The McMaster Faculty of Medicine was founded in 1966. One of its primary objectives was to help students become effective solvers of biomedical problems by understanding the principles essential to solving them and learning how to seek out and use the information required for solutions.

The nascent faculty was exploring new and hopefully effective ways of achieving its objectives. It aimed to replace the usual formal lectures with stimulated, problem-based, self-directed learning. Although many audio-visual aids were developed, whether for ethical, economical, or practical reasons, students were rarely exposed to labs and experimentation, a traditional stimulus to inquiry. Problems presented on printed paper alone often fail to trigger curiosity and active search for information.

In 1971, John Dickinson from St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London was invited to McMaster as a visiting professor. He originated the idea of substituting actual lab experiments with lab experiments on computer models simulating the behavior of living organs, thus allowing unlimited experimentation without causing ethical, legal, or economic concerns. With the support of the faculty, Dr. Dickinson developed MacMan, simulating the human cardiovascular system's realistic behavior under various user-posed conditions.

Because of the excitement triggered by MacMan, several colleagues at McMaster and St. Bartholomew's joined John Dickinson, collaborating in designing further models and refining existing ones.

For a variety of reasons, this development gradually declined towards the end of the 1980s without ever finding wider interest. Because of the cumbersome user interface, before graphical user interfaces became standard, the students rarely made use of the models - a missed opportunity.

These pages serve as a tribute to the early pioneering contributions to Medical Education by the McMaster Faculty of Health Science and an opportunity for viewers to experience this project fully.