The connection of Adi Ellinger to this story is manifold: he was a comrade-in-arms in the teaching reform project “HyperCell”, an early attempt to introduce integrated teaching and learning as well as e‑learning into the faculty [1–3]. He volunteered to be the first “block coordinator” before the new curriculum as a whole was even approved and he has remained a committed yet critical supporter of the reform process to this day. The “preclinical learning centre”, six seminar rooms for 16 students each, suited for various types of small-group learning as well as e‑learning, was his brainchild, which he guided from the planning stage through to completion [4, 5].
Planning and implementing a new curriculum at the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna was a bold attempt to use a scientific approach. A curriculum of sequentially presented and departmentally controlled subject areas using oral examinations was replaced with horizontally and vertically integrated organ/function modules. The reform also introduced integrated written year-end examinations, a required research thesis, stronger clinical orientation starting already in the 1st semester and more elective components. The starting point, preparatory work, the legal framework, as well as the formal planning process from January 1998 until October 2001 are described and explained.