This project was conceptualized in 1991 by Kate Kiefer, Mike Palmquist, Dawn Rodrigues, and Don Zimmerman. Funding was obtained from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education's Programs of Excellence competition in 1992 and ran through June 1998. During this period, Mike Palmquist and Don Zimmerman served as project directors. Palmquist focused on design and development, while Zimmerman focused on assessment. Initial development was conducted in Asymetrix Multimedia Toolbook and resources were made available through the University's wide area network.
In 1996 and 1997, the materials were converted for use on the web. The site used the same name -- the Colorado State University Online Writing Center -- that it had used when it was a network application.
In 1998, the site was renamed the Writing Center to reflect the convergence of efforts between the Writing Center website and the Campus Writing Center. Funding was provided to the English Department by the Office of the Provost to support the project and was subsquently used to create a new tenure line for the Writing Center director, to support a programming position, and to fund content development.
In 2001, a new name -- Writing@CSU -- was chosen to emphasize the center's commitment to creating a community of writers centered on but extending beyond Colorado State University.
The Writing Studio project, which allows writers to create and save work in password-protected accounts, began in 1999 and was officially announced in December 2004.
In August 2005, the Writing Studio and Writing@CSU sites were combined into a single Web-based learning environment. In 2006, database support for the project began to be provided by the Academic Computing and Network Services group at CSU.
In 2009, two open-access projects were initiated, one to create an open-source version of the Writing Studio and the other to create an open-access textbook project.
In 2009, funding for content development and, in 2010, for the position of programmer/editor, was eliminated by the English Department, in response to requests from the College of Liberal Arts to trim the department budget. Following the loss of funding, the open-source project was suspended. From 2010 through 2014, support for the Writing@CSU and Writing Studio projects was provided by the Institute for Learning and Teaching and Academic Computing and Network Services at Colorado State University. Current support is provided through the CSU Open Press and Academic Computing and Network Services at Colorado State University.
On July 1, 2019, the Writing Studio began to shut down, largely as a result of the time and cost required to maintain account security and privacy in the face of mounting and increasingly sophisticated attacks on its database and website. That month, the ability to create new accounts was removed. The ability to create new blogs, ePortfolios, wikis, and (for instructors) classes was also removed. In January 2020, access to the Studio was completely shut down. The instructional materials (such as the Writing Guides and Teaching Guides) continue to be available on the larger Writing@CSU site. Account holders can, however, download files saved in the Studio and view and save work created in it as well. In July, project director Mike Palmquist wrote, "While many of us, including me, are disappointed that the Studio is no longer available, I'm proud that we've been able to support more than 180,000 student writers and more than 2,000 instructors over the years. It has been a labor of love â€” and I say that sincerely â€” working on this project and with the many instructors and students who have offered suggestions for improving the Studio. I wish we could continue (heck, I wish I had a full-time programming staff who worked only on the Studio), but it was simply not in the cards."