I found myself submitting my discussion assignments at the last minute for my online class. I assumed that most students did the same thing, but I wasn't sure.
I kept track of when each student submitted their assignment for each of our seven discussion board assignments and combined all the times. As you can see, only a third of the assignments submitted on time were submitted more than 12 hours before the assignment was due.
The next chart I made shows how many assignments were submitted in each six hour period.
Since all assignments were due at midnight, each 24 hour divider represents midnight. Most people who submitted their assignments two, three, or four days early submitted at a reasonable time (between the early afternoon and late evening), but those who submitted the night before started to work on it into the early hours of the morning.
Although the vast majority of people submitted their assignments on time, in general if an assignment was late that person wasn't in a rush to get it in.
A third of the late assignments were submitted by the next day, 10% were submitted the following Monday, and another 10% were submitted a week later with the next week's assignments. The rest of the assignments were submitted at various other times, with one assignment even being five weeks late.
It's difficult to respond to other student's discussion posts when everyone submits at the last minute, meaning most discussion posts aren't really a "discussion". The professor for my online class next term requires more than one discussion post per week and requires that the first one be made halfway through the week, presumably to mitigate this problem. I wonder how this will affect student's posting times.