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Online electronic education is now being widely accepted as a major viable component of higher education. This is fuelled by the emergence of worldwide information and computer communications technologies. However, online education is not being adopted in science and engineering subjects as widely as in other fields because of the idiosyncrasies of some science and engineering-based courses. For online engineering education to be broadly accepted and utilized, the quality of online courses must, amongst other things, be comparable to or better than those of traditional face-to-face classroom education. This paper explores and reports on the importance of creating multimedia-rich course content and the important role that animations can play in creating a successful online learning experience. Results of our study on an online data structures course over five years offerings show that students consistently perform much better in questions requiring application of material taught in carefully animated algorithms. These results should carry over to other educational environments.