Southern New Hampshire Professor Flunks Student For Saying That Australia Is A Country [Updated]

unnamedSouthern New Hampshire University is one of the burgeoning online universities that promises faster and cheaper degrees than the traditional colleges.  While there are considerable questions raised over content of these courses and the value of the degrees, SNHU insists that it is reaching a population that would not otherwise be able to attain degrees.  Ashley Arnold, 27, however, had to educate her professor that Australia is not just a continent but also a country.  Update: SNHU has fired the professor.  This type of story is particularly harmful for online universities given their perception as diploma mills.  

Arnold is a stay-at-home mom trying to complete an online sociology degree with SNHU but was shocked when she received a failing grade on an assignment to compare a social norm in the US and another country.  She picked Australia but the professor struck her grade because apparently Australia is only a continent.  When confronted, the professor who holds a Ph.D in philosophy explained that she was quite confident that Australia is not a country.  Arnold patiently sent sources showing that Australia is the sixth largest country in the world.

Nevertheless, the professor maintained her position that Australia is a continent but agreed to research it.

I will gladly re-examine your week 2 milestone project report. But before I do I want you to understand that any error in a project can invalidate the entire research project.

Research is like dominoes, if you accidentally knock over one piece the entire set will also fall.

Australia is a continent; it is not a country. That error made it nearly impossible for you to accurately complete your week 2 research outline correctly.

As I mentioned above I will look over your week two paper once again and see if you earned more credits than I gave you.

 I checked it out.  Arnold is right!  It has its own flag and everything.


Arnold sent more explanations that Australia is both a country and continent.  The professor promised to look into her novel theory.

Thank you for this web-address. After I do some independent research on the continent/country issue I will review your paper.

 Eventually, the professor relented . . . no doubt after renting Crocodile Dundee.  She awarded Arnold a B+ but did warn her: “Please make sure the date, the facts, and the information you provide in your report is about Australia the country and not Australia the continent.”
Of course, philosophy professors have had some awkward moments in Australia:

SNHU did apologize and gave Arnold a new professor.
The issue of online universities is a tough one.  People like Arnold find the at-home access important to achieving the education. However, these courses are still $1,000 a pop and the question is whether the education and degree would be worth more at a traditional brick and mortar school.  I have been a long critic of online schools, remote learning, and for-profit schools because I do not agree that the educational quality is the same. However, I also recognize the barriers presented to people like Arnold who struggle to maintain their families or employment while seeking higher education.
After all, she just proved Australia is a country.
Now learning the language could be more challenging:

81 thoughts on “Southern New Hampshire Professor Flunks Student For Saying That Australia Is A Country [Updated]”

  1. OT – Also, Aussies make some good films

    “The Dish” about NASA working with their counterparts Down Under to help broadcast the moonwalks is one of my favs.

  2. SNHU is not just an online school.. It has brick and mortar – anyone remember Michelle Obama’s speech there where she said she was shaken to her core about the Trump tapes?

  3. “Research is like dominoes, if you accidentally knock over one piece the entire set will also fall.” Indeed.
    I would suggest this “professor” has failed and should resign.

  4. Online Sociology degree. Another future barista? Another large unpaid student loan balance?

  5. Professors, whether in for profit or non-profit situations, must realize that they have no monopoly on truth and accuracy. When students question the grading of a paper or test, it is a learning opportunity for a professor, not only to double check what the professor assumed to be the correct answer, but to understand where students need more help. To insist that the professor’s assumed answer is the correct answer fails both the student and the professor. The purpose of a test should be to train the professor, as much as to test the student.

    1. Chris Bacon – I would take my tests right along with my students, if I could not answer a question because of the way I worded it, it would be dropped from the test. Of course, I had three versions of the same test so I had to find the question on all three tests. 😉

      But you are right. If enough students missed a question, then it was something that had to be reviewed. If everybody got the question right, then I did something right that day. 🙂 And my tests were all cumulative and all leading to the final. So, each test would include new and old material.

  6. As an ex-prof, I’ve had ample experience teaching in both for-profit and public universities. One thing I definitely discovered is that both possess a very strong disdain for freedom of speech. The last for-profit that fired me for “testing the waters of democracy” was American Public University System.

  7. This is what happens when we don’t require World History classes anymore. Even philosophy students would know if it was a country.

    1. Paul, I often see/hear people mixing up Austria with Australia and Sweden with Switzerland (in one case Spain). Guess many folks simply don’t care about other countries.

  8. You know what is really bad about this? It isn’t that the Professor didn’t know Australia was a country, because that is just a “fact”, and nobody knows all the facts in the world. (Although this is a pretty dumb fact not to know!)

    No, what is bad is that when the student corrected him, he didn’t take the 30 seconds to look it up, and then correct his mistake, He or she continued in their ignorance even after being informed of the true state of reality.

    A lot of people are like this, and will not admit it when they are wrong.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

    1. “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation — I mean continent — that is — oh, what the heck, let’s call it both — where they will not be judged by the content of their character, but by the color of their skin.”

    2. Wait – wouldn’t that invalidate the term “African American”? Africa is not a country, it’s a continent, so I guess even Egyptians and South Africans are “African American”, right?

      Conversely, I was born in the U.S. Does that make me a North American-American?

  9. OT–But demonstrates to Jon Turley how to write a REAL article with REAL journalism, and “not some useless information, supposed to fire my imagination.” Too bad, Jon Turley has neither the knowledge, skills, nor talent to write such an article even if he wanted to.

    Robert Mueller Has Been Botching Investigations Since The Anthrax Attacks

    Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the anthrax attacks following 9/11 — one of the most important of his career — did not go well, to say the least.

    By Daniel Ashman
    FEBRUARY 8, 2018
    Mystery surrounds Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russia and President Trump. Some think he is the ultimate professional, others that he is a Democrat lackey, still others maintain he is working on Trump’s side.

    We can see how he works if we look at how Mueller ran his second-most important investigation as FBI Director. In September of 2001, an entity began mailing anthrax through the US Postal system, hitting such prominent targets as NBC and Senator Daschle’s office. The terrorist attacks killed five and left others hospitalized. The world panicked.

    Under Mueller’s management, the FBI launched an investigation lasting ten years. They now brag about spending “hundreds of thousands of investigator hours on this case.” Let’s take a closer look at Mueller’s response to understand the context of the investigation — who his people investigated, targeted, and found guilty.

    The anthrax letters began just a week after the 9/11 attack. While planning the airplane hijackings, Al-Qaeda had been weaponizing anthrax, setting up a lab in Afghanistan manned by Yazid Sufaat, the same man who housed two of the 9/11 hijackers. Two hijackers later sought medical help due to conditions consistent with infection via anthrax: Al Haznawi went to the emergency room for a skin lesion which he claimed was from “bumping into a suitcase,” and ringleader Mohamed Atta needed medicine for “skin irritation.” A team of bioterrorism experts from John Hopkins confirmed that anthrax was the most likely cause of the lesion. Meanwhile, the 9/11 hijackers were also trying to obtain crop-dusting airplanes.

    So how did Mueller’s investigative team handle the case?

    Mueller issued a statement in October of 2001, while anthrax victims were still dying: the FBI had found “no direct link to organized terrorism.” The John Hopkins team of experts was mistaken, the FBI continued, Al Haznawi never had an anthrax infection. The crop-dusting airplanes they needed was possibly for a separate and unrelated anthrax attack.

    A few weeks later, the FBI released a remarkable profile of the attacker. FBI experts eschewed analysis of the content of the letters, where it was written in bold block letters, “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great.” Instead, they focused on a “linguistic analysis,” stating that the letter’s writer was atypical in many respects and not “comfortable or practiced in writing in lower case lettering.” The FBI therefore concluded that it was likely a disgruntled American with bad personal skills.

    The investigators hypothesized that the attacker was a lonely American who had wanted to kill people with anthrax for some undefined time period, but then became “mission oriented” following 9/11 and immediately prepared and mailed the deadly spores while pretending to be a Muslim.

    Mueller’s FBI honed in on Steven Hatfill as the culprit — a “flag-waving” American, who had served in the Army, then dedicated himself to protecting America from bioterrorist threats by working in the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

    There was no direct link from Hatfill to the attacks, by the FBI’s own admission, and the bureau never charged Hatfill. The FBI did however spy on, follow, and harass him non-stop for years. The Department of Justice also publicly outed Hatfill as the possible terrorist.

    While Hatfill’s dignity and life was being trampled on by America’s secret police, Mueller took a stand. But on a different topic. He made front page news for threatening President Bush he would resign over NSA policy. All while his own team was trampling on the rights of an American in the FBI’s largest-ever investigation.

    Hatfill successfully sued the government for its unlawful actions. He won almost $6 million dollars.

    After the Hatfill investigation blew up in the FBI’s face, they moved on to Bruce Ivins, another Army researcher who had actually volunteered to help the FBI investigate this case, and had been doing so for years. It wasn’t until five years after the attack that Mueller’s men decided Ivins was a target.

    The FBI case against Ivins, once again, was based on circumstantial evidence.

    The prosecution stated Ivins purposefully gave a misleading sample of anthrax spore, but Frontline documented this was not true. Ivins was “familiar” with the area from which the anthrax letters were mailed, the FBI said, but Pulitzer Prize winning ProPublica lays out the accepted facts of the case showing it was impossible for Ivins to make the trip to mail the letters.

    The spores used in the attacks were a similar type to the laboratory spores where Ivins worked, but that ignored the fact that the anthrax letters had a unique additive — so sophisticated and dangerous a scientist commented, “This is not your mother’s anthrax” — that was likely produced by a nation state or Al-Qaeda.

    Ivins was never indicted, just given the Hatfill treatment. His house was raided, and he was threatened with a death sentence, or as his lawyer put it, put under “relentless pressure of accusation and innuendo.” He committed suicide.

    One week later, U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Taylor stated Ivins was guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and they were “confident that Dr. Ivins was the only person responsible for these attacks.”

    Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, one of the intended victims of the anthrax terror attacks, did not believe that Ivins was the sole actor. Mueller ordered an independent audit of the FBI’s case by the National Academy of Science, then formally closed the case in 2010, sticking with the conclusion that Ivins, and Ivins alone, committed the terror attack. One year later the NAS released their results and confirmed what many scientists had been repeating for years: the FBI’s science and conclusions were not solid.

    A former FBI official involved in the investigation sued the FBI, alleging the FBI concealed evidence exculpatory to Ivins.

    Mueller made his position known, saying, “I do not apologize for any aspect of this investigation,” and stated that the FBI had made no mistakes.

    The investigation was an unmitigated disaster for America. Mueller didn’t go after al-Qaida for the anthrax letters because he couldn’t find a direct link. But then he targeted American citizens without showing a direct link. For his deeds, he had the second longest tenure as FBI Director ever, and was roundly applauded by nearly everyone (except Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert).

    Now he’s running the Trump-Russia investigation.

    Daniel Ashman is the author of two books, “Dominate No-Limit Hold’em” and “Secrets of Short-Handed No Limit Hold’em,” that have been published worldwide and translated into four languages. Follow him at @dashman76.

    1. Ralph,

      The fact that 9/11 was a false flag operation needs to be taken into consideration, and likewise so was the anthrax plan.

      I’m aware that most people still believe the preposterous Official 9/11 Fairy Tale, but those same people also believe that Neil Armstrong walked on the surface of the moon. see:

    2. Even worse than botching the case, and harassing “persons-of-interest” Hatfield and Ivins with police-state tactics (mostly as a PR effort), the worst blunder is that FBI management allows unsolved cases like Anthrax to be walked away from, without any final report. It’s a cover-technique to avoid accountability for errors.

  10. You can’t insert a Monty Python sketch without expecting a Monty Python sketch in return volley — although some would argue that Nobody Expects a Monty Python Sketch.

    Meanwhile, the moron Ph.D. (pardon the redundancy) was at least correct about one thing: “Research is like dominoes, if you accidentally knock over one piece the entire set will also fall.” Sort of like submitting an application for a FISA warrant. Democrats have been trying to emphasize that the phony Steele “dossier” is only part of the FISA application to spy on Page — but that sort of misses the point that the FRAUD on the court was completed by the dossier, even if it were only 1% of the material submitted to the court.

      1. LOL — perfect! And ya gotta figure they didn’t sit there teaching that bird to say that, but probably ran the Monty Python recording on a loop, night and day for months. Make me wonder if they ever showed the bird the Parrot Sketch.

  11. “Please make sure the date, the facts, and the information you provide in your report is about Australia the country and not Australia the continent……..”

    Stupidity languishes on to the bitter end.

    1. Darren,
      That was the one statement from this professor that seems to identify the root cause: this professor has a PhD ego and absolutely no critical-thinking skills. Even when confronted with an unknown fact, apparently this professor grudgingly verified only the fact without putting a dent in their worldview.

      They gave this student a different professor but no mention of the rest of the class.

        1. Thank you for the linked article kakatoa. This article should be linked to the numerous stories regarding the suppression of speech.

          The only strategy able to defeat bad ideas if you believe you have a better one, is to offer the better idea.

          But debate is anathema to such zealots.

  12. For-profit colleges have their place, particularly in tech subjects and skilled trades. A two-year community college degree in a highly popular major such as nursing can take four years to complete because the classes are overbooked and the students can’t get in. For-profit colleges guarantee a degree on time, and the graduate is then out in the workforce earning money. I have several relatives who have gone through 1 year tech programs at for-profit schools and are doing quite well in the field. For-profit colleges are flourishing because they meet a need that public colleges aren’t providing.

  13. Looks like America is being “fundamentally transformed” and headed for that same “non-country” status:

    “Three Democratic congressmen attended a private dinner hosted by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in 2013, a new report reveals.Reps. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Andre Carson of Indiana and Gregory Meeks of New York attended the private dinner, along with Louis Farrakhan, a notorious anti-Semite who leads the black supremacist group Nation of Islam.”

    I guess America will never know if Obama attended that dinner.

    1. What are you saying? Are you one of those people who think Obama is a Muslim? If so, based on what?

      1. Obama is anti-Colonialist, a “Dream From His Father”, and anti-American as he dreams, like his father, of “fundamentally transforming” Americans out of America.

  14. The language is not “Australian”. It is “Strine”, as close as render it.

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