REMINDER: Please Take the CMEpalooza Spring Survey

I am writing this while watching basketball and don’t trust myself to string together enough coherent sentences to make an actual paragraph, so I’m just going to make a list.

  1. If you haven’t already taken our CMEpalooza survey, please do so now. We really do read them and use your feedback for planning purposes, so please take 30 seconds to fill it out. Here is the link. (PLEASE NOTE: if you’re just going to complete the survey in order to complain about sound quality or audio issues, then you can skip it. We know about the audio issues. Trust me…we know. I die a little inside every time someone’s audio glitches or the mic doesn’t pick them up. It’s annoying to listen to, I know. We do the best we can with it.)
  2. A big THANK YOU to everyone who participated and watched CMEpalooza. We had 291 live views for our first session of the day (always the most viewed session), which is truly mind-blowing. That’s about 70 more views than our previous high for a live session. (I know no one cares about these numbers, but indulge me for a moment.)
  3. We have a question on the survey about your favorite ’80s sitcom and someone responded with “Best ’80s sitcom was Night Court…prove me wrong.” I loved Night Court and would give it the award for most underrated ’80s sitcom with no hesitation, but calling it the best is clearly incorrect. Cheers is the correct answer and always will be. As great as Night Court was, Cheers was an almost perfect sitcom with some of the great main and supporting characters of all-time and individual episodes that people still talk about today (the Jeopardy! episode, etc.) (Note from Scott: I never like to agree with Derek about anything, but he’s right about this one. Cheers is the clear No. 1 choice here)
  4. As a follow-up to #3, a surprising number of people listed ALF as their favorite ’80s sitcom, and by surprising I mean more than zero. We have always promised to never require pre-registration for CMEpalooza, but I’m now considering requiring a one-question pre-reg that is simply, “Was ALF your favorite ’80s sitcom?” and everyone who answers yes gets redirected to the CBI registration page or something. C’mon, folks, we are better than this! (Another note from Scott: Scratch my previous comment. ALF is the clear No. 1 choice here. Free CMEpalooza registration for life for anyone who made this wise deduction)

BREAKING: Derek WILL Be at CMEpalooza Tomorrow

Good news, folks! I received an email a few minutes ago notifying me that I have been excused from jury duty tomorrow and do not need to report to city hall. This is especially good news because I completely forgot that I had jury duty until I got this email:

You are probably thinking to yourself right now, wow, that’s super lucky that Derek got excused and what a crazy coincidence that he would have jury duty on the very day of CMEpalooza.

This is the part where I tell you that I actually had been originally scheduled for jury duty back in March and asked to have it moved. When they asked me what day, I looked at my calendar and marveled at how open my schedule was for April 17 and decided that would be a great day to have jury duty.

The lesson, as always, is that I am an idiot.

See you all tomorrow!

Where Do I Watch CMEpalooza?

Where do I watch CMEpalooza?
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 play William Shatner’s spoken word version of Rocket Man at full volume and no one will hear you except your neighbors, who might call the police, who might interrupt you while watching CMEpalooza. So, don’t play William Shatner’s spoken word version of Rocket Man at full volume while watching CMEpalooza.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at the office?
Yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza at home?
Yes.

Can I watch CMEpalooza in a conference room with 150 other people?
Please do.

Can I watch CMEpalooza while at a coffee shop?
That depends. Will you be drinking a skinny latte while watching? If yes, then no, you may not watch CMEpalooza Fall while at a coffee shop.

Can I watch CMEpalooza with Magic Johnson?
I don’t know. Let’s ask him.

I guess he’s busy.

Do I have to pre-register or register?
Nope.

Do I have to pay anything to watch CMEpalooza? 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 come to your house and perform his new one-man show for you, Game of CMEpalooza Thrones.

Can I get a certificate for watching CMEpalooza?
Actually, yes. Well, kind of. We’re not accredited or certified or anything like that, and we 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 2019, 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 ASiM 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

We always get to as many questions as we can throughout each presentation.

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

Will the sound quality for each presenter be crystal clear with consistent volume and no glitches?
No. Will it be pretty good for most presenters? Yes. There will be some who sound better than others. There may be a few glitches and hiccups. That’s just how it goes with a free conference where presenters volunteer their time and use their own equipment. Some people aren’t comfortable doing a presentation while wearing headphones and a mic, so we don’t force them to use it. We do the best that we can with what we have available to us. That said, there seems to have been some improvements within Google Hangouts this year, so perhaps we’ll get lucky

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 each 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.

 

The Haiku CME Deserves, Not the Haiku CME Needs: It’s CMEpalooza Haiku

the hero deserved
not the hero that we need
palooza haiku

coming in one week
cmepalooza spring
what could be better?

9 AM ET – Can You Define and Articulate the Value of Your Education?

value does not mean
all about the benjamins
build better stories

10 AM ET – Outcomes Standardization Project: One Year Later

it has been one year
since these guys started working
are we standard yet?

11 AM ET – The MECC Reborn: Our Present and Future

rising from the ash
of new york times articles
the mecc is reborn

Noon ET – The Multi-day Medical Education Program: The Rationale for Longer-Term Courses

consider this thought
maybe instead of smaller
it should be bigger

1 PM ET – Lighten the Load! Designing Efficient, Engaging Education Based on Cognitive Principles

both of these speakers
are much smarter than I am
cognition science!

2 PM ET – You Can Do It! Busting Myths About the Use of Audience Response Technology

just like ray parker
busting (myths) makes us feel good
don’t ghost this session

3 PM ET – Nobody Puts Outcomes in the Corner

stop dirty dancing
with needless outcomes levels
it’s time to align

4 PM ET – CME Overview for the CME Professional

oldhead or newbie
here’s an overview for all
(we’re all young at heart)

Sponsors

a couple haikus
for gold and silver sponsors
scott is making me

Gold

our sole gold sponsor
AcademicCME
stay gold ponyboy

Silver

Educational
Concepts that are Creative
click here to learn more

when you think silver
think ASiM CE
call daniel not dan

it’s not provolone
it’s Prova Education
bad on sandwiches

This Is Not the Last Day to Register for CMEpalooza

Hey gang, just a quick note to let you all know that today is not the last day to register for CMEpalooza, because, well, we don’t have registration at CMEpalooza. You can just drop by whenever you want on Wednesday, April 17, click on the live video stream, and start watching. It’s wild.

Of course, if something truly awful happens that prevents you from watching CMEpalooza live – like if you have a burst appendix or perhaps accidentally eat a piece of white chocolate and have to go to the ER – you can always watch the archive of all the presentations later that day (or any other day). Again, no registration and no charge. The advantages of a virtual conference.

Scott and I briefly toyed with the idea of trying an actual in-person, live meeting CMEpalooza. Rather, I toyed with the idea. Scott thought it was a dumb idea from the very beginning, which is probably right. Anyway, I checked out a potential venue last week. Here’s my picture from inside the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Arena Football League’s Philadelphia Soul. Also, apparently a couple teams named the Flyers and 76ers play there. News to me.

Frankly, I’m not sure if this space is big enough to accommodate us. Is the Astrodome still around?

Speaking of the 76ers, Sixers legend Bobby Jones was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame this past Saturday. While Bobby Jones looked like a high school AP calculus teacher even in his prime playing days, he was surprisingly athletic and a nasty dunker. Whenever he passes on from this world to the next, I imagine his conversation with St. Peter at the Pearly Gates will go something like this:

St. Peter: “Name?”

Bobby Jones: “Bobby Jones.”

St. Peter: “Reason you should be let into heaven?”

Bobby Jones: “I dunked on Larry Bird.”

St. Peter: “Uh…didn’t you start a sports ministry for at-risk youth??”

Bobby Jones: “Yes, but…” [whips out cellphone and plays this video]

St. Peter [with a small smile]: “OK, you’re in. Next!”

Did I just write this entire blog post for the sole purpose of showing a video of Bobby Jones dunking on Larry Bird and knocking him on his butt?

Only St. Peter knows for sure…

Launching Something New: CMEpalooza Podcast

My son is a freshman in high school and is on the rowing team, which is a new sport for all of us. I think he likes the fact that this is one of the few sports I know nothing about — other than what I read in The Boys in the Boat — and therefore I can’t give him any helpful advice. This may come as a shock to some of you, but he seems not to particularly care for my undoubtedly extremely helpful tips and pointers as to how he can better himself in any number of areas in his life. His loss.

An email recently went around to all parents of the rowers on my son’s team asking for volunteers to “drive a launch” at the upcoming spring regattas. Now, I had no idea what “a launch” is. I thought it was a truck with a trailer that hauls around the boats. So I volunteered. Why not?

It wasn’t until a few days later that I discovered that a launch is actually a mini-catamaran that coaches use during practice and referees/marshals use during the regattas. They use volunteers to zip the referees around on the water during the races. Once I realized that, I was totally in. I had one training session on how to drive the launch (I still have no idea why it’s called that) and then went live last Sunday. I had no idea what I was doing.

Fortunately, despite the frigid temps, the marshal I was responsible for motoring around was very nice, and we had a fun morning out on the lovely Schuylkill (pronounce it with me: “SKOO-kill”) River, yelling at rowers and getting them lined up correctly at the starting area. Here’s a picture of me hard at work along the famous Boathouse Row.

(Here comes the segue.)

Today we, ahem, launch something new at CMEpalooza (did you see what I did there?)

(note from Scott: Unfortunately, I did. We have, ahem, sunk to a new low. Did you see what I did there?)

The people have spoken and you are requesting, nay demanding, a CMEpalooza podcast. And we have heard you and responded. Kind of. There is a CMEpalooza podcast now, but it is basically just an archive of the audio from previous sessions. And for right now, it’s just the audio from the very first CMEpalooza back in 2014 as part of our 5-year anniversary celebration. It’s a work in progress, and we’ll be gradually adding the rest of the sessions over the next few weeks. Like driving the launch on Sunday, I really don’t know what I’m doing, but you’re all nice people and hopefully this will turn out fine, too.

Will we ever turn it into an actual podcast with original content updated on a regular basis? I don’t know. We’ll see. For now, this is what we have. Here are the links if you want to subscribe. Or you can just search for “CMEpalooza” in either Apple or Google podcasts.

Apple podcast (I can’t get the stupid Apple podcast badge to work, so here’s the link)

Listen on Google Play Music

Two Topic Tuesday! (on a Wednesday…)

Just a quick post today. I have to go pick up my kid from rowing practice, so I’m squeezing this in before I go. Two topics for your input and consideration:

Topic #1: CMEpalooza Podcast — Yay or Nay?

I have had a couple people talk to me recently about turning the CMEpalooza videos into audio podcasts, I guess so they can listen to them while they are driving or “exercising” (insert eye-rolling emoji). Honestly, I don’t see the appeal, but different strokes for different folks, I guess. Maybe they are just anxious to hear the smooth dulcet tones of Scott Kober through their new $300 Bose headphones. I dunno.

Anyway, after thoroughly researching the idea (I googled it for 5 minutes), it looks like it would be possible to do without too much difficulty, if enough people are interested in that type of format. Let’s do a quick poll!

Topic #2: Can we all just agree that the odds of me remembering that you were on a CMEpalooza panel are not very good and not get offended when we talk later and I inevitably forget?

It’s not you, it’s me. This happened to me twice last week at the SACME conference and a few more times before that at the Alliance conference. Usually, I will be having a pleasant conversation with someone and then mention something about how I co-produce an online conference called CMEpalooza. The person I’m talking to will sigh, roll their eyes, and say something like, “I know, Derek. I did a CMEpalooza session last year.” To their credit, most people don’t get offended, and we have a nice laugh after I smack my forehead and hang my head in shame. Still, I do feel bad about not remembering.

Look, Scott and I have done a lot of sessions over the past 5 years. Just look at the Archives. I’m going to forget people, especially if you weren’t on a session that I was running. I have never been great at remembering names and faces, and my rapidly increasing age is not helping matters any. Personally, I recommend adding “Previous CMEpalooza Participant” to your name badge, so I can steal a quick look at it and remind myself. That would make my life sooo much easier.

 

Pay No Attention to That Man Behind the Curtain: Top 5 CMEpalooza Bloopers

Before I move on to the topic that is at the top of everyone’s mind — CMEpalooza bloopers, of course — I do want to take a quick moment and thank everyone who submitted an abstract for CMEpalooza Spring. As always, Scott and I are humbled and honored that so many of you would take the time and effort to put together an idea for our little event. We have some interesting and creative ideas among our accepted sessions, and I’m particularly excited that we will have a number of new faces popping up this time around. Our goal is to hopefully have the agenda up for you sometime next week, fingers crossed! (As usual, I am the slow one, so blame me if it’s not up by then…)

And now, on to the bloopers!

While I was at the Alliance conference a few weeks ago, I had a conversation with someone who mentioned that she was always impressed with how smoothly CMEpalooza ran, and “Did we ever have anything go wrong?” After I finished wiping away the tears of laughter from my eyes, I smiled politely and said, “Oh, yes. All the time.”

That is, unfortunately, all too true. We have small, easily resolvable glitches, like someone needing to use a different web browser because their video isn’t working. And we have bigger screw-ups which, for some unknown reason, seem to happen more frequently on my watch (no reason to analyze this in any more detail. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. Also, Scott might screw up all the time and just never tell me. This seems pretty likely, actually. Let’s go with that.) The nice thing about running a virtual conference is that most (but not all) of the things that go wrong happen before we go live on the air, so Scott and I come across like we actually know what we’re doing (haha). This list of Top 5 CMEpalooza Bloopers is a little glimpse behind the CMEpalooza curtain, for better or for worse.

#5: The time power went out on my entire block. This happened during my first session of the second day of the palooza last spring (we experimented with making the palooza two half days instead of one whole day. It wasn’t great.) and was actually remarkable timing. The session was just finishing up, and I was getting ready to close the Hangout when I suddenly got a message saying I was disconnected from the Internet, which was very confusing. Then I looked around and noticed all of my lights were off. Then I looked out my window and noticed all the lights were off EVERYWHERE. It was perfect weather outside, but for some reason the power had been knocked out on my entire block (I still don’t know why). I had about 30 minutes before I had to get my next session ready, and I had no Internet service and none of my neighbors had Internet service. I called a friend who lives about 15 minutes away and she graciously offered her house and Internet for me to use for the rest of the day. I sprinted up the steps to my third-floor office, grabbed the laptop and threw it in my bag, sprinted/tripped back down the steps, and was reaching for my car keys when the power came back on. Breathing a sigh of relief, I went back to my office and got the Hangout ready for my next session with minutes to spare.

#4: The time we couldn’t figure out how to pronounce Vivacity Consulting. I still feel badly about this. Erin Schwartz and her CME consulting company Vivacity Consulting were the very first sponsor of CMEpalooza and deserved so much better than Scott and I repeatedly stumbling over a not-that-difficult-to-pronounce name. Those of you who have ever watched CMEpalooza know that we always have a slide with all of our sponsors listed, and we read off all the sponsor names at the beginning of each session. As I was reading the slide for the first time, I realized I had never said “Vivacity” out loud before and was not exactly sure how to say it. I went with “vivuh-city” because that’s how it sounded in my head and also, I’m an idiot. Scott also got it wrong during the session after mine (ergo he’s also an idiot). Poor Erin sent me a message to try to explain that the correct enunciation is “viˈvasədē”, but I was a lost cause. I got it wrong every time, though credit to me for creativity with a different pronunciation each time. I think Scott eventually got it right by the end, but I never did. It was pathetic. Lesson learned, though, as now I always practice the sponsor names ahead of time.

#3:  The time roofers came to install a new roof outside my office window. They were supposed to come the day before CMEpalooza. Then it rained. Guess who showed up to hammer and saw five feet from my office window just as the first palooza session cranked up? Thankfully, they were only around for the first two sessions and I’m the Quick Draw McGraw of the mute button, so most of the ambient noise was kept to a minimum. Even so, you can still hear hammering and sawing in the background if you listen closely enough.

#2: The time I told Graham McMahon the wrong time for his session. Yes, I asked the CEO of the ACCME to participate in a CMEpalooza session with Lawrence Sherman, he (somewhat to my surprise) accepted, and I then proceeded to tell him and his staff the wrong time it would start. And continued to repeat the wrong time for the next month, only realizing my error when Dr. McMahon’s assistant questioned me about it at 9 a.m. on the morning of CMEpalooza. His session was at 1 p.m. ET, noon CT, and I kept telling everyone that it would start at noon ET. I don’t know why. I think the time zones confused me, even though I double and triple checked. It was one of the worst stomach-sinking experiences I’ve ever had when I discovered what I had done. Remarkably, the revised time still worked with everyone’s schedules and the session went great, though it took me about a week to stop being mad at myself.

#1: The time Google Hangouts shut down in the middle of a session. I made this #1 because it was the only one of the top 5 bloopers that had an obvious impact on the session. It was during our The Brief, Wondrous Life of a Grant Request session at CMEpalooza Fall 2016, the first session of the day, and I knew something was going wrong because everyone on the screen was frozen, even though their audio was perfectly fine. I texted Scott, who said everything on the screen looked fine, so I just let it keep going in the hopes that everything would  work out OK. It did not. As I was watching, the Hangout that everyone was on suddenly just…disappeared. It just went away. I sat there stunned for a few seconds, not knowing what to do. I got a text from Scott telling me the video feed was down (very helpful, Scott, thanks). I took a few more moments to think and then quickly brought up a new Hangout, emailed the new link to all the panelists, and then posted the new video stream on the website. In all, it took less than 5 minutes to get back up and running again. I got a new laptop and router the next day.