Distributed Curriculum Model and Guidelines

The Distributed Curriculum Model

In the traditional model, departments choose a single upper division course to meet their WI requirement. Other departments use a distributed curriculum model to share the WI teaching load. In this distributed model, the upper level WI writing is spread over 2 or more sequential courses where the student earns the WI designation after completing the final course in the sequence.

Process of Submitting Course Proposals for Existing Distributed Curriculum WI Courses

The instructor of the last course in the sequence submits a WI proposal. In this proposal, the instructor explains how WI guidelines are met throughout the sequence. Most instructors satisfy this requirement by including a table or list of WI assignments in each course.

Sample Distributed Curriculum Table from Geological Sciences (revised 4/2019)

CourseAssignmentsWriting per student
365011 Laboratory Reports8-10 pages

5 pages revision (optional)

38006 Class Projects

8 Laboratory Reports/Assignments

8-10 pages

4 pages revision

4650*Term Paper – includes abstract, draft (optional) and final submission10 pages

10 pages revisions (optional)

4900Laboratory Reports

Field Trip Reports – includes revisions

6 pages

6 pages revised

Total32 pages first draft

10 pages revision (required)

15 pages revision (optional)

* indicates the course with the WI designation

Process of Proposing New Distributed Curriculum WI Courses

If a department or program is seeking to introduce a new distributed curriculum WI sequence, in addition to submitting the customary WI course proposal through the course management system, the department or program will simultaneously submit to the Campus Writing Board a narrative proposal of no more than 2 pages.

This document will comprise four sections:

  • Section 1 will identify the existing problems relating to student workload or departmental staffing that have necessitated the adoption of a distributed curriculum approach.
  • Section 2 will discuss how the proposed distributed curriculum approach satisfies the Campus Writing Program’s published guidelines for WI courses (e.g. range of writing, quantity, revision process, feedback, etc.).
  • Section 3 will collect, in an itemized list or table, all writing assignments that students will complete in the courses over which the WI experience is distributed.
  • Section 4 will overview the department’s plan for oversight, describing how course instructors will be supported and held accountable in implementing the distributed curriculum plan and WI assignments as proposed.

The intent of this narrative proposal is to summarize the purposeful ways writing is being used for learning within the distribution. As departments design their distributed curriculum models, the Campus Writing Program suggests centering the question: What writing experiences do graduates of the degree program need to have?

This narrative proposal will be considered by both the relevant Campus Writing Board subcommittee, and by the Writing Board as a whole, prior to the Board’s approval of the individual course with the Writing Intensive designation.