When I took my online classes at Charter Oak from 2007-2011, the instructors in ALL the classes were required to have an online forum, and part of the grading criteria for every course was a class participation grade which was 30 pct of the total grade. The instructors usually had a criteria that there had to be X number of posts on the forum across two different days, and that one of the posts had to be an initial post in response to one of the 3 or 4 posted discussion topics for the week. The other posts had to be a meaningful and well thought out post in response to another person's topic advancing the discussion. The teachers also, in addition to a weeklong assignment published ahead of time, had a written assignment due mid week that was not posted until that Sunday, and one that was posted the day after the mid week one that was due Saturday.
These all seemed to be common themes across all the courses. This seemed to be this college's way of trying to keep the students engaged with the class and instructor. Now, it depended on the instructor... some were pretty hands off for their classes, so people got away with posting a very general short post, and some instructors were hands on and did not accept those short posts toward the week total.
The students also, in the first year, had a mid semester and mid term checkup phone conference with their assigned academic advisor, as well as a yearly checkup over the summer to fine tune their course selections for the coming year. After the first year was completed, the only time we really talked to academic advisor was during the summer about fine tuning the course selections, as the course curriculum contained a relatively large open area for choosing your classes toward your major, and WHEN you could choose to take those classes (some colleges insist certain core courses must be taken during your first two semesters... this one was open to when you took them, as long as you did.)
Really though, no matter what amount of handholding the college gives you, no matter if you're taking it online or in person, or hybrid, its up to you as the student to step up as an adult and realize you're overwhelmed and need help. With an online course, you end up taking more of that in your own hands, as no one can actually see your body language, your class hours are NOT set to specific times like at a brick and mortar, and you also aren't as isolated from outside real world distractions during your chosen class time as you are at a brick and mortar.
Whereas in a brick and mortar college you are able to sit yourself down in the cafeteria or library and read, and you MUST be in a structured class between 2:30-5:00 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday... In an online class you have to find time after the kids head to sleep, and your chosen class time is 10:30pm-11:45pm on Sunday, Tuesday, and Saturday.... and as you're sitting at the computer, you have to resist the urge to Facebook/email/IM/game, and set your priorities straight.
(That last little bit right there is the unstated reason why so many people have problems... myself included. I never bombed out of any online classes or withdrew... but I skated through on a few classes by phoning it in with lax teachers while on a raiding guild schedule from shortly after work ended until midnight.)