MANCHESTER, N.H. (CNN) — A professor in New Hampshire has been replaced after giving an Idaho student a failing grade because she classified Australia as a country for an assignment.
Australia is a country, but it's also a continent.
Here is what a few people said when asked if Australia is a country or a continent.
"A Continent,” one person said.
“I would say it's a country,” another said.
“That would be both," a different person said.
"Did you know that Australia was both?" asked reporter Mike Cherry.
"No, I would have said it was a country," one person responded.
People we spoke with aren't the only ones confused by that question. So was an adjunct professor at Southern New Hampshire University.
It all began with student Ashley Arnold, who shared her ordeal with the online site, BuzzFeed. The Idaho resident was completing her sociology degree online, tasked with an assignment to compare a foreign country with the U.S. She chose Australia.
When she got her grade back, it was a zero. The professor argued Australia was not a real country, but a continent.
It's reasoning can be a head scratcher.
Australia, as a continent, includes Tasmania, New Guinea, Seram, Timor and the Commonwealth of Australia, because they all share the same tectonic plates.
Arnold shared links to facts like these in an e-mail exchange with the professor. Also alerted SNHU because she told BuzzFeed "she was worried other students might have been incorrectly graded by the professor."
SNHU released a statement Friday saying, "we deeply regret the interaction between our professor and our student, and have apologized to the student and refunded her for the class. Following an investigation, we have replaced the instructor."
As for Arnold, after review, her final grade back for the project, a B plus.