But when she got her grade back on February 1, she was shocked to learn that she had failed her paper because her professor, who was a contracted employee and not on the permanent faculty, told her, "Australia is a continent; it is not a country".
She wrote back explaining that Australia was actually a country as well as a continent, even providing references, but the teacher was unconvinced. She told Arnold that the "error made it almost impossible" for her to have accurately completed the assignment. Arnold was also set to receive a refund for the course. After reviewing Arnold's paper the professor gave her a new grade of a B+, but never apologized, merely acknowledging that she had a "misunderstanding about the difference between Australia as a country and a continent".
Southern New Hampshire University has fired a professor for a glaring mistake, the school has confirmed to HuffPost.
"At first, I thought it was a joke", Arnold Buzzfeed News.
As BuzzFeed News notes, Ashley's professor responded - and did not budge from her original feedback. "With her education levels, her expertise, who wouldn't know Australia is a country?".
As a result, the stay-at-home mother got zero marks in three sections of her sociology assignment for not answering the question.
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"We have apologized to Ashley, replaced the instructor, & are reimbursing her tuition for the course", the university said on Twitter.
Is Australia a country or a continent? "Following an investigation, we have replaced the instructor as we strive to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and accuracy in educating our students".
'I mean no disrespect but my grade is affected by your assumption that Australia is not a country when it in fact is, ' she said.
The university said it was looking into the matter after Ms Arnold came forward to make sure no other students were given bad grades for the same reason. But the lecturer still provided a warning for her.
The professor argued Australia was not a real country, but a continent.
As compensation, SNHU's president Paul LeBlanc offered Arnold a stuffed koala bear and a round trip ticket to Australia.
"We know that you are a country and a continent".