Last Chance to Submit Questions for Our “Chatting With Graham McMahon” Session

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Graham McMahon awaits your questions
Submit them in the form below

(What, you were expecting a poem? That’s not really my thing. Scott’s the poetry guy around here. He always has a haiku or sonnet at the ready. I’m more interested in you submitting your question for our Chatting With Graham McMahon session before the deadline closes at the end of today. Go do it now. The form is below.)

Call for Questions for Our “Chatting With Graham McMahon” Session

Do you have a burning question (or even a lukewarm question) you have always wanted to ask ACCME President and CEO Graham McMahon?

Do you have a laptop, mobile phone, or tablet?

Do you have access to the internet?

Well, today is your lucky day! For the next week, we are accepting questions for our Chatting With Graham McMahon session at CMEpalooza Fall, moderated by Lawrence Sherman, FACEHP, CHCP, Senior Vice President of Educational Strategy at TOPEC Global. Just fill out the form below and submit your question by the end of the day on Wednesday, September 13.

In typical CMEpalooza fashion, our goal is to keep the conversation lively and fun for everyone, so we’re not putting any restrictions on the types of questions you can ask. However, we do have limited time, so I can’t guarantee that your question will be asked, but we will do our best to tackle as many as possible.

The introvert in me has decided to make the name and organization fields optional. You don’t have to provide them if you’re not comfortable doing so, but it’s nice to know where a question is coming from. As always, thanks to all for participating!


BIG Archive Update

BIG update to the archive, guys. BIG BIG update. Yes, I’ve added all the sessions from CMEpalooza Spring 2017, but that’s not the BIG update. No, the BIG update is much bigger. Much much bigger.

Are you ready for it?

Maybe you should sit down first.

OK, here we go.

The BIG archive update is this: I added the presentation year after the name of each session so you would know how old it is.


Amazing, right??? No? Yeah, I know. It’s hard to make an archive sexy, if you know what I mean. We do have over 70 sessions in the archive now, so that’s pretty cool. And adding the year is helpful for people who…want…to know…the year. OK, it’s still not that great, but we have lots of free videos. Check it out sometime.



Whatever Happened to Johnny?

You guys remember Johnny? He lived deep down in Louisiana, close to New Orleans. Wa-a-ay back up in the woods, among the evergreens. Had himself a log cabin made of earth and wood. He never ever learned to read or write so well, but he could play a guitar just like a-ringing a bell. Remember that guy?

Little known fact about Johnny: He used to work on the docks. Then the union went on strike, he got down on his luck and it was tough. So tough. Last we heard, his girlfriend was dreaming of running away and Johnny was caught up in a vortex of self-defeating ennui, claiming that it didn’t make a difference if they made it or not. Things looked bleak.

So, who’s Johnny (she’s said. And smiled in her special way)?

He turned to a life in CME as an outcomes specialist, of course. We were a little late in adding a description to our Outcomes: A Study in Three Acts session, but that was only because the individuals involved in the session were busy tracking down Johnny and recording his life story. You can now read an overview of what they found on our agenda page. Be sure to join Jason Olivieri, Andrew Bowser, and Jamie Reiter at 3 p.m. ET on October 18 as they follow along with Johnny as he learns about study design, data collection, and analysis. At the end, we’ll all have some practical new tools for enhancing our outcomes practice.

Stranger Things, the Atari 2600, and a Quest for New Ideas

I have a confession to make: I’m a sucker for ‘80s nostalgia. I recently finished watching Netflix’s 8-episode ode to the ‘80s, Stranger Things, which quickly sucked me in with its bad fashion (garish sweaters paired with high-waisted, acid-washed jeans), synth-heavy soundtrack, and old school D&D role playing. It sort of has an ET meets The Goonies meets Stand By Me vibe to it. I dug it.

One of the most entertaining books I’ve read recently is Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One, which is like manna to any child of the ‘80s. I particularly appreciated Cline intentionally going beyond the typical tropes of the time period and giving us more of an ‘80s deep dive. He didn’t just reference the Atari 2600 game console, but also ColecoVision and Intellivision. Not just Pac-Man, but Pitfall and Joust, too. I thought it was brilliant.

(Side note: lest you think I am an Atari 2600 snob, please note that when asked to consider the best Christmas gift I ever received, I continue to cite the Christmas of 1983 when my parents pulled the old Well-I-Guess-We-Have-Given-Out-All-The-Presents-Oh-Hey-What’s-This-Hidden-Behind-The-Sofa-Now-How-Did-That-Get-There trick, when what to my disbelieving eyes should appear but a brand new Atari 2600, complete with included games Combat and Action Pak, paddle controllers, and joysticks. It was an amazing moment and I still give my parents – now in their 70’s – kudos for pulling it off.)

(Second side note: Activision’s Pitfall was the greatest game ever on the Atari 2600 and if you disagree, I will fight you. The worst game? E.T. You can read about it here. Rumor has it that it was so horrible, they buried thousands of cartridges somewhere in New Mexico. It deserved an even worse fate.)

Recently, a friend of mine posted a meme on Facebook that showed a beautiful nature scene with a gurgling brook, radiant wildflowers, trees bursting with fall colors, a butterfly in mid-flight, and two towheaded little boys playing happily. The caption in white Arial font read: “They’ll never remember their best day watching TV.” I heartily disagreed as I absolutely remember my best day watching TV. I don’t remember the specific date – I’m guessing sometime in 1984 – but I do remember what I watched: Inspector Gadget, Charlie’s Angels (rerun), Magnum P.I., and Simon & Simon. This was a momentous occasion because generally I was only allowed to watch one hour of TV a day. Being allowed to watch 3 ½ hours straight blew my mind. Did it help that my mom was away and it was only me and my dad (who I’m pretty sure watched more TV after I went to bed) at home? That’s probably a safe bet.

(Now…where was I going with this…I had a point I was trying to make…hmmm…Scott and I are the modern day Rick and A.J. Simon of CME?…no, that’s not it…I should grow a mustache like Tom Selleck?…well, yes, of course, but I don’t think that was my point…oh, I remember…)

The trouble with nostalgia and reflecting too much on the past is that it keeps us stuck in a rut. We have fond memories of these periods in time, but we don’t really want to still be there. Does anyone miss leg warmers? Is anyone sad that we don’t still play Pong? Scott and I do our best to keep CMEpalooza fresh, but it can be a struggle to keep from doing the same topics, the same types of sessions, and repeating faculty. Don’t get me wrong; I think the agenda for CMEpalooza Fall is one of the best we have ever put together and I’m really excited for it. But every year, it gets a little harder to come up with new ideas.

So, I’m here to ask for your help. If you have an original idea for CMEpalooza, we would love to hear about it. It can be a topic, a new speaker, an idea for improving audience participation, a new format for a session, or a new form of poetry I should use instead of CMEpalooza Haiku (impossible!). Maybe you want to guest write a blog post. We’re interested in hearing about anything – the crazier the better (Scott probably disagrees with that part, but this is my blog post so I get to write what I want.)

No guarantees that we will use your idea, but if we do, we will let you know that we’re interested and ask if and how much you would like to be involved. Our email addresses are below for you to use to contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Derek –

Scott –

Take Our Survey and I’ll Stop Bugging You

Alternative titles for this blog post that were left on the cutting room floor:

  • Take Our Survey And Express Your Disappointment That You Didn’t Get to See a Repeat of Me Freaking Out Due to My Laptop Spontaneously Shutting Down Again
  • Take Our Survey So You Can Tell Us How Much You Liked Our Collared Shirts
  • Take Our Survey or Else Scott Will Drive to Your House and Throw Pebbles at Your Window Until You Take It
  • Take Our Survey or Else I Will Drive to Your House and Stand Outside Your Window Holding a Boombox Over My Head Playing “In Your Eyes” Like John Cusack in Say Anything

Anyways, if you happened to watch any of the CMEpalooza sessions last week, please take our quick survey. It’s super-helpful to us to help plan future iterations of our event and gives us a little bit better idea of how many people watched. Here’s the link:

And to the person who responded to our survey and requested an evaluation to rate all the sessions: No.

Oh, and if you weren’t able to join us live, all the sessions are archived on the Spring agenda page. Enjoy!

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza Spring?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza Spring?
You watch it on the LIVE page.

Will people be able to hear me on the Hangout?
No. You are not on the Hangout. You are only watching a video feed of the Hangout. You can sing Everybody Have Fun Tonight by 80’s legends Wang Chung at the top of your lungs and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t sing Everybody Have Fun Tonight by 80’s legends Wang Chung at the top of your lungs while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at the office?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring at home?

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring in a conference room with 100 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring while at a New York Mets game? 

Can I watch CMEpalooza Spring with Vice President Mike Pence?
I don’t know. Let’s ask him.

I guess he’s busy.

Do I have to pre-register or register?

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza Spring? I love paying registration fees.

No. You don’t have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza.

Do I have to take a survey afterward?
Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. It’s only seven questions and shouldn’t take you more than 60 seconds. If it takes you more than 60 seconds, Scott will give you free swing dance lessons.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza Spring?
A surprising amount of people have asked us this over the years, and we have never had one. This year, we have one. Now, we’re not accredited or certified or anything like that. We also have no way of verifying whether you actually watched any of these sessions or not. But if you want a certificate of completion that you can use to self-report participation in CMEpalooza Spring 2017, here you go. I’ll also post it on the LIVE page tomorrow.

How do I ask questions to the presenters?
Good question. There are three ways you can ask questions:

  1. Send a text to the Educational Measures text line at 267-666-0CME (0263)
  2. Tweet a question using the #CMEpalooza hashtag
  3. Click on the Google Slides link on the LIVE page and enter your question there

Do I have to watch all the sessions?
YES! No. Watch what interests you.

What if I’m busy during the day of the live broadcast?
All the sessions will be archived on the website, probably within 15 minutes of the conclusion of the session. How are we able to do it so fast? We have a new intern who is a real crackerjack on the interwebs. Here he is hard at work, writing our latest blog post.

CMEpalooza Haiku

I thought about not doing CMEpalooza Haiku this time, but it’s Scott’s favorite recurring post and he begged and begged me to do it again. I hate to disappoint the guy, so here again are summaries of each CMEpalooza Spring session in haiku. Enjoy!

april the nineteenth
cmepalooza spring
here we go again

best learning formats?
you’ll find out at ten a.m.
from the horse’s mouth

cookie dough is good
just like your programs should be
the worst: vanilla

one, two, and three A’s
forays into the four A’s
five is one too much

if the word “network”
causes you fear and loathing
this session’s for you

what is “data viz?”
not sure, but you’re a poet
and might not know it

such a foggy world
is CME compliance
here is clarity

the day’s last session
a mistake celebration
so perfect for scott

don’t forget to watch
the GAME Company Spotlight
it’s today at noon

You Could Be Doing This, Too

This is the blog post where I remind all of you that you could be doing this, too. Not literally sitting in a coffee shop at 21st and Walnut Sts. in Philadelphia typing a blog post while you wait for your 10-year-old daughter to finish orchestra practice (she plays the violin. I am easily the least talented person in this family…), but you could be using the same tools that Scott and I use to run CMEpalooza. This is what we use:

  • WordPress for our website/blog
  • YouTube Live (née Google Hangouts) to stream presentations
  • WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for promotion

That’s basically it. Yes, there’s a little bit of a learning curve for using these things, but less than you might think. Every year the technology gets better, the video quality improves, and it gets easier for people to use. We have far fewer tech issues now than when we first started doing CMEpalooza (OK, yes, the first session of CMEpalooza Fall 2016 went completely offline for a few minutes, but that was because my stupid laptop crapped out, which was my own dumb fault) and the majority of our faculty are able to come right onto their session Hangouts with little difficulty. The technology works. It’s not perfect, but it works pretty dang well.

Now here’s the kicker. Do you know how much it costs for us to produce CMEpalooza? Any guesses?


I pay 25 bucks for the URL (which I pay all on my own. Do I ask Scott to chip in? I do not, because that’s the kind of guy I am. I’m a giver.) That’s it. Everything else is free. I’m not including the hours Scott and I put into it, but the website cost is the only monetary expense involved. This is definitely something you can afford to try.

In closing, let me remind you of a couple of upcoming CMEpalooza-related activities.