Title: A descriptive model of sense of community on Juba Arabic Facebook

Authors: Ben Kei Daniel

Addresses: Educational Technology Research Group, Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago, 65-75 Union Place West, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand

Abstract: Juba Arabic on Facebook (JAF) is a virtual community established primarily to bring together South Sudanese in Diaspora to cherish their collective cultural identity through learning of Juba Arabic language online. The research aimed at understanding the sense of community in JAF and its role in supporting learning of Juba Arabic as a form of cultural identity for South Sudanese in Diaspora. It presents a descriptive model and explores key factors of the sense of community likely to influence sustainability of engagement in the community. Analysis revealed an overall strong sense of community among members of JAF. Participants appreciated the ability of JAF in bringing them together to nurture their cultural identity in Diaspora. Moreover, the collective purpose of learning Juba Arabic was treated as a shared goal necessary for the sustainability of engagement in the community. This research augments the current literature on the sense of community as an important theory in understanding structural elements of community engagement online. It also substantiates growing research into exploring Facebook as an emergent social network platform for supporting language learning.

Keywords: Juba Arabic Facebook; virtual communities; online communities; web based communities; Arabic language learning; sense of community; South Sudan; diaspora; cultural identity; Juba language; community engagement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2017.082727

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2017 Vol.13 No.1, pp.36 - 53

Published online: 09 Mar 2017 *

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