Traditionally, departments choose an upper division course (or courses) to serve as their upper division WI requirement. In the traditional model, all WI requirements are met within a single course.
In 2004, the Department of Geological Sciences came to the Campus Writing Board with concerns about the traditional WI model; namely, they expressed that the workload for both students and faculty in these upper division WI courses far exceeded other upper division courses. To solve these problems, the department proposed a distributed curriculum model wherein the upper division WI course requirement would be spread over four core courses required of all their majors. This shift from the traditional WI model enabled Geological Sciences faculty to share the WI-teaching load. It also provided students with a comprehensive disciplinary writing experience across their upper division courses.
In the distributed curriculum model, the requirements for a WI course are spread throughout multiple courses. The instructor submits a WI proposal for the last course in the sequence, explaining how WI guidelines are met throughout the sequence. The students receive the WI designation once they have successfully completed all courses in the sequence.