I\u2019ll say it again. If outsourcing or offshoring something means it can be done cheaper or faster or better\u2014or better yet\u2014cheaper and faster and better, that something will be outsourced or offshored. But! protests thou: Surely there are some things that cannot be outsourced or offshored.Apparently, not.EduMetry, a Herndon, Va.-based company that offers assessment services for universities and colleges, also offers Virtual-TA, which provides, literally, virtual TAs, or teaching assistants.These virtual TAs work mainly in India, Singapore, and Malaysia, along with some in the United States and elsewhere, according to\u00a0this story in The Chronicle of Higher Education.The idea behind the service is that by calling on virtual TAs to grade assignments (Edumetry says the service handles everything from term papers, essays, and other higher-order thinking type work) and provide feedback to students, faculty can focus on meatier stuff, such as teaching.The Chronicle of Higher Education\u2019s article quotes one such professor, Lori Whisenant, director of business law and ethics studies at the University of Houston. Whisenant, who teaches a course in business law and ethics, requires her students to write nearly 5,000 words a semester. According to the article, she has relied on her own TAs to help grade, but they weren\u2019t as adept at providing the much-needed feedback intended to help students improve their writing. So, she offshored the grading.Lest you think that Virtual-TA is a one-hit wonder, the company does list a few other customers on its Web site, including West Hills Community College, in Coalinga, Calif., which is using the service for some of its online courses.The service is not without its critics (surprise). And I might be a little critical myself, if I hadn\u2019t gone too college and worked with TAs who\u2014really\u2014could have given me more feedback on some of my work. Not that TAs aren't good teaching assistants, but they are generally overloaded with lots of work, not just from assisting teachers but also from their own higher-education efforts.Of course, when I first learned that teachers were outsourcing their grading, I immediately remembered this\u00a0blog I wrote last November, about a service that uses tutors in India to help students write term papers and S.A.T. essays, or even help finish homework.And then I thought:\u00a0 Why not just cut out the middlemen\u2014the students and teachers\u2014and let outsourcers do the homework and grade it?