I think it is very difficult as an instructor to obtain and keep the attention of students in an online class and as a student hard to remember and keep up with an online class. I think fault falls on botht the instructor and participants/students when assignments aren't being done. As a student I think regular emails about that week are very helpful, however, as with this course, I don't like how I get an e-mail everytime someone posts a comment becasue I have a tendency to just delete them all even when some of them aren't comments but actual e-mails that I need. Also as someone who is taking a course for credit online I like to know where I am at in the class grade wise, for some reason it motivates me either way to do my postings and assignments. I also believe that a skype session or something similar in the beginning could be useful to get a sense of who the instructor is and put a name to a face.
In the end I think that....
1. Have weekly e-mails that outline what is going on for that week and what is expected
2. Have some sort of skype session or something like that in the beginning to put a name to a face
3. As a student, know grade wise where you stand and the point break down of things