I often assign discussion forums in which students are not only to respond to a question/prompt and then they are to respond to classmates' responses. The problem is that I can only set one due date for this assignment. The problem that arises is that so many students wait until the last minute to post their INITIAL response that the responsible students who choose to work in advance (or just work before the very last minute) don't have sufficient classmates to respond to.
Because all of the responses are for the same assignment, and the students need to see all of each other's responses, I cannot split these assignments up into two assignments with two due dates and two separate grades in the gradebook.
This would be a great fix - could a discussion forum have the option for MULTIPLE due dates if multiple responses are required? Therefore, students could be pushed (and penalized) to get their first response in on time for their classmates, and the subsequent responses can then be due on the final due date.