Consistency vs Variety in Online Assessments: is the balance important?

I received an email last week from a college professor who had a good question. She is designing her second online course and was wondering what my opinion was on the types of assignments that work best online. Specifically, she wanted my opinion about whether predictability and variety were important facets in good assessment schemes for online courses. Yes – I vote for predictability and variety; however, there is more than one way to skin the cat. Let me give you a few examples:

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