You may find it convenient to work on assignments locally. This is easy if your local machine is running Linux. If not, you can use a Virtual Machine with Ubuntu 16.04. This is a quick tutorial to get you started.
There are many VM software packages available. A common one is called VirtualBox. It is available from here.
Ubuntu and installation instructions are available from here.
However, it is easier to use a pre-build VirtualBox image. There are many images available on the web. For example, http://www.osboxes.org/ubuntu//#ubuntu-16-04-vbox. Make sure you get the image for version 16.04. Usually, 32bit VMs are a bit faster. You might need 7-zip to unpack the disk image.
To install, create a new virtual machine in VirtualBox and choose Use an existing virtual hard disk file option.
Install required packages
In the virtual machine, open a terminal and install required packages: