Being a visual person with an active mind, I can't tell you how much brainstorm bubbles have saved my life. They let me jot down anything before I forget it, draw connections I wouldn't otherwise notice, and keep things visual for me. When you are in an art course that is not a studio course (such as art history), finding a way to make your homework visual is a plus.
Here is a little peek into my brainstorm and beginning outline notes for my term paper in Contemporary Art History 412. Aside from being a contemporary history course, this is also a contemporary theory course, and as such the angle of my paper is to propose new art and design theory as inspired by biomimicry. More on that as the semester progresses.