If you're an NCTE member, you probably received an email about this virtual conference apparently designed for people who can't make the actual conference upcoming in Atlanta. To me, this is just another example of how CCCC continues to mystify me with the choices it makes online. Who knows, maybe a large number of people will sign up for six live online presentations, spread out over several weeks. But I'm not sure why.
And why does it cost $115? I mean, if you are one of these presenters, and you really want to do a live talk, then you can basically do it for free on uStream, right? In any case, I'm not entirely sure what the value of real time is in this context. How about, instead, if you just upload a video of your talk or a slidecast or maybe a text transcript and then let viewers watch it asynchronously? That one can do for free no doubt. As far as that goes, how about CCCC just asks all interested conference presenters to upload texts and/or slides of their presentations to the NCTE website? Then, at least, virtual attendees might have hundreds, rather than a half-dozen, presentations to consider.
Now certainly CCCC did not invent the "webinar," blech! It's an undeniably well-established corporate model of networked communication. I suppose the notion isn't uniformly awful. However, one would really have to think about situations where real time communication is an advantage. In a corporate setting, if you do an hour-long webinar and bring all the employees into a room for it, you're ensured they've spent an hour being subjected to the content of the webinar and you've saved yourself the cost of flying out the trainer or whatever.
But in this case, it's just a little strange.