My first three courses at National were actually a part of a summer internship intensive where you attend courses five nights a week in person (instead of online as is usual). Each course has all the same assignments, discussions are done in person instead of online, and it is two weeks instead of four. It was super intense but I realized that I could do two weeks worth of assignments in one week if I really pushed myself.
So now, I push myself hard during week 1 of my courses writing at least two weeks worth of original posts for discussion boards, actively peer responding to posts and comments, completing week 1 assignments and jumping into week 2’s assignments. My personal goal is to finish week 2’s assignments by the end of week 1. It does not always happen but I often am well into completing them by the official start of week 2. I have found if I can get myself a week ahead that I have a stronger sense of motivation to keep that lead. I will keep pushing to stay ahead, thereby ensuring I am never stressed over a looming deadline.
Moreover, each class has a signature assignment, in week 3 or 4, which is the biggest assignment in the course. Sometimes worth more, sometimes not but it is usually significantly more labor intensive. Working ahead with the majority of the course allows me to slow down for this assignment and really dig into it. This signature assignment is the core of the course and mastering it demonstrates your grasp of the course’s ideals.