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Module 1: Introduction to AEM

Photo of students looking at a computer screen together

Note: The AEM Center is only providing the content for these modules. The listed activities are suggested to encourage reflection as you interact with the content.  If you are taking this module for credit, you may be required to submit assignments to your credit provider.  The AEM Center itself will not be collecting assignments for these modules. 

Module Introduction

Start by watching a 1-hour webinar. The webinar will cover the following topics: 

  • The mission and goals of the National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM Center)
  • Definition of AEM
  • The importance of AEM and accessible technologies for student learning
  • Examples of accessible digital materials and technologies
  • A tour of relevant resources on the AEM Center website

Webinar Slides (Microsoft PowerPoint)

Digital Handout (Microsoft Word)

Webinar Recording

After watching the webinar, choose a level of mastery based on your goals for this module: 

Entry Level

Time Commitment: 1 hour

Goal: Be able to explain the importance of accessible materials and technology to a colleague.



After reviewing the selected resources, explain to a colleague the importance of AEM. In your response, consider including:

  • Your own personal definition of AEM
  • An example of how functional skills relate to students’ needs for AEM
  • How AEM can make a difference to students’ opportunities to learn

Build Level

Time Commitment: 2 hours

Goal: Describe examples of how students with disabilities use accessible materials.



After completing the Entry level activity, choose two students with unique functional access needs and assess the accessibility of at least one educational material they currently use in the classroom. In your assessment, consider the following:

  1. What barriers are present in the material?
  2. What functional skills are needed for the learner to make the best use of the material?
  3. What additional supports may be needed for the learner to make the best use of the material?

Proficient Level

Time Commitment: 3 hours

Goal: Demonstrate features of accessible materials that support access by students with disabilities.


 Designing for Accessibility with POUR


After completing the Entry and Build level activities, select one print and one digital educational material and briefly answer the following questions about each:

  1. In what ways are the content and the interface perceivable to diverse learners? Are there any barriers for perception? If so, what are they, and what are some ways they could they be addressed?
  2. In what ways are diverse learners able to interact with the content and the interface? Are there any barriers for interaction? If so, what are they, and what are some ways they could be addressed?
  3. In what ways are diverse learners supported in understanding the content and enjoying a predictable experience? Are there any barriers to understanding? If so, what are they, and what are some ways they could be addressed?
  4. In what ways does the content work across different platforms (for digital materials)?



Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

Print- and technology-based educational materials designed to be usable across the widest range of individual variability.

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Accessible Technology

Technology that can be used by people with a wide range of abilities and disabilities. Incorporates the principles of universal design.

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Equipment or system where principal function is creation, conversion, duplication, control, display, interchange, transmission, reception, or broadcast of data.

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Access for all people, including people with disabilities, to web environments.

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