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Rediscovering Idea Generation in a Scientific Discipline. David Sands, Department of Plant Pathology, Montana State University, Bozeman 59717. . Plant Dis. 76:1079-1080. Copyright 1992 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/PD-76-1079.

A teaching method that challenges students to freely generate original ideas is described for use in plant pathology courses. Students are asked to submit 17 idea papers throughout the course. The ideas need not be related to the course or even good. No limits are placed on content, and the ideas are not judged on their perceived value or practicality. Rather, the emphasis is on stimulating freethinking and creativity, two qualities that are essential if science is to break new ground but that are too often suppressed in a field that seems preoccupied with recycling ideas and timeworn approaches to problem solving. The assignment is not a graded exercise in the traditional comparative sense but is required to pass the course.