Python is free, Matlab is well documented and has simulink.
My decision: is Matlab available at UOC? No data
I did the tutorial on google colab and very easy to write and run, without having to setup anything. this is how students should do their assignment and projects.
Python with web interface. Offer hosting with herokuapp. how about jupyterhub account for students?
UOC uses desire2learn (linkedin learning) or D2L system. Students can submit .py files (or ipynb files). or through google colab which might be the easiest.
So give them projects in python and run it on google colab.