Professor Failed A Student’s Project Because ‘Australia Isn’t A Country’

Ashley Arnold is a 27-year old stay at home mom from Idaho Falls, Idaho. She decided that she wanted to complete her sociology degree, so she enrolled in online classes at Southern New Hampshire University. As a part of her final for the course, she was to outline and compare social norms in the U.S. and another country. Arnold’s project idea was to examine how social media is used differently in Australia and the United States. This seemed simple enough, so Arnold did her research and handed the project in and began eagerly waiting to get her final grade back. Last week she finally received this final grade, and she was a bit shocked to find out that she had failed the project. She found out the reason she failed was that according to her professor who has a Ph.D. in philosophy. “Australia is a continent; not a country.”

“At first I thought it was a joke; This can’t be real. Then as I continued to read I realized she was for real,”

Arnold didn’t want to reveal the name of the professor because she didn’t want them taking any unnecessary heat although she did share the person who gave her the failing grade wasn’t a full-time member of the staff. After failing for such a preposterous reason, Arnold decided to email the professor explaining that Australia is, in fact, a country.

I believe I got zero or partial credit because the instructor said, ‘Australia is a continent; not a country. However, I believe that Australia is a country. The research starter on the SNHU’s Shapiro library written by John Pearson (2013) states, that Australia is the ‘sixth-largest country in the world’ (n.p.). The full name of the country is the Commonwealth of Australia, meaning Australia is both a continent and a country. Therefore, these sections of the rubric should be amended.

This intellectual wasn’t buying 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.

Ashley wasn’t going to give up easily.

Australia is both a country and a continent. It’s the only country that is both. I provided a resource in the first email that clarifies that for you. If you need further clarification google or the SNHU Shapiro Library has that information you.

Again I mean no disrespect but my grade is affected by your assumption that Australia is not a country when it in fact is.

Thank you and let me know if I need to provide further resources proving Australia is a country.


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 realized the error that they made and gave Ashley a B+ although there was apology ever offered. The professor did, however, admit that there was a “misunderstanding about the difference between Australia as a country and a continent.” They even went as far to give Ashley a tip about future projects involving the country of Australia. “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.” The University ended up reimbursing Ashley entirely for the course, and it looks like she may have taught her professor a thing or two along the way.