The amount of reading material ultimately depends on the nature of the course as well as the instructor’s expectations. If students are enrolled in an online English or literature course, they should expect a fair amount of reading, but if students are enrolled in a mathematics course, they should expect little to no reading. But because online courses do not necessarily have a weekly lecture, there may be increased reading requirements. Most of the time online course exams and papers will cover assigned reading materials.
Oftentimes online courses will post readings with assigned due dates, so that individuals are able to complete the assigned readings in a leisurely manner. If the online course mainly consists of reading and writing papers, then students may have some leeway – they can then complete the assigned readings directly before working on papers.
Either way, students should expect reading assignments to be an integral part of most online courses.