to complement our teaching, research and service portfolio with our partner, bringing faculty and students together on yet another level of collaboration.”

The deadline for applications is Oct. 28, with decisions announced by Dec. 16. The selection committee will be evaluating proposals based on academic quality, value to the partnership, sustainability, and the potential to create an exemplary virtual learning environment.

Activities will begin no later than spring 2021.

For more information or to submit a proposal, contact Persiko at

Last Updated August 06, 2019