The development and subsequent reconstruction of SHARC

A one-stop portal containing student resources and research tools


  • Randall K. Ward, MLIS Independence University
  • Ian Q. King, MLIS Independence University
  • Dr. Carmen Herbel Spears, RN DHA MSN BSN Independence University


Portal, Website Development, Library


The primary focus of this paper is to share experiences, demonstrate principles, make recommendations, and point out pitfalls in the development of an online research and resource portal/hub in an online distance learning environment, specifically from the perspective of Independence University’s development and subsequent retooling of their Study Hall and Academic Resource Center (SHARC) website. SHARC was envisioned as a central “one-stop-shop” in 2010 by the Dean of the newly formed Stevens-Henager Online Division. A major component of SHARC was – and still is – an online library to serve students and their research needs. Originally built from scratch in 2010, SHARC was overhauled in late 2015 and early 2016 from the ground up. A new version was rolled out in May of 2016. Many lessons were learned which will be shared here. Statistics will be presented that demonstrate the improvement in usage when the new SHARC was rolled out.






Peer-Reviewed Articles