From what you say in your post, it is folly for me to try to get wordpress to run on my server.
I don't recall saying any such thing. You're success with running your own server depends entirely on your own motivation and desire to learn about what you need to do make it happen. And again, what I said is relative to running your own server, not installing or using WordPress.
At that point, I was supposed to run the install.php program in the server's browser, but it won't execute there.
I've used that package many times. I suspect that you may need to take some time and carefully review the documentation for the Web Platform Installer. It sounds like a crucial step may have been omitted or only partially completed.
I am taking a class in online blogging/writing and the instructor thinks that wordpress is important if you are going to have a blogging website.
I think your instructor has the right idea, and it sounds like it might be an exciting class to participate in!
There is another alternative where you don't have to worry about server setup, security, or installation issues.
You can get a free WordPress blog hosted at wordpress.com. It's a little more restrictive than if you had a self hosted site, but pretty much everything else is taken care of for you. All you have to do is blog. You should check it out when you get a chance. That way you can research the issues with building your own server or development environment at your leisure, get a WordPress blog up and running for free almost right away, and you can make the switch later on down the road if you want to, once you're confident in your results. It might be a great solution and definitely a HUGE time saver.