Professor tells student "Australia isn't a country" and gives her a failing grade


self censored.


Indeed. I do think that’s part of the goal of what we’re trying to do here. It’s actually surprisingly harder to teach than people think.

One of the other lecturers I work with had an interesting idea, basically telling her students to act like they are writing for someone who knows nothing about history instead of writing for a historian. That why, they make no assumptions in writing either a definition or an essay.


Nation-states are imagined communities.


Just recalled an incident at primary school: I proudly told my teacher a fact I’d recently discovered at home, that the world was 24,000 miles round its circumference.

Don’t be stupid, she told me, Australia alone is three million miles across.

It wasn’t until years later I realised she’d confused distance and area.


My personal example of this type of silliness is Ms. Wheeler in 1st grade, who called me a liar to my face, because I was enthusing over the existence of atoms (which I’d JUST discovered, reading in the library); she literally didn’t believe in anything that you cannot see, that isn’t directly mentioned in the Bible (yes, really). I wonder how she felt about gravity…?

Close behind is my math teacher in 1st grade (Ms Hamburger), who graded a subtraction worksheet wrong that had said “circle the problems you can’t do”; it included some problems (such as 7-9) that they INTENDED you to circle, but my mom’s boyfriend at the time had just taught me negative numbers and the number line. I was given a failing grade, because I gave such problems the actual answers, instead of circling them =p. Her justification? “We didn’t teach you that, so you can’t do it.”

Ms. Wheeler is also the reason I’m left-handed. I was born ambidextrous, but it was “taking too long to teach me handwriting for both hands”, so she tried to force me into right-handedness. I chose my left to piss her off ^^’.


Because, if there were an Australia, everyone would fall off.


So, FWIW and by way of background, I’ve been writing a lot of history essays over the last couple of years, and I’ve also worked as a lecturer for several years.

With that as context, I’ve had experience of the idea you’re talking about from both sides of the engagement. As a student, it can be horribly limiting to have to restate your assumptions every frigging time. It’s kinda useful in that it eats up the word count very quickly, but that also means that if you do want to get expansive and delve into new ideas then you simply don’t have the word count left. On the other hand I have, as a student, leant heavily on assumptions that were really “assumptions” - in other words, I pretty confidently think/thought they’re true, but couldn’t be bothered to actually check. And, it was actually kind of liberating - to move on from the simplistic ‘who/what/where/when’ and into the more meaty ‘why’.

I guess the general point I’d make is that I think it’s a very good idea in 1st and part of 2nd year - when the students should still have their training wheels on - but not such a great idea in 3rd year, when they should be learning to fly.

(Yes, I’ve somehow retained an idealistic view of higher education, despite everything)


OK, he has a PhD in philosophy for heck sake…maybe he is an oddball existentialist/phenomenologist and refuses to believe the material world exists. (Except on payday of course when cashing his paycheck is as real as it gets.)

Or is “Southern New Hampshire” someplace in Mississippi and they think the Earth is flat and the southern hemisphere is a myth perpetrated by atheist devil-worshippers?

Maybe the University of Walamaloo is hiring, he should fit right in.


Or perhaps the inspector’s knowledge was outdated. Manufactured gas did have CO in it but, to the best of my knowledge, was replaced decades ago everywhere by natural gas or propane.


Thanks for that factoid, I did not know CO burned. But the inspector being under 30 it seems unlikely that was her source of knowledge.


In all seriousness, they’re from Whistler, BC Canada. That’s the local accent. (Okay, not all seriousness, but mostly).


Hardly. They exist based on poorly paid, loosely affiliated adjunct professors with few to no credentials. They suck as a higher education institution. A degree from there isn’t worth the recycled paper it’s printed on. I know this personally. I used to be one of their adjuncts. I left because there was ZERO academic rigor and any that I implemented was quickly de-implemented and I received a reprimand. Fuck that place and the assholes who run it.




I wrote that they started as a for-profit business school, which is true. They currently charge nearly $20K/year for tuition and fees, have around 150 regular faculty and over 5,000 contingent faculty. This is the model for schools like Phoenix, regardless of whether the money goes into corporate coffers or into the NPO equivalent. Their BA curriculum in my field is roughly 2/3 what we give our students; if through some miracle one of their majors was accepted into our grad program, they would spend the first year or two taking undergraduate courses. (That said, their on-site faculty in my field for the physical campus is OK for a small liberal arts college, and I expect that the experience of residential students is not atypical for a middling SLAC with open admission standards.)

What happens when you decide that education is a commodity with fungible educators is that you end up hiring unqualified instructors off the streets at sweat shop wages. 500 students that might have been employing 10 faculty at wages appropriate for a PhD instead are learning that Australia is not a country from one or two people earning a barista salary. That would almost be acceptable if it made quality higher education more affordable, but all it is doing is reducing demand for the real thing.


Holy shit. That’s the future of academia, though. University education, except for a few exceptions for the elites.


I don’t think paying anyone substandard wages should ever be acceptable though. Work is work. And in America, we tend to crow about how much we love those who work hard, yet we still find it entirely acceptable to reward people who don’t do actual hard work and to punish those who make our society livable by doing hard work.

Except it’s not because you need a degree in many fields. Our public colleges and universities are coming to look more like for-profit colleges or at the very least trade schools that no longer educate citizens.

It’s a fucking mess, in other words.


Like England isn’t parte of Europe? Like, how could a country leave Europe? Wait a minute…


UK at least we don’t have specialised teachers at 4th grade. Entirely possible to get someone who just has high-school science teaching 4th grade science. (And a degree in /something/ and a teaching degree)


These places survive on enrollment paid for by government guaranteed student loans.

In the name of profit they are screwing both students and taxpayers.

The students waste their time, waste their money, get a substandard education, have a school to list on their resume that flags them as idiots to many employers and, to top it all off, they have crushing debt to pay off with no/little increase in earning power.

Taxpayers get screwed for both the terrible return on investment, plus the outsize fraud conducted by these scam schools signing up anyone with a pulse and a SSN for loans.


Worse. Your government backs the loans that probably can’t get paid back because they basically have a HS education.


This is a non-profit school.

Ready FIRE… aim.

“these places”… lazy! SAD! moose and squirrel!