I have been teaching exclusively online for 3 years and I love it! I thoroughly enjoy connecting with my students through the online discussions. I have done my best to make the discussions engaging as a conversation, but I still have a large portion of the students that treat it as a "box-checking" activity, posting superficial reply posts that just barely earn their points, missing the goal of actually conversing about science. I've tried to make it engaging by posing controversial topics and asking students to craft an evidence-based opinion (using claim-evidence-reasoning) on the topic and then discuss. While this approach has garnered much stronger initial posts, reply posts are still formulaic and often occur very late in the module, preventing much back and forth conversation. "Post and run" is penalized, with reply posts within 12 hours of each other penalized.
Ideas for moving the online discussions to a more authentic conversation?
Does anyone have a rubric they can share that supports this conversational format?