Online "university"...major education fail

Sep 2012
The 'professor' needs to go back to school...

"Professor" replaced after insisting that Australia isn't a country

An online adjunct professor incorrectly told a student that Australia isn't a country and gave her a failing grade, prompting Southern New Hampshire University to replace the instructor.

Buzzfeed News reports that the 27-year-old student in Idaho was assigned to compare American social norms to that of another country. She chose to study social media use in Australia, but the professor gave her a zero on that portion of the assignment, saying Australia is a continent, not a country.
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Council Hall
Dec 2007
Pennsylvania, USA
The adjunct professor made two mistakes. Being incorrect about Australia was a minor mistake. The more serious mistake was not owning up to the error as soon as incontrovertible evidence was presented. If the professor had simply said "Yeah, it was a brain fart. I was wrong; give me back the report and I'll re-grade it," she would have kept her job, and the story would have been an amusing anecdote, rather than career-crippling internet fodder.

Longer version of the story, with e-mail exchanges, here.
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Former Staff
Jun 2010
South Florida
When asked why she thought her professor might have been confused, Arnold said her older age might have been a factor.
"When did Australia become a country? Maybe she thinks it’s still part of England," she said.

After being told by BuzzFeed News that happened some 117 years ago, Arnold said, “Oh, she’s not that old, so there’s no excuse.”
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