That got me thinking, are all students really like that? Well, I don't have access to our assessment submission system, but I do work on our Moodle-based VLE, so I can give you the data from there.
This graph shows how many hours before the deadline students submit their Moodle quizzes (iCMAs in OU-speak)
That is not exactly what I was expecting. Certainly, there is a bit of a peak in the last few hours, but there is another peak almost exactly 24 hours before that, with lesser peaks two and three days before.
Note that all our deadlines are at noon (it used to be midnight, but that changed a few months ago). The graph above is consistent with our general pattern of usage. The following graph shows what time of day students submitted their quiz attempts. It is same shape as our general load graph for most OU online systems.
I don't know what, if anything, this means, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.
By the way, if you want to compute these graphs for your own Moodle, here are the database queries I used:
-- Number of quiz submissions by hour before deadline SELECT (quiz.timeclose - qa.timefinish) / 3600 AS hoursbefore, COUNT(1) FROM mdl_quiz_attempts qa JOIN mdl_quiz quiz ON quiz.id = qa.quiz WHERE qa.preview = 0 AND quiz.timeclose <> 0 AND qa.timefinish <> 0 GROUP BY (quiz.timeclose - qa.timefinish) / 3600 HAVING (quiz.timeclose - qa.timefinish) / 3600 < 24 * 7 ORDER BY hoursbefore -- Number of quiz submissions by hour of day SELECT DATE_PART('hour', TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE 'epoch' + timefinish * INTERVAL '1 second') AS hour, COUNT(1) FROM mdl_quiz_attempts qa WHERE qa.preview = 0 AND qa.timefinish <> 0 GROUP BY DATE_PART('hour', TIMESTAMP WITH TIME ZONE 'epoch' + timefinish * INTERVAL '1 second') ORDER BY hour