If you would like to require students to go through your material in a particular set way, you should have a look at adaptive release.
Groups can be great, and once your students are in them, you can even assign work to the group rather than to individual students.
Shirlene Small sits in for our latest Unknown Issues episode. She is a full time lecturer at Wichita State and is known for her engaging presentations. Take a listen as Shirlene presents some of the ways she is able to consistently keep students interested in an online environment.