Active learning experience - looking for an asynchronous alternative

Hello creative designers! 

A brain-storming question here. I work with instructors that are used to having synchronous discussions with their students in a small group setting. Then, they'd be watching them develop a concept, make a choice, discuss why they made it, and then reach the learning outcome through a guided discussion. (witnessing active learning in action).

Many instructors are concerned and are unsure on how the same effect would be achieved in an online environment, especially with classes of big numbers.

 

What are your thoughts? What strategies would you use for open ended questions that need to be critiqued, especially with big classes of 100+ students? 

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