Phasing out of NCS Opscan 8/50 Optical Mark Reader

by Joe Lee

The Computing Services Centre (CSC) has provided multiple-choice examination marking and survey data capturing for more than 20 years. The high-speed scanner (NCS Opscan 8/50) for supporting these services has been in service since March 2001. As there are more and more ways to carry out multiple-choice examination and survey data collection, usage of the scanner has decreased significantly in recent years. The scanner has now reached the end of its lifetime, and finding spare parts to fix it becomes more and more difficult even though a high-cost maintenance contract still could be made last year. As the scanner has a very large foot print, considering the floor space it consumes and its current utilization level, it is not cost-effective to replace it with a new one. Following our phasing out announcements for the equipment, it is now extended to December 2009 (i.e. at the end of Semester A, 2009-10) to allow more time for our users to look for other alternatives.

During this period, the machine will be maintained to its best condition as far as possible to provide related services. Departments are advised to plan ahead to look for alternatives (if they still require optical scanning) by setting up a departmental scanning system or by outsourcing the service (please see the references below). For survey, departments may also consider using the on-line survey feature in MS SharePoint and Blackboard instead of continuing the use of paper.

For assistance, please feel free to contact our CSC Help Desk.