The most frustrating part of taking online classes isn't the busywork; it's trying to figure out a way to actually complete the busywork as it relates to other students on the discussion board.
Most of the students – and by “most” I mean all of them – wait until the absolute last minute (Sunday nights by 11:55pm) to post anything. Both of my online courses require a response to at least two other students' posts throughout the week. So far, I am the only person to respond to our Old Testament readings in my literature course, and the first of three (as of today, two other people finally sent something in; responses to what I posted) to write anything on the four topics listed for western civilization.
If you can't find the time during the week to post something awe-inspiring, at least send something. I try to juggle my classes in such a way that I do the harder stuff first, such as math, when I have the most free time. I do the reading at bedtime or only after the crappy stuff is out of the way. That way I can post in the discussion boards by, say, Wednesday and give other people something they can respond to. You know, copy off my shit if you want to. Just give me something to work with, here, kids!
I can't expect the instructor to grade me on something over which I have no control. And I certainly hope she won't hold that against me. The last thing I want to do is start checking the message boards at 10pm on Sunday night when I'm already starting on the next week's chapter.