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Conferences typically consist of plenary and break-out sessions, panel discussions, keynote speakers, and demonstrations or mini-workshops. They are generally a more formal event geared toward presentations by experts and networking. Cost is usually for the conference only, not including lodging.
eCourses are multi-week classes taught online by an artist or small group of artists. These usually are organized using a password-protected blog, flickr group, or facebook group. Assignments are posted and students respond by posting their work.
Retreats are like camp for adults. People travel from near and far to attend these full immersion experiences where participants get their hands dirty, meet new people and build community. The cost usually includes various creative classes, meals, lodging, and evening activities.
Teleconferences range from one to a whole series of audio-based sessions. Most teleconferences are centered around an interview or conversation. Participants can listen-in and often participate in the conversations.
Workshops are one or two-day classes usually in small groups. They allow participants to be hands-on or involved some way in the content of the class. Workshops usually do not include housing or evening activities.